A group of Master Masons talk about topics of Masonic interest--each from their own unique perspective. You'll find a wide range of subjects including history, trivia, travel, book reviews, great quotes, and hopefully a little humor as well on topics of interest for Freemasons and those interested in the subject of Freemasonry.
In a few of my last pieces (“Everything Good In My Life, I Owe To Freemasonry”, “Past Due Balances” & “The Journey’s Purpose”), I mentioned reuniting with a love from my past. Truly, finding my Soul Mate. Well, I made some changes, mainly geographically, in my life since then. The end of 2014 brought me a move back to Illinois, this time the far southwest side of Chicago and a Thanksgiving “vacation” to L.A. to spend the holidays with my Lady and her beautiful children. Well, this has turned into a bit of a “stay-cation” seeing as it is the first week of January and I am still here. We have been traveling around the L.A. area seeing the touristy sights and we even spent a weekend on the coast doing some wine tastings.
Saturday the 3rd of January was a beautiful day in L.A., so before taking in a Kings hockey game (a wonderful Christmas present from my Lady), I was taken to an area of downtown L.A for some sight seeing. The first place we went blew me away. Not only because I spent half of my life in the Fire Service, but because of what I discovered in the photo’s on the walls of the Plaza Firehouse, 1884.
“The Oldest Firehouse In Los Angeles”
Rose Parade with KT 1916
Aside from the beautiful historic horse drawn fire engine and historic helmets and other artifacts, there are numerous photos from years long past. Immediately I noticed some pictures of the horse drawn apparatus that seemed to adorned for the Rose Parade. But when I actually held my phone up to snap a few pictures, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing… There, spelled out in the flowers, In Hoc Signo Vinces. I think the actual words that came out of my mouth were, “No way!”, as I dropped my phone and leaned in for a closer view with my own eyes. Yep, sure enough, fire engines dressed for the parade, welcoming the Knights Templars. Could this day get any better?
"In Hoc Signo Vices
We made our way around the first floor and I reveled in the history of the old call alarm station, tools and pumps. There is a second floor, but it was roped off and said closed to the public. So as we made our way back to the front door, I said thank you to the volunteer who was at the desk and mentioned how much I appreciated this museum and the artifacts because I too was a firefighter from back east, near Chicago. She asked if I could prove it and I gladly showed her my badge that I was given after retiring. She smiled and said that I because I was a firefighter, we would get to go upstairs. Apparently the look on my face was priceless because my Lady was laughing at me. The volunteer dropped the rope and up we went. There, we got to see the living area of the station and some more pictures. Wouldn’t you know it, the engines were adorned for the parade but this time they were honoring the Shriner’s.
Continuing my exploits as a “Traveling Man”, I have had the extreme pleasure of meeting with a person that I have the highest level of respect for. Not only because he is a Brother and author, but because of the life he has lived thus far and what he has done for America and our freedoms when he served with the Special Forces in the Army. I will admit, I may have gotten a little “weird” when I pulled his book and a sharpie out at dinner for him to sign, his Lady Natalie thought it was funny and snapped a picture so it couldn’t have been too creepy I guess. Over the next few weeks, I will be traveling with Bro. Lewis, his Lady and her son to check out a few DeMolay Chapters in the area. To say that I am excited to help another extraordinary young man join the ranks of Masonry at the ground floor, would be the understatement of the new year. DeMolay is where I started, and given my past writings on everything that Freemasonry has blessed me with, this young man, if he so chooses to knock on the door, has an unbelievable journey awaiting him. If anyone has not yet done so, pick up a copy of “Love Me When I Am Gone” by Brother Robert Patrick Lewis. You will not be disappointed. You can also follow Bro. Lewis on a few podcasts as well, Far From Centered, Center Mass with Rob & Silent J and occasionally The Adam Carolla Show. Keep an eye of for his new book “The Pact”, being released soon.
The Shrine in parade.
When I left the house that morning I was expecting a wonderful day with my Lady, seeing the sights, taking in a hockey game and meeting a Brother for dinner. I never expected just how great of a day it would become. Some say that throughout our life, God gives us signs that we are on the right path. I sure had a day full of signs that I remain On The Level and heading in the right direction. I couldn't ask for better company to have shared it with. I need to thank my beautiful and funny Lady Nina for planning such an amazing day and Bro. R.P. Lewis, his Lady Natalie and their kids for an awesome time at dinner. Can’t think of a better way to end such a great day.
Until next time, Start Level & Finish Square.
Bro. Brian Schimian is Life of Member A.O. Fay #676 in Highland Park Illinois and the Medinah Shriners - Lake County Shrine Club. He was also the Past Master Counselor of DeMolay - Lakes Chapter in 1995. Most recently, Brian became a Companion of the York Rite, joining Waukegan Chapter #41 R.A.M. Brian is a father of two children. "Start Square, Finish Level".