I’ve driven a Honda Odyssey for ten years. We bought it new in 2003, and it’s been a great van, but maintenance costs were beginning to add up as fast as the miles, and the prospect of our June vacation to northern Wisconsin made me think I should start looking for a new car. Anyone who’s known me for more than five minutes knows I don’t like change much, so when I found a 2004 Odyssey that looked good online, I decided to stop by the dealer on my way to lunch at Illini High Twelve. It was in better shape than my 2003, with 85,000 fewer miles, a trailer hitch, and a DVD system, and for a price so low my jaw dropped, so after thinking it over at lunch (and getting permission from my wife) I went back to the dealer and bought it. It’s a better color, a lot cleaner, and my Masonic license plates look just fine on it.
As for my old van, it’s going to my friend and Brother, Joe Hardwick. It turns out he has a brother-in-law who’s a Honda mechanic, and so my rough old Odyssey doesn’t scare him. I’m glad, too, because Joe is one of my best friends, which neither of us saw coming twelve years ago when I called him to ask him to please do some work that was way beyond my competence. I certainly didn’t think I’d sign his petition for degrees; I wasn’t even a Mason yet myself. But being open to serendipity has led us both down some interesting paths we didn’t know were there until we’d been on them for a while. And so, I’ll keep saying yes to whatever comes my way, and I’ll strike up a conversation with whoever asks me a question. I just never know when I’ll meet a friend who will become a Brother.
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.