I Took a Little Break

I decided to take some time off, about a week.  I needed it, but I'm back now.  I should be back to a regular posting schedule later this week.  It's been awhile since I've posted any updates, so I'll tell you about a couple things I've been working on.

Behaviorally Challenged
I've got a new blog called Behaviorally Challenged I started without much fanfare a few weeks ago.  The readers of The Midnight Mason seem to be looking for stories about Freemasonry, American History, or news about my books (in small doses).  You just didn't seem to appreciate my humor, so I decided to dedicate an entire blog to those little things I find amusing.  And people are beginning to notice it.  Check it out. 

New Novel: A Shot After Midnight
I finished it over the Memorial Day holiday.  I'm going to let it sit for a while before I begin editing, in fact, I may just let it sit all summer.  It's a great story.  I really love the way it turned out.  The novel takes place in the same town, and with many of the same characters that were in the first book (and a few more).  So anyway, it's on track for a Spring 2012 release. 

That's about all I have.  Enjoy your summer.


Freemason Quote: John Paul Jones

It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win.

~John Paul Jones
St. Bernard's Lodge No. 122, Scotland 


Oscar Wilde: Freemason Wisdom

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."
~Oscar Wilde
Apollo University Lodge #357
Oxford England

We are the designers of our own lives.  We make all the decisions, good and bad.  It's easy to look at your life as something that happens to you, instead of something you're in charge of.  The truth is, it's up to us whether we participate in life, or sit back and watch it pass by. 
Perhaps you're thinking to yourself right now "yeah, someday when I'm not so busy, and I have more time, I'd really like to spend more time enjoying life."  But nobody knows how much time they have on earth.  It could all be over in another eighty years, or before the sun goes down today.  There are too many unknowns in life to assume you can do things tomorrow, or ten years from now, or when you retire maybe.  If you really want to get into the game, shouldn't you do that today?
If not now, then when?

We've Been Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Several of the blog posts that I'd prepared and were scheduled to post on The Midnight Mason and Behaviorally Challenged over the last few days have experienced technical difficulties (they're gone). 

I should be back to a regular posting schedule within the next couple days.

Creason Publishes Two New Books

I know what you're thinking--didn't you just publish a book a few months ago?  This guy must be a writing machine!  Wrong Creason.  These two books were written by my mother, Jane S. Creason, and have just become available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble (and yes, you can get them for both the Nook and Kindle).  She's a good writer, and a really good editor too.  She's edited all four of my books (if she hadn't, I'd probably still be trying to get them published.)

She's worked on these on and off for years, and finally decided to take the plunge and publish them.  I haven't read the second one yet, but I really enjoyed the first one.  It's a very good story, and based loosely on a true story about my Grandfather.  Check them out.

From the Publisher About When the War Came to Hannah:

Though the rural, midwestern rural of Hannah is far removed from the center of World War II, its residents feel the effects of rationing, shortages, and blackouts. Fourteen-year-old Joanna Elaine Grey and her fellow students follow the war's headlines, tacking news articles of bombings, Japanese American evacuations, and troop landings to the school's bulletin board.

In February of 1942, Joanna receives a gift of sorts-a new best friend. Red-headed Gretchen Bocher and her family have just moved to Hannah from California. During the next year the two girls grow up against the backdrop of the war and experience new friendships and young love.
When a local church sponsors the relocation of a Japanese American family to Hannah, Joanna and Gretchen feel joy in helping the new family adjust to life in the Midwest. But they experience crushing pain when the war finally comes to Hannah. They learn firsthand about the evil of prejudice and the illogical thinking associated with hate and fear.

From the Publisher About The Heron Stayed:
Fifteen-year-old Chap Smith has an unusual life. He lives with his father and his sister, Lori, in a big house in the Indiana woods. Lori is like a mother for him, watching out for him and keeping him safe. Chap likes to read and write; he enjoys the quiet of the woods where he has lived since his birth. And he doesn't mind sharing household chores with Lori-they're a great team. When Lori's job requires her to move to Virginia, however, Chap's quiet, predictable life suddenly changes.

For the first time, he is alone with his remote, detached father, a retired military man who spends most of his time in his den, writing a book about war. When his father's unusual behavior becomes difficult to understand, Chap believes his father is playing games with him, as he had when he was a child-challenging him with problems to solve.

During the months that follow, Chap must deal with his father's unexplained behavior, his own loneliness, and a conflict at school with his best friend. In the midst of this chaos, he meets a new girl who has beautiful deep-sea, blue-green eyes, a scarred face, and an unusual story of her own.

Jane S. Creason

About the Author:

Jane S. Creason graduated from the University of Illinois; she has since taught grade school, middle school, high school, and college English classes. She and her husband live in a remodeled schoolhouse on a farm that has been in her family for generations. They have two married children and four grandchildren.

USS Lexington: The Blue Ghost Serves As A Blue Lodge

The names are iconic--Enterprise, Yorktown, Intrepid, Ticonderoga, Hornet, and of course Lexington. Legendary ships of the Navy. These ships have fought for our freedom in many different eras, in different forms, and in different wars all over the world. 

One of the most famous, is the USS Lexington, and she served America in many incarnations.  She started as a brigantine during the American Revolution, served as a gunboat during the American Civil War, and  was later resurrected as one of America's first aircraft carriers (although originally designed as a destroyer).  That USS Lexington (CV-2) was sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942, and quickly replaced with the ship that soon became legendary.  The last USS Lexington (CV-16) was an Essex-class aircraft carrier, and would soon be known as "The Blue Ghost."  She served between 1943 and 1992.  And the USS Lexington is still around today.

