After a few minutes of driving around the complex he found the right building thanks to the numbers displayed on the side. The old man wasn’t looking forward to climbing those three flights of stairs to the apartment. “How do you carry groceries up all those stairs?” The old man thought to himself.
The old man arrived at Pudge’s door and knocked three times. For years he always chuckled to himself when he did that. “I wonder if other Masons do that.” He was thinking. The door swung open and Pudge’s smiling face appeared. “Hi! Come on in!” Pudge said as he swung the door open.
As the old man walked inside he was looking around the apartment. It was a typical bachelor’s apartment. Mismatched furniture, books and magazines lying all over the room and what the old man thought was a giant television playing what looked like a video game. The old man smiled to himself. It reminded him of his first apartment he shared with another man when he first moved away from his parents’ home.
As the old man was looking around the room he heard a noise coming from the kitchen. He looked inside and saw a lady doing dishes and cleaning up. Pudge said to the old man “This is my mom Darlene. She came up from Florida to visit me but all she has done so far is clean.” Darlene dried her hand with a dishtowel and shook the old man’s hand. “Well someone has to.” Darlene said “This place is a pigs sty. Jeremy wasn’t raised like that.” she muttered. The 50 year member laughed. “I think all young men are like that. His priorities will change when he finds a girl he is trying to impress.” Pudge began to blush and the two older people laughed. “I’m ready to go when you are.” Pudge told the old man as the two older people said goodbye. Darlene grabbed Pudge by the arm and whispered in his ear “Is he one of them?” You could see Pudge become annoyed as he said “Yes Mother!” and began walking to the door.
As they were walking down the stairs the 50 year member asked “Am I one of those what?” as he began to laugh. “Should I worry?” The annoyance returned to Pudge’s face “You are a Freemason. In my mother’s eyes you belong to a cult.” The old man laughed “I’m sure she is just worried about her baby boy getting in with the wrong crowd. Parents never stop worrying about their kids.” I know Pudge said as they reached the parking lot “When she was a kid her priest told her that Masons were bad and they kept secrets. I keep telling her there aren’t any secrets and she has no need to worry.”
The old man got into the driver’s seat of his car and adjusted his seat belt. “Well you are partly right, she doesn’t have to worry about some bad Masonic influence but we do have secrets.” “Well sure we have secrets. The handshakes and the words. Those aren’t much of a secret anymore.” The car roared to life and the old man began to back out of his parking spot. “Those aren’t the secrets I’m talking about Pudge. Those are kept secret just as signs of recognition. I’m talking about the real Masonic secrets.” Pudge seemed a little disturbed “Are you talking the secrets you got when you became a thirty third?” The old man started laughing hard. “No Pudge. You have been watching too many movies! I’m talking about the secrets that are contained within you.”
The old man continued as he stopped for a red light. “You were told you were first made a Mason in your heart. Inside your heart contains many secrets that only you know about. We all have them. In Masonry you are given tools to better yourself, as we say to chip away at your ashlar. The lectures, working tools, your reading, and the self reflection they bring on help you tackle those secrets you will either forgive yourself or square your actions and make you that just and upright Mason that you were charged to become in the Northeast corner. That’s how Masonry takes good men and makes them better.”
Pudge sat and reflected on what he had just heard “So the real secret of Masonry is to make you a better man?” The 50 year member signaled as he turned a corner. “I think that is the secret” he said “For many years’ people have tried to complicate the message. I’m afraid in my opinion that is really That which is lost. For so many years the so called secret was used to bring in new members. And as the numbers rolled in the real reason men joined was pushed out for the sake of titles and petitions for other Masonic bodies.