What is After lodge?

I became a freemason at the age of twenty three. I was by far the youngest man there. I was worried that this ancient society my father and grandfather had been members of had become nothing more that a old man coffee club. It was like McDonald’s on Saturday morning. Old men hanging around drinking coffee. Reading the minutes, paying the bills and the very rare degree work night was all that was there.

While this was not what I was looking for it wasn’t that bad. I’ve always enjoyed the conversation of older people they lived though times that I had not. Some have gained wisdom though experience from which I could benefit.  However Saturday nights are precious to a young man and I found myself wondering if there was anything else to freemasonry.

Then came Harlan. When Harlan joined he was twenty one years old. I was serving as secretary of my lodge and he called me on his twenty first birthday asking about joining. At that time I was lecturing most the new brothers, so of course I lectured him too. He was one of the smartest men I had ever met. Funny, in a dry way, and a smart ass. Of course we hit it off right away. Pretty soon lodge nights became later and later. The old guys would leave fifteen twenty minutes after lodge. Harlan and I would be sitting at a table arguing about something or making fun of each other. The conversation would run the gambit from politics, religion, conspiracy theories.

Over time other guys joined that were younger. Some came and went, but the table after the meeting became more and more crowded. The group would sometimes hang out in the dinning room after the meeting to two, three and four in the morning. Our lodge that had gone from five to ten members in attendance was now averaging twenty plus. Our lodge had direction now. A direction that was often decided at that table after the meetings.

We began running a breakfast every other Saturday and running our local town’s city fair. We found one of the most important aspects of freemasonry. The brotherhood that binds us to the craft.  The core group began to treat each other like brothers. We didn’t just see each other on lodge nights. We were around each other all the time. Education classes started happening on Sundays. The core group would hang around the lodge on Sunday even if there was no brothers there to educate. It got to the point where you could ride by the lodge most afternoons and find a brother there. The lodge had become more than a building, it had become our club house.

Over the years that core group realized people would visit because our lodge was fun. The group would joke and talk all night long some would stay with us until. Harlan and I developed the routine of the pikey and the jew. I would call him a “dirty jew” and he would tell me to go back to “Ireland pikey”. Visitors would give us a look expecting us to come to blows then one or both of us would laugh. It was only a matter of time then until we figured we should just go ahead and record our poppycock talk. Next post I’ll talk more about how the show started.