My Brother's Wife

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bill Hosler, PM


“Because she is my brother’s wife.” my dad said to my mother in a quiet, firm voice. “No, she isn’t.”, my mother said in the voice she used on me when I was in trouble “She is just the wife of some guy in that lodge of yours.”

The house was still except for the argument which my Mom and dad were having in the kitchen. I was sitting in our living room across from an elderly lady, who sat on our sofa. She looked like someone’s grandma except, she looked really tired and sickly. I wasn’t sure if she was crying into the handkerchief she held in her shaking hands over the words my mom and dad were saying or if it was something else that had this poor old lady upset. All I knew was at the tender age of ten, it was something that shook me to my very core and something I knew I would never forget.

~~~~

Earlier that day, I was in the car with my father as he was driving into town to buy my mother’s Christmas present. The inside of the car was toasty warm and comfortable as I snuggled into the leather car seat. Dad was busy streaming Christmas music through the car from his smartphone. The setting sun made the snow flurries look like they were magical elves dancing in the air as our car navigated the snowy roads to the local mall.

I was awakened by my Yuletide fantasy as I felt dad slowing the car as he made a turn down an unfamiliar long driveway. As Dad put the car in park, I looked at our destination. “I decided I need to make a stop before we get to the mall.”, he said as he started to remove his seat belt. I removed my seat belt and opened the door to follow him.

As we walked up to the house I began to get scared. This place we were at looked like a haunted house. The paint on the house was peeling off and I could hear the wind banging one of the houses shudders back and forth against a broken window. The wind was also blowing the limbs on the leafless trees surrounding this poor old house. I couldn’t understand why he stopped at some scary place like this. I mean, it was Christmas Eve, not Halloween. I took my dad’s hand and hid behind him as he knocked on the house’s door.

After several minutes the door opened slowly. Standing at the threshold was this little old lady. The poor lady had a confused look on her face and I’m sure if I was a little older I would have noticed she had a cautious look as she said in a frail voice “Can I help you, sir?”

“Mary, you may not remember me but my name is Lee Hamilton, I’m a member of Norman’s Masonic lodge.” Mary smiled frailly “Please come in.” I could feel the wind blowing through the house as we entered into the building.

“I’m sorry it’s so cold. I’m not used to having guests.” Mary said as I sat down on a broken chair. “The furnace went out about a year ago and I haven’ been able to afford a new one. Honestly, it doesn’t make sense to put one in any way. One of these days a good strong breeze will blow the house down anyway.” Mary said in a quiet voice. “It’s not too bad, I cover up with lots of blankets and it makes the place nice and cozy.” she said.

My father seemed shocked at the state of her home “I wish I knew you were having problems with your heating. Did you ever try to contact the lodge?” Mary looked down at her lap “I did a few years ago when I still had a telephone.” I tried, but no matter what time of day or night I tried to call I always got an answering machine. Sometimes I would leave a message but no one ever called me back. I figured it had been so many years since my Norman passed away the members didn’t remember him anymore so I gave up.” I read in the paper that the lodge was busy raising thousands of dollars to give scholarships to high school kids and other fundraisers to buy glasses for children. I just assumed they were too busy helping others in the community than to worry about me." Mary began to get choked up and reached for an old handkerchief.

Tears feel down the elderly ladies face as she continued “I get along ok. I get some money from Social Security every month and I have a part time job as a cashier at a small grocery store. The job is a blessing because my employee discount on groceries makes my food stamps last nearly the entire month. Luckily it’ Sonny’s about a mile away so it isn’t far to walk to get to work. I can’t drive anymore so I walk. Sometimes the manager of the store will drive me home. He also carries in my groceries.”

I was really getting nervous because I could see tears starting to fall from my Dads eyes. Dad always seemed like such a big, tough guy I never thought anything could make him cry.

In a quiet voice he said, “Mary, what are you doing for Christmas dinner?” Mary raised her head, trying to hide her emotions “Well the kids are so busy they can’t be here this year. They all have their own lives and my Grandchildren. They all live so far away I imagine they won’t make it. They haven’t been here for years now. I think they forgot about me.” Her hands were shaking as she continued “ I don’t need a lot. I have a brand new jar of peanut butter I’ve been saving and saltine crackers. At my age, you don’t need a lot to live on”. Mary began staring off into space. I’m not sure if she was trying to convince herself what she was saying was real or whether she was thinking about a Christmas time along ago and a time of happier memories.

Dad used the sleeve of his coat to wipe the tears from his eyes. You could tell he was trying to steady himself as he found his voice. “Mary, there is no way I’m leaving you here in this condition. Please gather some clothes together and come spend the holiday with us. I won’t take no for an answer. We have plenty, actually more than we really need. You are welcome to stay with us.”

