Thursday night, I had the privilege of assisting with the presentation of 60-year pin to Brother John Peterson at Forest Lake Lodge. From the left is District Representative Jim Konkler, Worshipful Master (and Senior Grand Deacon) Dave Olson, Brother Peterson and his wife Delores, and yours truly.
I used to think that all that is necessary to get my 50-year pin is to live long enough. The past few years, as I've attended similar ceremonies in many different lodges, I've come to realize that it's a lot more than that. 61 times, Brother Peterson pulled out his checkbook and wrote a check for his annual dues. A man doesn't do that simply to get a lapel pin decades later. There is something about this fraternity, even if a man does not participate as much as he thinks he should, that keeps him writing those checks.
It might be a relative or close friend that is a Mason that encourages those annual checks. It might be the lessons taught and learned in our ritual. It might be our charitable and philanthropic endeavors. It might be the continued search for Masonic light. Or, it might be because Masons stand for Political Freedom, Personal Integrity and Religious Tolerance.
There may be several of these reasons, or one I have not thought of, that keeps a man in Fraternity. Whatever the reason, when I listen to these Brothers who joined the fraternity before I was born look back over their relationship with our Fraternity, I know I have made the right choice to renew my membership.