From the Archives: The 50 Year Member: Thanksgiving

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Bill Hosler, PM

Thanksgiving morning was always a special time for the lodge. For many decades the members of the lodge opened the building on Thanksgiving Day and served the members of the community a free Thanksgiving dinner. It was a lot of work for the members, especially since they were advancing in age but it was a labor of love and everyone looked forward to it.
The smell from the lodge kitchen was amazing. Turkeys slowly roasting in the oven while some of the Brethren mixed together their home made stuffing. “The ole pie Master” Charlie Robertson was creating his traditional pies like he did every year. Charlie took pride in his pumpkin pies. There was a legend in the lodge, every year he made 10 from scratch for the big event. 
Elmer Geiger and Larry Herendeen had been sitting outside the backdoor of the temple smoking a dozen hams talking and enjoying good conversation. The two had come to the temple last night and prepared the hams with their special rub and honey and placed them on the smoker and stayed awake all night to applying apple juice to keep the ham moist and keep the fire going.
The men were having a great time as they did every year laughing and talking as the pans rattled. Most people wouldn’t be in such a good mood at six in the morning but this was a labor of love for the members of the lodge.
The 50 year member was making his famous “Shriner corn”. For years people raved about his corn. No one could ever figure out why it tasted so good. People would ask him his secret and he would just smile and say “It’s a Masonic secret” which would always bring a laugh. Many years before the old man had attended a Shriners dinner and people would eat their corn before they finished their steaks. One year he got the courage to ask the cook what he did to make the corn so good. The cooked just laughed and pointed at the propane cooker he was standing next to “Most people boil their corn in water. I boil it in butter.” the cook said as he pointed at the cauldron. Since then the 50 year member made his corn and just smiled as he watched it disappear.
Pudge was chopping onions which would be added to the dressing. Pudge wasn’t talking much. The old man smiled because he could tell Pudge wasn’t a morning person.
“Hey Pudge” the old man said. “Do you need me to get you some coffee?” “Yeah about a gallon of it” Pudge said as he concentrated on chopping onions. It’s bad enough to be up so early he didn’t want to lose a finger too. “I don’t get why we do this” Pudge said “Thanksgiving doesn’t have anything to do with Masonry.”
The old man stopped in his tracks. “Well it certainly does have a lot to do with Masonry!” the old man said. “I can’t believe you don’t see it Pudge.” “It’s a holiday about overeating and watching football, I can’t see anything Masonic about that.” 
The old man shook his head “Sadly that is all Thanksgiving is about these days” The 50 year member said. “The origins of Thanksgiving just as important today as they were then, maybe even more so.” “What the Pilgrims?” Pudge asked. “Partly the old man replied, but I am talking about the symbolism of the day.”
“Thanksgiving is a day set aside to give thanks to the Supreme Architect Of the Universe for the blessings we received during the last year. Something everyone, especially Masons should do everyday not just one day a year. 
It is also about charity. The Indians helped their fellow man and taught the Pilgrims how to survive in the new world. Without that charity we wouldn’t be here now. Masons are taught to help out their fellow man, especially a Brother Mason in their time of need.
It is also and fellowship. Friends, getting together, enjoying a good meal having a good time. That is spreading of cement of Brotherly love. Not only does it nourish the body but it also helps nourish the soul.
Pudge, we could have this celebration for lodge members and our families but why not spread our blessings with our community? Many of the people who come don’t have families nearby or are elderly and have no families. Not only do they get to talk with other people but they get a nice meal. A holiday spent among people instead of a day alone. 
Out of all the things we do to get our lodge’s name in the paper this is the one thing we do that is truly a benefit to our fellow man without any strings attached. Just to make ourselves feel good.”

Pudge laid his knife on the cutting board. “You know. I am always amazed how you can find Freemasonry in any situation.” as he started laughing. The old man smiled and looked at Pudge “My Brother Freemasonry is all around us. If you look you can see it. It’s all part of chipping away that ashlar of yours.”


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.


  1. Another awesome story, Bro. Bill. Thank you for that.

    It never ceases to amaze me how so much wisdom is imparted by the "old man." More often than not the people serving are the blessed ones, because it is we that get the joy from doing and giving to others, rather than being the recipients.

    I'll definitely remember this on Wednesday evening as the wife and I stay up a little bit late to make a whole bunch of rolls for the family.


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