~~~~~

I could hear my folks still discussing the current situation as Mary rose from our couch and slowly started walking toward my parents who were in the kitchen. “Please, Mister Hamilton, please take me home. The last thing I want to do is cause a family to fight, especially on Christmas Eve. I’ve lived in that house in its current condition for quite a few years. I want you to have a happy Christmas. One thing this old lady has learned through many years of living is once your family is gone all you have left is memories and they should be happy memories.”

I noticed my mom began to sob as my Dad said: “Mary there is no way. I could never have a happy memory of this Christmas if I knew you were freezing in an unheated house living on crackers.”

Dad continued “To be honest I’m actually ashamed of myself for waiting all these years to visit you and not upholding my Masonic obligation to you and now I wonder how many of our widows who we have allowed to live in such a state. Especially when we have raised tens of thousands of dollars to fund projects which have nothing to do with our Masonic obligations. You are going to stay here in our guest room until we can figure out what it will take to fix your house and make sure you never want for food or shelter ever again.”

Everyone in the room looked at my mother for her decision. Even at my young age, my mom felt bad at the thought of sending this woman back to her shack with no food. “Well,” mom said in a quiet voice, “I can see that this means a lot to Lee and we have plenty of room and definitely more than enough food for all of us. I have to say please stay.” Tears ran down the faces of both women as they embraced. “I bet you could use a nice warm bath and then we will get you some clean clothes. I hope you like roast chicken, I’ve been cooking all day.” The old lady smiled “I do and it would be an honor if you would let me help you cook tomorrow.”

Later that night I was hiding at the top of the stairs trying to stay awake long enough to get a glimpse of Santa Claus. Mom and dad were in the living room staring into a roaring fire in the fireplace. I saw Dad lean over and kiss my mother’s cheek. “What’s that for?” Mom said with a smile on her face My Dad smiled and said “For allowing Mary to stay here with us. I know that couldn’t be easy for you.” “It wasn’t but I could see if your face how important it was to you and I couldn’t, in good conscience send her back to a place that sounds so horrible. I just hope you can help her.” “I only have one regret.” Dad said.

“In all of this excitement with Mary I never got your Christmas gift.” He added with a slight hesitation. Mom just snuggled into Dads’ shoulder “That’s okay babe. I’m a lucky girl. I have everything I will ever need or want. Just having a good, caring man like you is gift enough.” Mom added “I do have one question. What made you stop by her house in the first place?” Dad took a deep breath “Honestly, I can’t tell you why. I was just driving down the road and then all of a sudden this voice told me to stop the car and pay a visit to Mary. Maybe it was Norman sending me a message from the Grand Lodge above.” my dad said with a chuckle.

Over the next few weeks the members of the lodge inspected Mary’s little home and sadly the place was so disheveled, it could not be saved. The lodge, with Mary’s consent, arranged for her to have a room at the Grand lodge’s Masonic home. Mary thrived in her new environment. She gained weight from the nutritious food served to her and she developed a glow as she met new friends and lived the rest of her life in a safe, warm environment with plenty of love and happiness.

Finding Mary living in such a disheveled condition acted as a wakeup call to Dad's little lodge. Dad used to the lodge’s next stated meeting as “The night the lodge quit making Masons and began to practice Freemasonry.”

