Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Visit to a Scottish Lodge - Lodge Waverley No. 597


Got back to my room at 6:15 and discovered a note from Robert Cooper at the Grand Lodge, who said Lodge Waverley No. 597 was working tonight, and opened at 7:00PM. I blasted through a shower, threw on the tails and cabbed it to the lodge just as it was opening. To my great surprise, a group of Masons from George Washington Lodge in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania were visiting and demonstrated their Master Mason degree. I counted nearly 45 brethren packed into the comparatively tiny room. My best unscientific guess was that perhaps 16 or so were visiting for the ICHF conference like myself.

My deepest thanks go to the brethren of Lodge Waverley for their hospitality and their warm welcome. There were so many brethren there that I met in such a brief period of time that I can't possibly remember them all.

I urge my U.S. brethren to not jump up and start screaming at your monitor when you read this, but Americans are missing so much by our backward no-alcohol rules, as any Mason who has visited lodges outside of the States can tell you. I was with a group earlier in the day, and a Scottish Mason mentioned that there was always a "harmony" after the lodge. A brother from Iowa looked confused.

"What's harmony? he asked.

And that's what's wrong with U.S. Masonry.

The bar opened immediately after the closing gavel fell, and the truly fun, social part of the evening began. Literally dozens of brethren met and gabbed into the evening (11:30 when the last left). They caught up on each others' lives. They rekindled old friendships. They shared business cards. One brother got up and played a selection of bawdy songs on the guitar. In short, the evening was that perfect balance of ritual, formality, business, fun, friendship and the sheer joy of camaraderie and brotherhood.

I've had angry brethren at home seriously look at me and say "Oh, and we can't have that kind of evening without allowing alcohol?!"

In short, no we can't.

A stark church basement will never be as convivial to adult men as a place where a round of drinks is served. No one went home tonight plastered. Everyone was home by midnight. No bar fights broke out. No one threatened to sue the lodge or Grand Lodge or the lodge officers. No one in his cups cried in the corner. And the earth did not stop spinning on its axis.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great time. I would have loved to go myself. Someday prehaps.

Anonymous said...

In our Lodge in Canada we have the same type of night after the gavel drops. The bar is open and we sometimes stay 'till after 1:00am. (and we meet on a wednesday) We are all grown men and we take responsibility for our own actions.

Nathan said...

Sounds like the Harmony after stated meetings of the Indianapolis Valley, although typically we're out by around 10:30. On the other hand, the stated usually starts at 7 and lasts about 30 minutes, too.

Chris Hodapp said...

Unfortunately, too many US Grand Lodges have decided that Masons are too untrustworthy to be allowed to have alcohol in their buildings.

But wait, aren't those same guys in the Scottish Rite?

Nathan said...

A lot of 'em are in the Shrine and Grotto, too.