Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Up a Flight of Winding Stairs ...

I had the distinct pleasure of escorting two newly-minted Fellowcraft up a flight of winding stairs at Rushford Lodge last night. You may know that the lodge was inundated in the floods of a couple years ago. The brothers buckled down and completely refurbished the lodge, upstairs as well as down, and it looks marvelous!

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the lodge room and had to take the only chair in the room that was open! Over 40 brothers from all across southeast Minnesota were in attendance. Wow! District Representative Paul Himmler likes to brag (with good reason) that the ten lodges in District 29 act like one lodge in supporting each other. We sure saw that last night.

Worshipful Brother Clarence Russell, past District Representative of District 29, showed up from Winona driving a completely refurbished trolley and brought about 10 brothers along. If I am not mistaken, every lodge in District 29 was represented last night. (I noticed a similar sharing of fellowship at the strawberry night at Evergreen Lodge in Clyde a couple months ago.) I have been at several lodges that have shown excitement and commitment to Masonry over the past months, but I don't recall seeing a district, or a group of lodges, that collectively have such communal dedication. Please let me know of others in the state! I'd want to come and congratulate them, too!!

This was probably the longest mid-week travel I've undertaken as Grand Master. However, I met Area Deputy James McNeely and Grand Chaplain Steve Johnson at Owatonna, and we carpooled from there. I had intended on sleeping from Rushford to Owatonna, but the conversation was just too good! I can catch up on sleep tonight, right?

It was a homecoming, literally, for Steve Johnson. He was born within two blocks of the lodge hall and grew up in the area. He pointed to the pictures of the Past Masters on the wall and showed me his great-uncle. And when Worshipful Master Daryl Thompson told Steve, "Welcome home," I could feel the emotion of the moment myself.

This year is just one unforgettable moment after another....