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.
been a while since you’ve heard from the Newly Made Master Mason. I
have moved back to my hometown in Central Pennsylvania, with my wife and
two cats. I settled back down into my Grandfather’s old home, two
bedrooms, and an open loft. Beautiful place out in the country.
we moved back, I went back to my old dialysis clinic in Camp Hill,
Pennsylvania and applied for employment as a dialysis technician. By
this time, I had already been in this particular career for four years.
All of the poking people with giant pencil needles you could ever
desire. It wore me out, and very quickly at that. I came home from my
16 hour days, plopped on my recliner, said a few words to my wife, and
fell asleep without a wink.
to say, this became very old, very quickly. So, I decided to search
around for a new career. I had thought about going back to school for
nursing, journalism, entrepreneurialism, hotel management, all of the
usual stuff people go to college for. I even took a single class in
computer programming, which kicked my butt to the curb, and I fell hard
on my rear end.
I came across an idea, proposed by W:.B:. Lance Kates. He said, “why
not go to barber college?” For whatever reason, the idea hit me just
right at the time. I took a week and visited a few barbershops, got my
hair cut, and a couple of face shaves. Did it ever ring my bell. This
was it. I absolutely had to do this. I googled barber schools around
the mid-state, and came upon Barber Styling Institute, which is in the
very same town my dialysis clinic is located. Perfect timing, perfect
location, perfect sign.
decided to call. My anticipation strong, and my heart sure, Matt
Schwalm, the owner, picked up the phone, and I asked him about the
program. “Why don’t you come on in, and check out the school?” It was
literally one half hour after I googled the school that I was there,
anxiously looking around at all of the students cutting like
professionals already. “Hi, I’m looking for Matt.”
I’m Matt!” I looked the man up and down. He’s surely not what you’d
expect out of an instructor of any sort. Urban style boots, barber
jacket, and a crazy hairdo like I had never seen in my life. You could
describe it as sort of…globe shaped. “Here, let me show you around.”
We walked past a few of the students, I looked left and right, and up
and down, absolutely scared to death that I was being judged deeply by
these people. “Everybody, this is Rob.”
Rob!” These people seemed so kind and accepting, but my animal
instincts were kicking in and I was feeling rather shy. To make a very
long story short, I walked out of his office with a start date of two
days later. I would be cutting hair…you guessed it…due to this very
the real point of this story is about time. Aren’t we taught about
this in the very first degree? We must, as Masons, learn to divide our
time equally. Please think about this with me for a moment. If you
were to work 16 hours a day, three days a week, what does that bring you
to? 48 hours. On top of this time, I must also be at the clinic on my
off days at 03:00
to disinfect the water loop. This generally takes 3.5 hours. So we’re
really adding on 7 hours on top of that…that’s 2 days per week. Total,
I find myself 55 hours a week at dialysis.
I started at the barber school, and eventually worked out a regular
schedule. I would come in on my off days, stay all day, and go to work
the very next day. 25 hours a week at school is really not very much.
To complete the program in one year, that’s what I would have to
to say, this Mason has some real trouble dividing his time equally.
Even on Sundays I cut hair, at my home, for free while I’m a student.
My solution to this problem was not a simple one, but something that we
should all indeed keep in mind. Freemasonry is one thing. Masonry is
another entirely. Are we not charged with bringing Masonry into every
aspect of our lives? I will tell you that every morning I step into
that barbershop my gut drops, my shoulders lower, and my deep-seated
headache will all fall away. This is my place of relief, of rest and
Bro. Rob Walk doing the good work!
as well, this is my time to work for Deity. Performing the great work
that has already been laid bare before us to assume, live and be
creative. This is my new church. Making gentlemen, and a few ladies,
look good enough to go out into the world and feel good about
themselves. Positive outlooks create positive lives.
work? Soon, this will be my work. It is a Great Work. Please do not
think that I mean THE Great Work here. That is something to be
discovered by the individual Mason, and not something that can simply be
imparted by the ritual we perform in the Lodge Hall. There is no doubt
in my mind that I will be cutting hair until I’m laid to rest, and
return to the Celestial Lodge above. This is my life, my passion and my
contribution to this world.
have found the resolve to continue with my study in barbering and
Masonry was no little task. I’m never home, with my wife, my family.
However, within everything in life there is Masonry for the dutiful
strong, work hard, and make time for that which is needed, my
Brothers. I will see you all back in Lodge in exactly 6 months and 5
days. At that time, I will strive to be able to “take the chair,” and
make proud my Brethren who have had my back through these tough months.
Bro. Rob Walk Jr. is a member of Jephthah Lodge No. 222, A.F.&A.M. in Essex,
Maryland. Currently living in Central Pennsylvania, he is seeking
membership with a lodge there. He spends his time listening to music,
sampling craft beer, climbing and drumming. Barbering being his main
work, he currently cuts at his home, and will soon be cutting under the
managership of Drew Matos at Southpaw Barbershop in Lemoyne, PA.