“Arlo’s Place in the Lodge”
Famous Masons, Great Men
So how many times have you seen the “Famous Masons” articles that tout our most-successful brethren?
You know the ones.
A General who returned to an Island to liberate it; a Senator who ran a dry-goods store in Arizona; the most-famous of all magicians; the best Hollywood actor of all time (and he was a Duke); or how about the man who provided much-needed and soothing entertainment to millions through his cartoons.
They were all famous. They were all great.
But what qualities made them great Freemasons (yes, they all were – or the progeny of one)?
Who can argue that Douglas MacArthur was not a great man. His liberation of the thousands of men and women of the Phillipines was assuredly a great act. But in the minutae, there he was also great. In short, while he wasn’t perfect, it is those things striven for that made him so great.
And what of Barry Goldwater?
He took over his father’s chain of stores in Arizona. He was a river guide, and candidate for the United States Presidency. He was also the man who defined modern Conservatism. And what made him great?
And can a magician really be a great man?
Well, Houdini did more than just escape (read more here).
He debunked charlatans, was an early pilot who flew a plane over Australia in one early attempt to achieve the feat and was a pioneer in the early film industry.
Brother Marion Morrison
And then also in the entertainment industry is the one, the only, the DUKE.
That’s right, folks. An actor can be a great man! You would not believe it today, but it is true.
And then there is one of my favorites – BUGS BUNNY! (well, actually, the voice of Bugs, Brother Mel Blanc).
We know what made him famous, but what made him great?
Brethren, the thing is…FAME is not what makes someone great.
Jesse James is famous. He is also a murderer (and that is not very virtuous).
VIRTUE is what makes the man great. Not fame.
Now. Fame does punctuate (highlight?) greatness. And great men are often famous as well.
Each one of us should constantly remember our vows and practice the great virtues layed down on our Masonic trestle board and improve in all that is good, amiable and useful.
We should then also avoid the bad, the ill-tempered and the worthless.
Just Arlo’s two cents (yet again). Oh! And while his father was definitely a Freemason, one of the men mentioned above may, or may not have been a Mason. Do you know which one?
Bonus point! What was his father’s name?
SATURDAY, January 30, 2021
Mastering Responsibility (past and present)
From one has-been to another, there is a time to climb down from the horse and let others lead the charge. It is like the Mustang said to the Camaro “I will step aside, since your horses are running away from you”.
Past Masters have the luxury of basking in the sun, or too much getting involved in the administration of the lodge.
We each have the responsibility to be regular members. We also need to help the Worshipful Master in any way we can. This goes for everyone.
The black tiles and white tiles come to mind.
When we know he is about to trip or fall, or we can relate the circumstance of our going down a similar path and then warn him of the pitfalls, then absolutely we should – but we should never put a harness or a yoke on him.
He is free to try where we have failed. He may know something that we do not.
But no doubt, we do need to warn him and then CEASE THERE.
No need to embellish. A mere mention (in private) is all it might take. Heck, if it is a private matter, and in lodge, ask to approach the East and whisper in his ear. No harm in that.
The lodge, you know, is “driven” by every regular mason in attendance (and sometimes by those not in attendance, or in attendance but not exactly “present”).
We are each responsible for making it a success (and can, through ill acts, ensure its failure).
Part of that is knowing when to lead, and when to get out of the way.
Committee chairman are like mini-WMs, but they must serve the will of the Master, who in turn is to strive to fulfill the will of the lodge.
All it takes is a little negativity from one corner to ruin the esprit-de-corps of the entire lot.
Avoid that at all costs.
Instead, hold your fire until after the meeting (if it can wait).
We are all in this together, and not a single one of us wishes anything but the very best for our lodge, and for our sitting Master.
When we pull together, all things are possible.
So, remember, make like a garter belt on those socks and hosiery down to the bowling alley and support your local master and his lodge.
And like an old man’s knee socks, or a lady’s unmentionables, he will support you.
Until next time, I’m just that lil’ Ol’ pea-pecker Arlo, flittin’ around and buzz-bombin’ the hound dogs while they are just trying to eat — just a’gliding from here to yon.