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TRUE MASONRY: TRUE STORIES III

This is a series of true stories exemplifying the best virtues of Freemasonry. These stories were submitted by Freemasons from around the world. They provide an insight as to what it means to be a Mason. We hope you will enjoy them.

These stories are reproduced with permission of the author, Brother Tim Bryce and "Freemason Information" at http://www.freemasoninformation.com/


TRAVELING BOOK

Back in 1997, I first knocked on the door for the journey East. And, as usual, was received and welcomed into Sam Todd Lodge No. 182 F.& A.M. in Louisiana. The day after receiving the Fellow Craft degree, I took my truck to the dealership for some warranty maintenance. While I was there, a mechanic walked up to me and said he put a "special book" in my glove box. Thinking it was vehicle related I didn't think much of it. As I was leaving he walked up and said, "Brother, I charge you to learn the works of the Craft, and with this book to learn to read it word for word. And only after having reached the degree of MM to travel and find another FC and charge him with this charge."

Boy did my eyes open! Here was a book with about 30 names and lodges listed of those who had this book before me. It was a traveling book! I didn't know about traveling books, and they are out there.

In 1998 I was raised to MM and continued with my life, visited lodges in a couple of states. Doing construction, I get a chance to travel. In 2003 I was in central Texas near Waco, working on a shutdown and one of my contacts for the work was a FC Mason. He introduced himself after seeing a small emblem on my laptop on the desk. Thinking to myself AHA! A Fellow Craft I can charge! A couple of days went by and he introduced me to the WM, SW, JW who also worked for my client. They all spoke highly of him, so that afternoon I stopped him in my office and gave him the same charge as I received. I handed him the same book after entering my name and lodge. This grown man in his mid-thirties had tears swelling up as he never expected this. We continued the job and he was raised the following week. Moving on, we have not kept in touch but my name, lodge and this same e-mail address are in that book. I have never again seen the Brother that gave me the book back in the dealership. Maybe he was just traveling?

Mark Holcomb
mark@holcomb.com
Sam Todd No. 182 F.& A.M.
Sugartown, Louisiana, USA

45 YEARS AGO: SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY

This story took place in 1961. One might ask how I remember an event that took place 45 years ago and the answer is in the details below.

My mother lodge is Steppingstone Lodge No. 1141 F.& A.M. in the Grand Lodge of New York. In late 1960 the lodge received a petition from Mr. David Roy Rubin, Esquire. And upon reading it we learned that he was almost totally paralyzed. We were unable to proceed with his investigation until we had a dispensation from Grand Lodge allowing us to give the degrees to one so handicapped.

The reply that we received shocked the membership of this six year old lodge. It said that the lodge could make this man a Mason providing the Lodge send them a letter stating that this candidate would never be a ward of his Grand Lodge. Thus it would be the sole responsibility of his lodge for any Masonic relief. We wrote the letter and it was signed by EVERY member of the lodge. We were able to get over 200 signatures as an indication to Grand Lodge that we were Masons and were prepared to support a brother in distress even if our Grand Lodge was only interested in their possible financial burden. In order to carry out his bodily functions, Bro. Rubin had a manservant to assist him; he also had a wife and two daughters. He was a successful lawyer who had put himself through law school by being a newspaper reporter.

In a wheelchair, his servant brought him into the candidate's room and properly clothed him and then had to leave. I became his conductor (guide) and pushed his wheelchair around the lodge room and I was the one who arranged his feet and arms when required and I was also his mentor for learning his proficiency.

After his third degree, to show his gratitude, he and his wife held a dinner-party and invited all of the officers and Brothers who had a role in making him a Mason, including their spouses. I brought my girlfriend who I had been dating for the past five years and whose father was the Junior Past Master. My father was also present as he was the lodge's first Master.

Now comes the reason why I will never forget these events. I had previously asked and received from my girlfriend's father permission to marry his daughter and told him and my parents that immediately after this dinner I would excuse myself and take my girlfriend to her home and there make my marriage proposal.