Dad would always say, “There was a lot of apron gazing that night as the Brethren hung their heads in shame. Especially from the row of Past Masters who not only knew Mary’s husband but never thought to check on his widow, and all the other lodge widows for so many years. Needless to say, the Brethren worked hard and each took a solemn vow (Or reaffirmed their original Master Mason obligation) to care for each other’s widows and orphans.

~~~~~

“Johnny, were ready to start.” the Master of the lodge said to me as I heard the old tune “Solemn strikes the funeral chimes”. Standing here at my father’s coffin brought all those memories of that Christmas back to me from so long ago. I was told by the lodge I didn’t have to be a part of Dad's Masonic memorial service. I just felt like I should be there, following in his footsteps as a member of his lodge. Standing here holding Dad's apron and a sprig of evergreen reminded me of my new obligation to my own mother, as well as those other ladies. I just hope Dad is looking down and smiling at me, as the man that Freemasonry taught me to be.

~BH

WB Bill Hosler  was made a Master Mason in 2002 in Three Rivers Lodge #733 in Indiana. He served as Worshipful Master in 2007 and became a member of the internet committee for Indiana's Grand Lodge. Bill is currently a member of Roff Lodge No. 169 in Roff Oklahoma and Lebanon Lodge No. 837 in Frisco,Texas. Bill is also a member of the Valley of Fort Wayne Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Indiana. A typical active Freemason, Bill also served as the High Priest of Fort Wayne's Chapter of the York Rite No. 19 and was commander of of the Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4 of the Knight Templar. During all this he also served as the webmaster and magazine editor for the Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne Indiana.

Admiration Royal Arch Chapter Meeting

by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott



On November 30, 2017 Admiration Chapter No. 282 held our first regular meeting since receiving our charter earlier this fall. This meeting was the first one in putting into action all the work that had been done over the last three years of working towards our goal of a charter.

At a time when so many other Masonic bodies are barely holding on, we seemed to have found a formula that is working. We provide members something of value and a reason to come to our meetings.

Sure, we must take care of the business at hand, but this is done quickly and efficiently. We didn’t start a new Chapter just for another opportunity to read the minutes. At our last meeting Brian Pettice, who was one of the key organizers of Admiration Chapter, reviewed the original mission, vision and goals for Admiration. Brian also read an email I had put together back in January 2015 with some of my thoughts on what new Royal Arch Chapter could be.

These are the points I listed in my original email to several brothers:

· I want to be part of an organization that has as its primary core values and seeks to exemplify, our core Masonic values, brotherly love, relief and truth.

· I have no interest in another organization that simply reads the minutes and pays the bills. We have plenty of these already. While the business matters of a Chapter are important, they shouldn't be the primary focus of meetings.

· Focus on quality meetings, not quantity of meetings.

· An organization that does not accept mediocrity, but rather strives for excellence in our relations with each other, our exemplification of degrees and our service to Freemasonry.

· A Chapter that has education as a primary means of sharing with its members, the lessons of Freemasonry, thus providing a means for its members to not only learn, but the opportunity to share in the educational opportunities as both student and teacher.

· An expectation that members of the Chapter will share in the obligations of Masonic Education.

· Utilizes the dining room for fellowship and gathering.

· Civility - I think much of our culture has lost the principal of civility. I see it in on-line forums, on the campuses where I spend time, in our government and elsewhere. We as Freemasons have a long history of exemplifying civility. I would challenge a new Chapter to not only exemplify civility within the Chapter, but provide leadership throughout Freemasonry and within our communities on the topic of civility. I think we have a real opportunity with this topic.

One area I am especially proud is our work in Masonic Education. Several Companions have given presentations and we have held facilitated discussions on topics such as civility and honor. It has been rewarding in listening to the Companions engage in these discussions. I have learned something on every topic we have had.

We are preparing for our second annual St. John’s celebration on December 27, where fellowship and education will be the focus, with the companions gathered in our dining room. If you have never held such an event, I encourage you to start one.
Admiration Chapter is just getting started.

~GJK

WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC.
















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Masonic Symbolism in the Matrix Part 3

