Growing up I knew my Grandfather was a Mason, but I never knew what that meant or why he was one. The only thing I knew is that it meant every so often we would go to this place and have either BBQ or roasted corn from a corn roast. We never went to other things the lodge did as these were brothers only functions. That was just the way things were in Ohio as I grew up.
My father became one as well but again I never knew why or what they did. I thought it was great my father and my grandfather (his father in-law) had something in common they did together.
Once I became an adult I noticed my father had stopped going to functions but never knew why. I always knew my family was “Masonic” but I didn’t know what that meant. One day while visiting Ohio I didn’t realize it but I took my first step to becoming a Mason by asking my grandfather what Masons did. You could see by the way his face changed and the smile I had done something he had waited years for me to ask. He then spent the next 2 hours plus telling me what he could and explaining why he was a Mason. I then asked how to become one. Again, the smile and again a long discussion. Once I went back home to Texas I had decided to seek out a Masonic lodge for more info. I began where all modern searches begin, on the internet. I got all the way to T before someone answered the phone and invited me to come down and meet them. I won’t go into detail about all the lodges that never returned my call, but it was in the double digits. Believe it or not I thought of Masons as a business and that there would be people manning the phones at all times.
Upon going downtown and meeting the lodge secretary at Tannehill Lodge I knew I had found my “lodge”. I visited many times before asking for a petition. After 3 investigations that involved my family I was voted on and accepted. After my first degree I couldn’t wait to call my grandfather and share my feelings. This happened after each degree and later after I had joined the line of officers after every stated meeting. When I became the Worshipful Master, my grandparents made the trip to Texas and my grandfather gave the opening and closing prayers. I never did anything halfway, so I got involved in every aspect of the fraternity I could. I went to the 14th District Masters, Wardens, Secretaries, Association (MWSA) and went thru the line with them as well. I served the Grand Lodge of Texas as a District Deputy Grand Master and enjoyed sharing those experiences with my grandfather as well.
I have given a lot of background info but not what Masonry means to me, so here it goes. Once I joined the fraternity I loved the fact that all men are equal. One Grand Master summed it up by saying it doesn’t matter if you sweep the floors of the building or own the building when you walk into that lodge room you’re the same. I have met some amazing men that will literally drop everything at moment’s notice to assist you if you need it or your family needs it. I have seen acts of kindness that are immeasurable for people that they have never met. I never realized till I became a Mason that my Grandfather was that type of Man the whole time I knew him. I don’t know if Masonry made him that way or not, but I know his acts of charity and assistance to people he barely knew was something I wanted to live.
I want to say without a doubt that being a part of the fraternity has helped in my growth as to who I want to be. I take pride in knowing that Masons every day help a number of people across the country and throughout the world. I love seeing a Masonic ring or emblem on a stranger and walking up to them and saying hello and introducing myself as a fellow Mason. The conversations are always like we have been friends for years and not like we have just met. When I travel I know I can find a great meal and some great friendship by visiting with a lodge.
My grandfather isn’t with us any longer and I miss those calls after lodge. Masonry allows me to live my life as he did and make a difference to as many people as I can on a daily basis. Everyone makes decisions they look back and wonder if they made the right choice. Being a Mason is not one of those decisions.