Tuesday came, and I tried to get some work done, not very successfully. All I could think about was what was about to happen that night. Instead, I updated this blog, bringing it up to date, and started getting ready for L. to come by & pick me up.
We got to the lodge around 5:45pm, and our parking lot was already filling up fast, so we decided to drive around the block to look for parking. It was a really great coincidence that we ended up parking in front of the metal grate at the Lodge's front door, as that was where my odyssey began with Mission #169. We walked around to the main entrance (in the back), walked in, and I greeted the brethren I saw, and their wives as well.
At the end of each month, we have a dinner & get-together for lodge members & their families, so that's what was going on tonight.
We had Chicken Shish-Kabobs (kudos to the cooks!) However, I joked that it might've been funnier if we had goat-kabobs.
*** For the Record: THERE WERE NO GOATS! ***
We were also hosting our brothers from Oakland-Durant-Rockridge #188, and my degree was to be the highlight of the night. The wives ended up watching National Treasure in the Friendship Room, while we did our thing in the main Lodge Room.
An aside about the O-D-R guys: These guys are awesome! Man, I would love to hang out with these guys in general! They'll keep you laughing the whole time, and the constant joking & bantering with these guys made the dinner absolutely great...
K. was there, as well as M., but they couldn't go into the lodge ceremony, as being a 1st Degree candidate and 1st Degree Mason, respectively, so they hung out for a bit, then took off.
I sat outside the lodge talking to the Tyler, (whom I have really enjoyed getting to know). At that point, one of the O-D-R guys came out of the Lodge, and a new O-D-R guy entered the building. Unfortunately the new arrival didn't have a coat & tie, so the Tyler couldn't let him in. The two O-D-R guys and myself walked over to the coat room, found him a jacket & tie when I heard someone calling my name. It was the Stewards; I think they may have thought I'd flown the coop! I came back to the Lodge entrance, they escorted me to the preparation room, and I started getting ready.
The funny thing about this, is that as I was getting prepared, I was checking everything over to make sure it was right. The Stewards said, “Hey, you're not supposed to know how to do that yet!”
I half-smiled & said, “Oh yeah, that's right... I don't know this yet...”
Again, I knew (mostly) what was about to happen, but just hadn't experienced it for real.
The Stewards finished preparing me, and then...
=== snip ===
OK, it's over.
Wow, what an experience. Yes, I knew what was going to happen, for the most part, but there was one section where ____________________ happened, which I didn't expect. I kind of chuckled to myself saying 'that was cool.'
Another thing that happened was that Mission #169 gives you a lot of gifts when you become a Master Mason. People joked beforehand that I would need a bag to carry all of the cool stuff home.
They weren't lying.
It reminded me of the cool swag packages celebrities get when they go to the Oscars... A HUGE Masonic Bible, an trowel engraved with my name, date of my raising & Worshipful Master's name, books signed by all the attendees, my lambskin apron (signed under the flap by the Secretary & Worshipful Master with my entering, passing, & raising dates), a couple of cool gifts from the O-D-R Lodge, my dues card (which I will need tomorrow when I go to Grand Lodge), and a CD-ROM of all the Officer's Manuals, since the wheels are in motion to get me in the Officer's line.
On that note... Before the ceremony, the Senior Deacon for my raising told me that we'd need to get together sometime afterwards so he could explain to me what I would be expected to do next week at the stated meeting... Performing the role of Junior Steward!
OK... Within one week's time, I'll have been raised, gone to Grand Lodge, and performed as Junior Steward.
Very overwhelming, to say the least...
One of the most important things that I'd like to say, was that the performance of the Officers during the ceremony was superb. There were only a couple of times during the whole 2 ½ hour ceremony that anyone needed to be prompted, and the evening was all done in a dramatic, solemn way. My hat goes off to you guys; spectacular job.
Lastly, I would like to officially thank G. & L. for all their time & help to prepare me for everything. On that note, the day after (Wednesday), L. & I started working on the Master Mason proficiency... I don't have to have it done until I want to become Senior Deacon (at least 3 years from now), but getting it out of the way while the iron is still hot is a good idea.
Photo: My Raising 9/25/07, yours truly in the blue shirt, next to the Worshipful Master. Photo courtesy: Brother Sam Yee, Mission #169