Like a few more of the famous ships from World War II, Lady Lex now serves as a floating museum in Corpus Christi, Texas. If you've never had a chance to visit one of these World War II aircraft carriers, it is well worth the trip.  You'll find the USS Yorktown at Patriot's Point in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. You'll find the USS Hornet at Alameda Point, California, and the USS Midway at San Diego.  They have lived long lives, many serving later in Korea, and Vietnam, and many other places across the globe in the years since World War II.  If you take the time to visit, it's something you're not likely to soon forget.

I've visited a few of these remarkable ships over the years, most recently, Valerie and I visited the USS Yorktown.  Each time I visit one of these remarkable ships, I am amazed by the sheer size of them, awed by their history and the fact they survived the punishment that was inflicted on them during World War II and the wars they've seen since.  I'm also inspired by the dedicated men that served on them (more than 225,000 sailors served aboard the USS Midway alone during her long career).  Visiting one of these ships is a rare opportunity to touch history in a unique way.  To walk across decks that were raked by the guns of Japanese Zeros.  To see scars still visible even after repairs from torpedoes, and Kamikaze attacks--and knowing the cost in lives on both sides of the war. 

The USS Lexington has an interesting history.  She was the only aircraft carrier in World War II that wasn't painted in camoflage.  She was instead painted deep blue, and this was an enticement to the Japanese to sink her.  The Japanese repeatedly tried to sink the USS Lexington.  So sure were they of her destruction, that no less than four times, the Japanese reported the USS Lexington sunk, and yet, it would later be learned the USS Lexington was still there.  It led Tokyo Rose to begin calling the Lexington "The Blue Ghost."  Throughout the war in the Pacific, the Japanese kept trying, but they never sank the USS Lexington.  They tried at the Kwajalein Raid, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and again at the Marianas Turkey Shoot, to no avail.  The Lexington preservered, and continued to inflict damage on the Japanese until the end of the war. 

The Lexington is an amazing ship with an amazing history, and I've wanted to write a story about these great American ships for awhile now.  An article on Chris Hodapp's Freemasons for Dummies blog gave me the perfect tie-in.  

On Saturday the 30th of April On Saturday, April 30th, Oso Naval Lodge No. 1282 in Corpus Christi, Texas will confer the Master Mason degree aboard the U.S.S. Lexington.   It's the first time a Masonic degree has been performed on board the aircraft carrier since she was docked in at Corpus Christi in 1992.

Imagine what it would be like to receive your third degree in Masonry aboard such a historic ship?  Or even attend that degree?  Whether watching the degree or receiving it, I'll bet nobody ever forgets the degree aboard the legendary "Blue Ghost."

Freemasons On The Move

My wife has a theory about why Freemasons cover their bumpers with fraternal emblems. She believes they would decorate their garages, their yards, or maybe their mailboxes with those fraternal emblems—if they were ever home.

There are many shows on television these days about Freemasons—you’ll see them on History Channel, History International, and Discovery Channel. Those shows always seem to focus on what goes on within the walls of Masonic Lodges, with varying degrees of accuracy. But Masonry is much more about what we do outside the lodge than inside, and that’s a story you seldom ever hear.

The work that Masons do on a national scale is well known—there are the Shriners Hospitals, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, the Scottish Rite Learning Centers for Dyslexic Children, and many more. About a million dollars a day is raised to support those charitable causes, but volunteers do much of the work. I guarantee you that right now, somewhere in America, a Shriner is transporting a child back and forth from a Shriners Hospital somewhere for treatment.

But that’s only part of the story. Most local lodges have their own projects going on too—everything from buying uniforms for the Little League team, to raising money for a community improvement project. Some lodges give scholarships to exceptional graduates at their local high schools. Some help out the Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. Some help support local Veterans groups. The list of causes these little local lodges support is as varied as it is endless.

I’ll give you a little snapshot of what Masons were doing in my corner of the world today.

This morning, my lodge sponsored a community blood drive with the local blood bank, which we do about four times a year. My mother gave her pint this morning.  She was not a regular donor until she learned about our regular blood drives at the lodge--a pint at a time, she's heading into the gallon donor range.  One of our regulars has given six gallons, and I'm sure he doesn't hold the record by any means. 

Two of our members left the blood drive event early to help with an Illinois CHIP program sponsored by a couple other local lodges. The Illinois CHIP is a child identification program—we prepare kits for parents, free of charge, that include fingerprints, DNA, photos, and a short video clip of their child in the event of an emergency. And another of our members was with the York Rite in another local lodge, helping with a degree day, where they welcomed eight new members into the Royal Arch Chapter.

And that's a pretty light Saturday in my area, covering just a few local lodges within twenty miles of my house—and there were no doubt a few other things going on in my corner of the globe I didn’t know about. Now if you consider the bigger picture, you’ll have a better understanding of what Freemasonry is really about—there are hundreds of Masonic Lodges in Illinois, and thousands nationwide. That’s a lot of Masons, supporting a lot of different causes, in a lot of different ways.

Masons get around, and they believe in the things they do, and $4 gas isn’t going to slow them down any—I doubt $5 gas would impact them much. Freemasons spend a lot of time on the road. They don’t do if for the glory. There’s little reward. We don’t give out merit badges, but there is every chance you’ll get a free lunch or dinner if you help out—usually a hotdog or a BBQ sandwich.

So when you see that little square and compass on the bumper of a car during your daily travels, give them a little honk and wave. There’s a good chance he’s going to, or coming from something few people will celebrate, but somebody, somewhere will no doubt appreciate.