The truth of the matter was that I was not in a mood to eat or make with conversation. I had a diamond ring safety-pinned inside my pant's pocket and I constantly was rubbing it to make sure it was still there. All my plans went like clockwork, we thanked our host and hostess, and went to her home. I proposed and her reply was, "Of cause I will, Silly."

Within three minutes our parents arrived and my future father-in-law produced from the refrigerator a bottle of champagne he had hidden there.

Two months later my father had a heart attack while having a frank talk with my fiancÚ and died in front of her in his office.

Three months later we were married in a much subdued ceremony and party.

All this occurred in 1961 and this summer my wife and I will celebrate 38 years of a happy marriage. After-all 38 out of 45 years is not bad.

R:.W:.Ronald M Goldwyn, LMPS GLNY and GLCT
cleanwake@snet.net
Milford, Connecticut, USA

SPEEDTRAP

This story has been told many times to my family and to my Masonic friends, but will elicit a chuckle if repeated. It has to do with a young Viet Nam war veteran, one of ten siblings from a noble Illinois family of Irish ancestry. He was later to become not only my son-in-law, but a Master Mason.

After four years service in the Navy, Eddie joined several of his friends from Illinois to enter college in Tampa. It was there that he met my daughter Debbie, who was a student at the University of South Florida. Soon after graduation Debbie came home and asked if it would be all right to invite her new boyfriend to Jacksonville to meet our family. We were delighted to meet him but somewhat taken aback when this long-haired, rather disheveled chap pulled into our driveway. But we had to realize that this was back in the times that young people were "asserting themselves" and marching to a different beat from the previous generation.

When the weekend was over and time for Eddie to return to Tampa, we cordially bade him good-bye and watched him drive off in the sports car, a classy little roadster, that he had borrowed from one of his schoolmates. Little did we know that we would hear from him soon after his departure. But when my phone rang with a collect call just hours later, it was Eddie. He had not heard of the stringent laws enforced by the police in the Alachua County community of Waldo. He was calling from the jail! He asked for me to get on the phone because he needed help and had no idea where else to turn. The deputy sheriff had pushed him into the cell and told him he could make but one phone call. Eddie said "Doc, I'm embarrassed to have to request such a favor, but this policeman will not let me out of here until I come up with $35 cash." The poor fellow barely had gas money and even if he had a checking account it would be to no avail. Moreover, his friends from school had left for their vacation and could be of no help. And his family was 1,000 miles away in Illinois.

Although I was ready for bed, it seemed apparent that I was going to have to drive to Waldo to pay the fine. In desperation, however, I asked Eddie to put his captor on the phone. When his gruff voice came on I said, "Sheriff, I know about as little of that young man as you do, but I feel obligated to help him if I possibly can. I really hate to think that I'll have to change from my pajamas and drive sixty miles to bail him out. But if you will take my word that I will promise not to wrong, cheat, or defraud you out of that $35, I'll have my check to you in tomorrow's mail."

It was several years later that Ed received the degree of Master Mason; sometime after becoming my son-in-law. It was only then that he realized that this unyielding lawman suddenly became the docile and benevolent friend of a person whom he had never met, but whose word was bound by a statement that all Masons have repeated in their obligation and have sworn to while kneeling at the altar of their Lodge. I took a chance that the deputy might be a Brother Mason. If so, he would know that the words repeated to him would assure my honesty.

Eddie still reflects on the change of attitude demonstrated by the deputy after our phone conversation. With a handshake and pat on the back, he was cordially escorted to the car, to the gas station, and to the highway home. And now we know that there are words far more magical than Abracadabra!

William "Doc" H. Wood
Docwoodroj90@aol.com
Arlington Lodge No. 309 F.& A.M.
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

SWORD

And now for one of the most personable poignant examples of Internet Masonry that I could ever imagine: In the October and December, 2004 issues of the Knight Templar magazine there appeared an amazing story about a 100 year-old antique KT sword that had been offered for sale on e-Bay auction. The sword was bid for and purchased by my nephew, my son, and my two sons-in-law and presented to me as a Father's Day gift. All are brother Masons. And the incredulity of it? The blade was etched with the name of William H. Wood - MY NAME!

True Stories page I
True Stories page II
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