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darrin A. Lahners


*Editors Note* WB Lahners originally sent this to me in one post. I thought it best to split this up into a few pieces. Deciding where to break it apart was difficult, however I feel that we accomplished this so that one can read a part and contiue the next one without a refresher. Just the same, there will be links to each previous piece as the come out. I hope you enjoy!



Trinity then brings Neo some dinner and he overhears them speaking about a person called the Oracle. Neo then re-enters the construct and he is introduced to what Agents are. He learns the hard way that a sexy woman in a red dress could really be an agent in disguise. Morpheus explains that everyone that has stood and fought an agent has perished, but because he’s the one, Neo will be different. Neo is different because the agents are still part of the Matrix, and bound by the rules of the system, but he is not bound by the same rules. Once again, whereas the entered apprentice is taught lessons about how a Mason should conduct his life, Neo is taught how to conduct his behavior while inside the Matrix.

The lesson is interrupted by a machine called a sentinel that hunts down humans in the service tunnels they use to hide in and plug into the Matrix from. The Sentinel is handled by having the ship emit an Electro-Magnetic Pulse, which fries the electronics of the Sentinel. Neo then has a philosophical discussion with Cypher about the nature of him being the ‘One’ over some moonshine. This segways to a scene with Cypher inside the Matrix where he is having a dinner with Agent Smith.   Cypher wants to be put back into the Matrix because he says: “Ignorance is Bliss.” In return, he promises Agent Smith that he’ll deliver Morpheus to him.

Morpheus announces to the crew that Neo is ready to see the Oracle. In Greek mythology, the oracles were people (usually female) who provided wise and prophetic counsel, inspired by the Gods. Neo and the gang enter the Matrix. Cypher drops a cell phone into a trash can upon his arrival to give away his position to the agents. Neo is brought to the Oracle by Morpheus. Neo is brought into a living room with a bunch of other potential ‘Ones’. All of them are children, who are doing things like levitating building blocks or bending a spoon. The one bending the spoon reminds Neo that bending the spoon is impossible, because there is not a spoon, but that the self must bend. Neo goes into the kitchen to meet the Oracle who is an old woman baking cookies. She examines Neo and tells him that he’s not "the One."   She explains that he has potential, but that he’s waiting for something.

There are two things that stand out in this scene from a Masonic standpoint. The Oracle references a sign above the doorway of the kitchen that has the Latin phrase : ‘Temet Nosce’. She asks Neo if he knows what the sign means, and he turns to look at the sign. As he turns the doorway comes into view, revealing it to be adorned with the double headed eagle of the Scottish Rite. The sign: ‘Temet Nosce’ is the Latin translation of the Greek Delphic maxim: ‘Know Thyself.’ Knowing oneself is a theme that is alluded to in Masonry, but never strictly spoken about. The working tools of the Entered Apprentice are all designed to help the EA know himself. The lecture and the charges of the EA degree also serve this purpose as well, to help to direct the new brother look inward, instead of outward.

Once Neo and Morpheus make it back to the rest of the group, they go to make their escape from the Matrix. Neo has a case of Déjà Vu which means that something has been changed inside the Matrix. The trap that Cypher has set by leading the agents to his location is sprung. The crew finds themselves surrounded by Agents and one of their group, ‘Mouse’, is killed. The rest of the crew almost gets away by climbing through the walls, but Cypher intentionally sneezes to give away their location. Morpheus, still believing Neo to be the ‘One’, sacrifices himself to allow him to escape.

Cypher has somehow made it out of the Matrix and attacks Dozer and Tank with a giant lightning like weapon. Dozer and Tank are incapacitated, and Cypher taunts the rest of the crew who are waiting to escape the Matrix. He methodically kills both Switch and Apoc. He asks Trinity about pulling the plug on Neo, stating that if Neo is truly the one, it shouldn’t matter if he unplugs him. Trinity obviously cares about Neo, and this has made Cypher jealous. Cypher is about to unplug Neo when Tank arises and surprises Cypher, killing him with the same weapon he used against him.

To be continued...

Next week will conclude the series and ultimately reveal what the symbolism within the final moments of The Matrix mean! Don't miss it. Come back next Friday!

~DAL

WB Darin A. Lahners is the Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of the new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D. and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). He is also a member of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. When he’s not busy enjoying Masonic fellowship, Darin spends his time as a DM for his children’s D&D campaign, reading, golfing, watching movies and listening to music. You can reach him by email at darin.lahners@gmail.com.