My great thanks go out to the Freemasons of Iowa. Alice and I have had a wonderful couple of days visiting the Grand Lodge. The hospitality was outstanding, and we have made many new friends here.
Many thanks to Immediate Past Grand Master Charles Brinkerhoff and Grand Secretary William Crawford for their kindness, their hospitality and their graciousness in giving me an opportunity to address their Grand Lodge.
It was a great opportunity to see Wbro. Timothy Bonney for the first time since he left Indiana. Tim was one of the co-authors of Laudable Pursuit, and remains a good friend.
A surprise attendee for me was Mark Tabbert, author of American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities. In spite of his former position at the AASR-NMJ's museum in Massachusetts, and his current one at the George Washington Masonic National memorial (did anyone mention that George Washington was a Mason?), Mark is actually an Iowa Mason.
Thursday evening, Alice and I were honored to be seated at the Grand Master's table for dinner and had the pleasure of dining with the Grand Master of Prince Hall Masons in Iowa, MWBro. Donald W. Austin, and with Davenport Mayor Ed Winborn and his wife Sandy. I also had an opportunity to meet MWBro. Scott J. Krieger, Grand Master of Nebraska. His Grand Lodge has invited me to speak to them next February - although now that he's heard my presentation he might reconsider!
And it was great to finally meet Phil Enabnit, publisher of the Philalethes Magazine. Phil and I got to talk a lot with each other sitting side by side in the vendor's room. He is also the Secretary of the respected Iowa Research Lodge No. 2.
In addition to addressing the Grand Lodge session, I was also asked to speak to the ladies on Friday morning. They were great fun, but I refuse to join the OES. White dresses make my hips look fat.
Again, my thanks to everyone who made Alice, Wiley and myself so welcome. I cannot express how gratified I am to the many brothers who stopped and bought a book and were so kind to a dummy fro Indiana. They are too numerous to mention, but I am humbled by your many kind words.
One event cast a terrible pall over the gathering. On Thursday night, a tragic accident killed Past Grand Master and former Grand Treasurer Allen Heaton and hospitalized his wife Beverly. The hotel sits between two very busy one-way streets, and they were walking across the road to get ice cream from McDonald's. Apparently, they were unaware of an oncoming pickup truck and stepped right in front of it. MWbro. Heaton was also a trustee of Iowa's Masonic Home. He died at the scene while the EMS team tried in vain to save him, but his wife survived. The last update I heard was Friday, and Mrs. Heaton was scheduled for surgery. I fear she will have a long hard road ahead.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family, and to the Masons of Iowa for their tragic loss of their dear friend and brother.