I have Dad’s Masonic Bible. It’s an impressive tome.
Mom gave it to me after Dad died. She thought I might like to have it. She’s right. I was somewhat put off by the words scrawled in pencil on the protective cardboard sleeve, which in childish lettering by one of my brothers says, “no girls.” Fortunately, a little looking around online recently revealed references to such a Bible being considered a good gift for bereaved female family members.
There was also a local newspaper article awhile back explaining how the vast majority of what goes on with masonic literature and practice is not meant to be secretive. It explained all faiths are welcome. The criteria is belief in a “supreme being” with the question raised: “In whom they place their trust.”
According to how some blanks were filled in on an inside page, Dad was “initiated, passed and raised” between March 2-April 7 over 50 years ago. I can imagine him studying at the kitchen table while he was staying up late before going to check on the livestock for impending births.
There is another page containing a list starting with George Washington and including over a dozen other presidents who were members of this grand and esoteric brotherhood — wherein there is “... laying aside all malice and guile.”
My aunt joined the affiliated Eastern Star. I recently came across a placemat from one of her chapter’s dinners. She invited me to join her in Rochester one time for a fancy event at a downtown hotel. I had to work that day and arrived a little late. I do remember stepping into the auditorium to see her and others in long formal dresses doing some stately choreographed movements up front as earned honors were bestowed upon various matrons. I wasn’t too interested in all the pageantry and such at the time, but after reading “The Da Vinci Code” (highly recommended to me by a church secretary), I was kind of like, “Where do I sign up?”
I believe I saw reference to this particular lodge located in Prescott one time in connection with a pancake breakfast. It may have had something to do with a hot air balloon festival, or I might be making that part up. But it is fun to imagine pancakes made to look like hot air balloons — colorful toppings, perhaps a drizzle of syrup connecting it to a little bacon strip basket underneath.
The Masons’ “craft” as depicted by their symbol of a tool for architectural drawing has more to do with cornerstones, capstones and keystones — literally and speculatively, with an eye toward continually increasing the light of learning and the bond of brotherly love.