I got a nice surprise in the mail today. I’ve written before about my visits to Island City Lodge No. 330, F. & A.M., in Minocqua, Wisconsin, near where my family vacations every summer. On my last visit, the Brothers asked me to petition for plural membership, which I did. Petitioning for anything in Masonry requires paperwork, and when two Grand Lodges are involved it can take a while, even when, as in this case, the secretaries and Grand Secretaries are efficient. I’d submitted my petition back in June, and had nearly forgotten about it in all that’s been going on since then, when I opened the mailbox this morning and found my Island City membership card for the ensuing Masonic year. I’m now a member of lodges in two jurisdictions, with rituals that are very different but mean the same thing, and with Brothers I look forward to seeing the year round wherever I am. I looked forward to all that before, but as of today it means something different. Now, when I make my annual pilgrimage north, I’ll no longer be a visitor: I’ll be going home.
R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley is Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master for the Eastern Area for the Grand Lodge of Illinois A.F. & A.M, as well as a Certified Lodge Instructor and Leadership Development Chairman for the Grand Lodge of Illinois. A Past Master and Life Member of Tuscola Lodge No. 332, a plural member of Island City Lodge No. 330, F & AM, in Minocqua Wisconsin and he is also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. The author of several articles on British history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.