An Account of a City Mason's Visit
to a Country Lodge
The old time story relating the challenging experiences of a big-city
lodge member as he discovers a new meaning of Masonic brotherhood in a
small country lodge.
- Reprinted from the Illinois Masonic News.
"Where were you last evening, Teddy?"
"Went down to the country."
"Well you missed the meeting of your life. The Grand Master was here, we
had an orchestra, the lodge room was beautifully decorated with palms
and cut flowers and the banquet that followed was a peach. You surely
missed it, Teddy."
"I attended a meeting of a country lodge that night."
"Wouldn't some of those country Masons open their eyes if they could see
a blow-out like the one we had last night?"
"Yes, I guess they would, but they made me open my eyes at their meeting
"In the first place it was held in the village schoolhouse, a two story
brick building erected by this Masonic Lodge and given rent free to the
county for school purposes all except the large hall on the second
"I was told about the meeting the day before and expressed my desire to
attend, and the Master took me down to the butcher shop and told Chris
Johnson, the butcher, what I wanted and requested him to get two more of
the boys and examine me. Chris told me to come back after supper, and
when I did there were exactly nine of the local members present, and
they made a function of the examination and used up three hours asking
me from how many wives King Solomon had to where the Master hung his
"They enjoyed themselves fine and I had a time that still seems like a
bad dream to me. But from the moment that examination was over my
standing in the village changed. I was the guest of the town and treated
like a prince."
"Next day, the farmers commenced coming in at daylight and at eleven
o'clock the back fence of the court house was hitched full of gray
mares, each with a colt at their heels, and the schoolhouse fence were
full of farmers in their Sunday clothes each one whittling a stick and
"At noon the real function of the day came in the shape of a dinner
served by the wives of the Masons in the lodge room. I expected a
luncheon, but I found a feast instead! Whole hams, whole turkeys with
the stuffing sticking out and running over the plate, armfuls of celery,
gallons and gallons of gravy, and right in front of me a whole roasted
pig with an apple in its mouth, and do you know, that pig looked like he
was glad he had died to grace so noble a feast."
"Honestly, the tables had to stand cross-legged to keep from falling
down with their load, and when we got up a little child gathered up over
a pint of buttons from under the table. Every night when I go to sleep I
see that pig on that plate and a nice old lady that kept handing me
glasses of boiled custard at that feed."
"Well, I won't make you hungry telling you about it. Enough to say that
we ate and talked until four o'clock in the afternoon and I never had
such a time in my life. They made me make a speech and I told all the
stories that I had heard in the theaters this winter till the Master
said I ought to travel with a show."
"Then the women cleared up the place while we men went out and sat on
the fence and smoked like furnaces."
"At six o'clock the lodge was opened and although the Master wore a
slouch hat, and although there was not a dress suit in the room and
although the Senior Warden ( who was a farmer) had his favorite fox
hound sitting solemnly beside his chair, I have never seen a more
beautiful opening ceremony or a better rendered degree. It was the third
and when the one candidate had finished the degree and listened to the
lecture, I thought the work was over. But I was mistaken. The Master
finished all the work in the ritual when he added something like this:"
"Jim, you are now a Mason. I fear that it will be many years before you
know what that means. There is not a man in this room, Jim, that hasn't
watched you grow up from a little shaver in a calico dress to manhood.
There is not a man in this room who did not watch you all through
school, and although you have thought all through life that you had no
father, I want to tell you that you had a hundred."
"Your father belonged to this lodge, Jim, - was Master of it -- and
although you can hardly remember him, every man in this room followed
him to his grave and every one of us knows that his life was as spotless
and square as a man's life can be and, Jim, while we don't know much
about heaven, our innermost souls cry out the truthfulness of the life
to come, and we know that somewhere in that great beyond your father is
looking down on you and me this minute and is glad, and will watch your
career as a man and a Mason with renewed confidence and hope. He and we
will watch you from now on, Jim."
"He knew when you got into the habit of playing ten-cent limit with the
gang down at the hotel and it hurt him and it hurt us."
"All your future life, Jim, try to remember that he is looking down at
you, and when there comes up a question of right and wrong to decide,
try to think what he would like to have you do, and remember you have
the honor of this old lodge to sustain now- the lodge that your father
loved and was Master of. Of course you are a man now, Jim, but when you
were a boy, a very little boy, your daddy used to take you in his arms
and pray God that He would guide you in the path that you have started
in tonight and partly for your daddy's sake, partly for God's sake,
partly for the sake of the honor of this old lodge, but mostly for your
own sake, Jim. I beg you never to take a step that will make us regret
what we have done tonight."
"Jim was in tears and I will admit that I was sniffing some myself when
the old man got through. Somehow I had forgotten that he did not have on
a tuxedo suit, somehow the fact that he had on a slouch hat instead of a
plug, slipped out of my mind, and all that I remember and realize was
that he was a true Mason.