The air was crisp and cold as the fifty-year member locked his car. Slowly the old man walked down the sidewalk of his house to the front door, fumbling for his house keys in the moonlight.
The front door of the house opened into darkness with a squeak, the old mans footsteps echoed through the home as he found a light switch. “The place feels so empty” he thought as he removed his shoes. His wife was visiting their grandchildren on their Christmas vacation. The old man poured himself a glass of egg nog and quietly sat down in his study.
As the fifty year member slowly slipped into his overstuffed leather chair a smile crossed his face. It had been quite an exciting evening. Tonight was the annual Feast of the Saints Johns and the lodge's installation of officers. It made the old man's heart feel good to see such a large crowd at the dinner. Lots of the elder Brethren who rarely attend stated meetings came and broke bread with the lodge's newer Brethren. All of the generations seemed to enjoy the interaction with each other.
It had been such a long time since he had seen that many men attend the feast. The old man reminisced, “The last few decades we considered the event to be successful if we had a dozen brothers there. This year we had to add more tables!” The old man beamed with pride as they called the caterer to ask them to increase their head count. “ the caterer was probably as surprised as we were.” the old man laughed to himself.
When the time came to open lodge for the officer installation it seemed so shocking. For the first time he could remember not a single office, with the exception of the Secretary and Treasurer, was going to be held by a Past Master. The lodge was going to be in the hands of some very competent young men. The future of the lodge was never brighter.
Even the installation itself had a different vibe. The incoming Master decided he wanted the public section of the ceremony to be streamed live on the Internet. Who would believe people from all over the world would be watching the officers of our little lodge receive their jewels!
For many years the officers were installed to an empty room. After so many years of attending lodge functions the wives found reasons why they couldn't be present. The children of the Brethren had grown up and moved away. They were leading their own lives and didn't have the time to see the same old tired ceremony they were forced to attend all through their childhood.
When the Tyler opened the door to the lodge the room began to fill with young wives holding their children's hands as they were seated on the north and south sides of the lodge room. All the children looked so cute. The boys with their hair slicked back in their little suits complete with ties and the girls in pretty little dresses clutching their purses trying to look grown up just like their mummy. It brought a tear to the old man's eyes looking back to his childhood when he attended his fathers installations.
As the old man rested in his easy chair his mind started to wander in the silence of his empty house. “Tonight was the end of the previous year and the beginning of a new Masonic year. Upon reflection, last year was amazing but how can we make this new year better than the last? There is no reason each year the lodge cannot progress and be a little better than the last.”
The fifty year member yawned and slowly arose from his chair. “We as members are the lodge” he thought to himself. “We are the reason a lodge thrives or it dies. We have a brand new year to make our lodges and ourselves better than we left them in the previous year. Making our lodges better WILL help us become better men and isn't that the purpose of Freemasonry?”
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.