Last evening, one of the newest brothers from Sibley Lodge No. 209, Jim Suedbeck, accompanied me on a visit to Temple Lodge's outdoor lodge. The weather was gorgeous, the comradeship exceptional, and the food, without equal!
Worshipful Brother Laurel Olson was presented with the Hiram Award last night. (That's a photo of me with him and Worshipful Master Steve Kilian.) Laurel told of joining the lodge just before he went into the service in the early 50's. On the train to basic training, the conductor noticed his ring and made sure that he had a compartment to sleep in, rather than a berth like all the other draftees. In basic, the sergeant in charge of KP one day noticed his ring, and ordered Laurel to accompany him as he rode around all day visiting all the KPs under his supervision. Laurel was quick to point out that his membership had reaped benefits pretty soon for him!
A most interesting part of the story was that both the conductor on the train and the sergeant at KP were Prince Hall Masons. That didn't keep them from recognizing and assisting a brother Mason, no matter the color of his skin. To our embarassment, I'm pretty sure that a Prince Hall Mason would not have received the same respect and consideration from an AF&AM in those days. ...
During my remarks, I mentioned that probably more than 45 years ago, I was perhaps the worst 2nd Class Scout in the history of the Boy Scouts of America. I offered one example: What other scout actually burned down his Scoutmaster's tent? Brother Art Benjamin confirmed my story, as he was the unlucky Scoutmaster for Troop Number 5, Green Isle Minnesota... That is a photo of me with Brother (I still call him "Mister") Benjamin.
You just never know what you're going to learn, or who you're going to run into, when you go to lodge.