From the Archives: The 50 Year Member - A Menace to Freemasonry

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Bill Hosler

“I SAY THEY ARE A MENACE!” Herb Johnson said as he banged his fork on the dining room table accentuating each word by pounding the table, “THOSE KIDS ARE RUINING THINGS!” With enough force, the vibrations knocked over a salt and pepper shaker sitting near him. “See! This is why we can’t have nice things!” Mike Bailey said breaking the tension caused by Herb’s temper tantrum.

“I swear Herbert your screaming about “those kids” makes you sound like a Scooby Doo villain!” The whole table laughed, and everyone turned to look at Pudge who was choking on his beef and noodles through the laughter. Bailey continued “If you don’t calm yourself you are going to give yourself a heart attack.” Herb began to sit quietly and began to spread butter on a piece of white bread quietly while muttering something under his breath.

“I hate to agree with Herb but honestly they have caused me issues.” The building manager Jerry Kelly said “I have found graffiti in the men’s restroom which I’m pretty sure was caused by one of the boys. Someone painted “Demolay” in spray paint on the back wall of the temple. I tell you that was a pain the clean off.”

Jerry continued, “The biggest problem I have is wax. After every meeting there is candle wax all over the lodge room floor from all those candles they use in their rituals. I’ve actually ruined several vacuum cleaners by accidentally sweeping over all that blasted wax!”

“SEE!” Herbert screeched “They are constantly running through the hallways and wrestling in the museum room. They even take the manual freight elevator and leave it on the top floor. Several of us have had to climb all those stairs to get the elevator and bring it down to the ground floor again! Those girls aren’t much better either!” Herb's shrill voice continued to raise in volume and in shrillness: “They are constantly asking the lodge for money for this trip and for that trip. They are always having one fundraiser or another and leaving dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. Do they expect us or the Eastern Star to follow them around and clean up after them? We aren’t their parents.”

“You aren’t anymore Herb, but I can remember when your sons and daughters were involved in the youth groups that meet here.” The 50 year member said while he sat down with his food. “Why, I can remember several members complaining about the same petty things then, as you are complaining about now. Seems to me Herb, I remember you standing up in the middle of the lodge defending those boys when your son Herb Junior was Master Counselor about…. Hmmm twenty five years ago?”

Herb began to breathe quickly as his eyes appeared to grow several sizes larger in his head, sweat ran down his forehead while his hands began to shake. The entire table grew nervous about the old Past Master's medical condition as he began to speak.

“ John that was a different case entirely back then.” Herb said in a quiet, weak voice. “They were just boys being boys they never meant to cause any harm.”

The Fifty Year member rolled his eyes and shook his head “I’m sure it was completely different Herb.” The old man continued “You knuckleheads really surprise me. You really, really do. Sometimes I think we might as well turn in our charter and turn this building into one of those coffee houses that are popping up around town!”

The men sitting at the table began to squirm in their chairs as the Fifty Year member continued: “Think about it guys. Almost every man in this lodge came to us from Demolay. So many of us in this lodge met our wives when they were young girls serving as members of the Jobs Daughters and Rainbow girls.”

“I can say that the first time I danced with a girl was on the floor of that ballroom next to where we are sitting right now. And it was many years before I was able to attend a high school dance.” Many of the men began to smile as their minds drift back to that same time in their lives. “If you think about it, most of the Demolay boys from that time got married to those cute little Rainbows or Jobies, we became the next generation of Masons in this lodge and they grew up to be Eastern Stars. I will admit we might have lost a couple of generations but, by golly many of these young men are bringing their children to join and I can almost envision the cycle beginning again.”

“Jerry, you mentioned how many problems the kids have caused you in the maintenance of the temple, but let me ask this; How many times have those some young boys and girls helped you by volunteering to work on the building on weekends?” Jerry lowered his head “Quite a few, John. They have helped paint the walls of the lodge rooms and the ball room and helped me strip and reseal all the floors. They have also cleaned out all the junk from the basement and the attic. Actually, they help out a lot. It really saves the building committee a lot of money by not paying out labor.” The old man smiled “How many of our Masons were there on these weekends?” Jerry laughed “Oh, maybe one or two...”. The whole table laughed.

“That’s what I thought,” The old man continued “And I bet I could call the Star’s Worthy Matron and she would tell me the same thing about the number of times the girls have helped them cooking and cleaning and baking cookies for their bake sales. But apparently these children, or as they should be called according to you guys, "Menaces to society" seem like they are a pretty valuable asset to this organization to me.”

“Brethren, you are right. They are a bit unruly at times. But after all they are children they need our guidance to become better men and women. If you stop and think about it guys, that’s why we all are here: To become better men. We just happen to be further down that level of time then they are. They need us for guidance as much as we need them to help perpetuate the membership of this lodge. It’s the perfect circle of Masonry.”

“Jerry, I’m sure if we found some nice brass discs or nice plates we could catch that wax instead of it falling on the floor of the lodge room.” The Fifty Year member said. “I’ll talk to the Chapter’s Dad. I bet we can come up with something.” Jerry replied.

“I don’t know about the rest of you,” Mike Bailey said as he wiped his face with a napkin “But I am going to get me a piece of blackberry pie and a cup of coffee before we open the lodge. Herb, I’m not sure you need any sugar, and you sure don’t need any coffee! You are wound up enough. If we give you any more stimulants you won’t quit talking and we will be in lodge until midnight!” The whole table began to laugh Herb replied with a bit of mischief in his voice, “Mike I can handle pie and coffee better than that belt you are wearing can. It looks like it's going to give way and explode at any moment!” as the table began to laugh even harder.

Pudge stood up and began to walk to the lodge room with the Fifty Year member “Honestly,” Pudge said “I think these guys and their back and forth insults are the circle in Masonry.” The old man laughed “Oh it’s a circle all right but these stooges are more the Imperfect circle instead of the perfect circle.” The old man laughed and said quietly to Pudge, “Funny thing is the joke is on all of them. I took the last piece of pie before I sat down. They are all out of luck.” Both men laughed themselves silly as they walked into the lodge room.


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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