Masonic Relic Finds New Life Back In The Hands Of A Master Mason
by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
Michael H. Shirley
(originally posted 6/27/12)
One of the things I learned early in my Masonic journey is that Illinois rod work is militarily precise when done by those who are good at it. I'm not good yet, and since I'm studying for the Certified Lodge Instructor exam, I need all the practice I can get, so I was delighted to find an old Steward's rod at an antique mall in Minocqua, Wisconsin, while on vacation. It was hanging on a wall with a tag that read "Parade Pole. Great Curtain Rod! $22." It was dirty, and the metal rod top was so tarnished it looked like wrought iron, but it was exactly what I needed and I grabbed it.
When I took it up to the counter to pay for it, I mentioned to the gentleman who took my money that the description was inaccurate. "It doesn't matter," he said. I said nothing, but it bothered me, because it does matter. Saying that a thing's true name doesn't matter is to dishonor the reason it exists. My Steward's rod would probably make a good curtain rod, and it is a parade pole of sorts, but it was made for a specific purpose, a Masonic purpose, and its true name tells that story.
W.B. Michael H. Shirley is Past Master of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and Leadership Development Chairman for the Grand Lodge of Illinois. He's also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. He's also a member of the newly-chartered, Illini High Twelve No. 768 in Urbana-Champaign. The author of several articles on British history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.