I recently on an episode of the Meet, Act, and Part podcast, which I host along with fellow Midnight Freemasons, Greg Knott, Bill Hosler, and Todd E. Creason, gave a shout out to a woman that I had gone on one date with. I told her about the podcast and she dared me to mention her name. I did so, thinking little of it, other than maybe it would stroke her ego a bit. Recently, I started a relationship with a woman who is not only smart, beautiful, charming, amazing, patient, kind, and every other adjective that I could use to describe someone who is completely and utterly awesome. This wonderfully awesome woman, who will remain nameless until the end of the article, also has a wicked sense of humor. In an attempt to understand Freemasonry better, she decided to give the Meet, Act, and Part podcast a listen. As luck would have it, she chose to listen to the episode where I gave this other woman a shout out. Needless to say, she has been giving me the business about this for a few days now. This is because she also has a wicked sense of humor, and can give me the business as well as she takes my endless taunts.
However, this got me thinking about the countless women (and men) who are often Freemasonic "Widows" without their significant others being dead. They essentially do not see their significant others many evenings because of Stated Meetings, Degrees, and other events of the various Masonic events that their men participate in. Many of them prepare their clothes for them, ironing their shirts and slacks and do everything in their power to keep their Freemasons looking good, as well as supporting them in their participation of Masonic events, even if it means that they do not get to see them many nights. Women like Tammi Harmoning, who drives Bill Hosler to his various Masonic events, because Bill who can no longer drive loves Freemasonry, and Tammi loves Bill.
One of my more controversial articles for the blog was regarding allowing women into the Fraternity, and as you might imagine, there were a fair number of Freemasons that accused me of heresy for daring to write about such a thing. Yet, I know many Freemasonic Widows that are better versed at ritual than I am, because they are often feeding their significant others lines so that they can memorize it. Apparently, it's okay for our significant others to know the ritual, but we can't let them practice it because of a "landmark" made 300 plus years ago. But I digress. My point is, that these women tirelessly support their significant others and indulge them in their Freemasonic activities. Women like Cori Johnson, who supports Robert Johnson's travels across the country, as he visits various lodges to give presentations, explore Skinwalker Ranch, and run Chicago Masonic-con. Or Brooke Knott, who allows Greg to hang around with the likes of me.
What I fear is that we don't acknowledge the sacrifices that our better halves make in order for us to be active Freemasons. Women like Val Creason and Janet Pettice, who stand behind Todd Creason and Brian Pettice respectively, when they are at Scottish Rite Reunions, Stated meetings, and Degrees. I thank the many wives of the Valley of Danville members that work in the kitchen every reunion, to make sure that we are fed well. I know in my St. Joseph lodge, we have a "Stand by Your Mason" award that is given out to a significant other of a lodge member yearly that supports her Mason, but I don't think that's enough. I hope that each individual mason is already thanking their significant other daily for all of the things they do for them. However, I think that if you're not having a ladies' night where you're making the women behind the men of your lodge the center of attention, that you need to start doing this at least once or twice a year.
Without the love and support of your better halves, are you able to be good men and masons? Would you be able to know your ritual as well? Would you be able to look as sharp as you do at degrees? So as I enter a new relationship with someone that I think will be this support to me, I want to sincerely thank all of the women (and men) out there that are standing behind their mason. I also encourage every Freemason to do the same thing. Thank the women (and men) who stand behind the men of your lodge and make them the center of attention from time to time. It's the least we can do. Always remember, behind almost every Freemason, is someone who is loving and supporting them.
To Lisa, I say this: Thank you for your understanding of what Freemasonry means to me, and for your support of my involvement in it. I hope that I can read this article to you from time to time to thank you for what I foresee will be your continued support of my involvement in the Craft.