The 50 Year Member - The Ghost of Christmas Past

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bill Holser, PM



The glistening white tablecloths were aglow from the flickering candles which danced in the shadows of the sparkling crystal glasses, sitting near the punch bowl, filled with homemade egg nog. Silver trays of colorful Christmas style cookies of every flavor.

Pudge chuckled to himself as the children of the lodge members would slowly walk up the beautifully laid table and take a handful of these sugary goodies and run back to the playroom which was set up for them in the corner of the temple’s ballroom. The kids were fully fueled by massive amounts of sugar as they ran away with a glint in their eyes thinking they had just pulled off the crime of the century.

The adults of the lodge were also filled with the holiday spirit. Pudge and his social room committee turned the Temples newly renovated social room into a winter wonderland which was lit only by candles and the twinkling colorful lights of Christmas tree sitting in the corner of the room. The committee had thought of everything including a sound system which was paired with wireless speakers hidden throughout the room playing a mix of soft music and Christmas classics which created a background for the joyful laughter and the clinking of crystal glasses. Pudge’s team even placed air fresheners in specific areas which tried give the illusion of a Christmas tree farm with a pine scent fragrance near the tree and a cinnamon scent near the refreshment table to give the illusion of someone baking.

The entire room was filled with smiles and laughter, except for one grinch sitting in a leather chair in the north part of the room, all alone.

Herbert Johnson was sitting all alone in a well-worn leather chair near the roaring fireplace. The older Past Master was sitting quietly, stating at his eggnog.

The 50-year member was talking to several Brethren when he spotted Herb sitting by himself. The old man walked over and sat down next to Herb, “What in the world is wrong with you? Did you find coal in your stocking?” Herb smiled a little and said quietly, “This old room, it looks so beautiful. Reminds me of the good old days.”

“Remember all the parties we used to have in here John? I keep thinking of all the old guys we used to have at these parties. They're all gone now. It’s like traveling back in time.” The 50-year member smiled and grabbed Herb’s hand. “Those were great times. I’m sure they are looking down at us smiling. But I’m sure they would be the first to tell you how lucky we are these kids started joining the lodge, and how they made it a point to restore this room back to what it once was.”

“I guess,” Herb started, “they are good kids but we have to be so PC now. Back in the old days, we called this a Christmas party. Now, to be Politically correct, it has to be a Holiday party! What’s wrong with saying, Merry Christmas for corn’s sake?!”

The 50 year member chuckled “There is nothing wrong with saying Merry Christmas. I’m sure if you said that greeting to anyone here no one would take offense. But in all honesty back then we should never refer to the party back then as a Christmas party.”

The 50 year member continued, “Herb we didn’t think about it much back then but Masonry wasn’t a Christian order back then and I bet there were non-Christians in the lodge back then but we didn’t think about things like that all those years ago.”

“Nowadays this lodge has men of all kinds of different faiths. It’s the same reason we have all of those Volumes of Sacred Law on our altar. Did you notice the Menorah on that table over there? That was donated to the lodge by Brother Epstein and his family. We have men who celebrate Christmas, Ramadan, Kwanza as well as Hanukah this time of year. It would not be fair to any of them to slight their beliefs in favor of ours. Especially since we all took the same oath to look out for each other.”

“I guess you are right John.” Herbert said “While I am sitting here missing the past I'm also missing the present. I should be thankful we are still here on Earth,  and thanks to these younger Brethren we still have a future.” The 50 year member arose from his chair, smiled and replied ”Exactly! So now quit sitting there like a lump and come join the rest of us. It’s about time for Santa Claus to pass out presents to the kids. Even a grumpy old guy like you will have to get a kick out of that.”

Herb smiled “Yes, I will John. Thank you for pulling me into the present. I think I will grab some cookies and freshen up this eggnog before the jolly old elf arrives. Merry Christmas Brother and Thank you.” The 50 year member put his arm around Herb’s back as they joined the party “No need to thank me, Brother, that’s what we're here for.”

~BH

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.

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