Sunday, May 14, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS MASTER'S AND WARDENS and a LESSON IN FREEDOM

I had the honor of addressing the Actual Masters & Wardens Association of Indianapolis last night at Prospect Lodge #715 on Indianapolis' south side. Prospect has a great facility, and what is believed to be one of the largest lodge rooms in the state. They also have the very unique collection of custom lodge furniture and appointments of Irvington Lodge #666, with whom they merged several years ago.

Thanks to the brethren and their wives who came out. It was a great turnout, and I thank everyone for their hospitality, especially Jack Cummings of Englewood #715 who presided over the meeting, Secretary Bill Pike who I've known for several years, and of course, Prospect's Master Frank Capler and Senior Warden Jim Gaither. Joe Smith and the OES ladies provided a terrific turkey dinner, and the members of Prospect Lodge have a wonderful Temple. They also have one of the most incredible lineups of upcoming programs I've seen in any lodge. Trips to Canada. Back and forth visits with English brethren. Bus excursions. And a steady slate of new candidates. A busy lodge is a popular lodge, and the Prospect Masons have figured that out.

After the meeting, I drove through downtown and stopped in at Murat Shrine where the NexGen club was having a party. This is a club within the Shrine in Indianapolis of men under 45 (with a couple of notable "Old Fart Emeriti" thrown in), but the party was open to all.

The most excited guy in the room was a Mason in his late sixties, maybe early seventies. He was an emigre from Transylvania, Romania in 1965, and a man who knew very well what it was like living under a strict Communist dictatorship. He told me the most curious thing. He had first heard about Freemasonry in Tolstoy's "War and Peace," and like Tolstoy's Pierre, he wanted very much to become a Mason. But Freemasonry was outlawed at that time in Romania.

When he came to America, the first thing he did was to join a lodge. Why?

Because it was a symbol for him of freedom.

Because Freemasonry can only exist in a free country.

We take so much for granted.

No comments: