‘Vivat!’ – The wait staff at Bloomfield Steak and Seafood House didn’t know what to make of this party of 25 and its seven ritualistic toasts, but the food kept coming: platters of stuffed mushrooms, pasta, calamari, clams, mussels; bowls of salad; plates of steak, salmon, chicken; pitchers of Sam Adams Winter Lager; bottles of wine; trays of desserts; pots of coffee.... We’ll get used to them, if they get used to us.
Another Worshipful Master in New Jersey who is exiting office on a high note is W. Bro. Franklin Suco at Nutley Lodge No. 25. Franklin is a Mason who works hard to broaden the horizons of his brethren by shedding light on ritual and symbol to communicate the meaning of Masonry. And he isn’t afraid of borrowing from other Masonic rites to enhance these lessons. His year in the East included about ten lecturers, the last of whom was Heather K. Calloway, Director of Special Programs for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, at the House of the Temple in Washington.
Heather, with laptop and projector at hand, screened her Powerpoint presentation titled “The Masonic Traveler,” taking us on a busy tour of significant Masonic sites and sights from Britain to Bluefield, West Virginia. (With good humor, her first photo showed... Nutley Lodge. This dinner-lecture was a fundraiser for the lodge’s building fund.) These unique locations vary in their reasons for importance – architecture, history, collections of artifacts and archives, je ne sais quoi, etc. – yet are equals, like dots just waiting to be connected in the travelogue of... well, a Masonic traveler. And travel broadens one’s horizons, ergo her presence.
Our tour included a pint or three at Freemason’s Arms, coincidentally located across the street from the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England in Covent Garden. I wonder if the brethren go there.
Some of the brethren are still bending their elbows at the restaurant as this late night edition of The Magpie Mason goes to press, but your correspondent is dutifully at the keyboard, not even meekly curious about the Two Large he invested this afternoon in Miguel Cotto’s unstoppable career!
It was a great night. Calloway took us to the grand lodges of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York, since these three are the first logical destinations of Masons in this area. But we soon found ourselves in New Mexico (her native state) at the grand lodge, and also in Taos for a quick tour of Bent Lodge No. 42. This lodge room has a beautiful Southwestern décor, making the room simultaneously look otherworldly but still as instantly recognizable as any lodge appointed in a federal style. This was Kit Carson’s lodge, and a sizable collection of Carson memorabilia is on hand here.
Heather’s Masonic journey began during her childhood in New Mexico. Her grandfather was a Mason, and her dad was Grand Master in 1991 and serves as Grand Secretary now, instilling an interest in the Masonic Order that she brought to college, adding the study of Freemasonry to her theology course load. And conversely, her various university degrees, including a Master’s in Library Science, make her ideally suited for her career at the House of the Temple where, in true non-profit fashion, she fills multiple roles that have nothing in common except that somebody has to do them. (Exactly the kind of opportunity The Magpie Mason covets, except I know they’d never let me smoke in there.)
We’re still in New Mexico, now at the Scottish Rite Valley of Santa Fe (Sean Graystone’s Valley), where Heather’s wedding was held. Pretty cool. Next, it’s the Valley of Denver, then on to Guthrie, Oklahoma where she once abandoned her father during a visit, so enthralled was she by the endless sights to see at the Valley famous for conferring 29 A&ASR degrees in exhausting four-day marathons.
Junior Warden Dave, left, and Senior Warden Dalton debate the architectural style of the pillars lining the Valley of Guthrie. ‘They’re Ironic, I tells ya.’ ‘No, you murgatroyd, dey’re Adoric!’
Then we’re in El Paso, followed by the Grand Lodge of California in San Francisco. Suddenly we’re on Great Queen Street in London before heading north to Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. Turns out there’s a little Masonic lodge just down the road from the Sinclairs’ famous enigma. Then, it’s on to Hibbing, Minnesota; and New Orleans; and Coos Bay, Oregon. Before we could even think of unpacking, we had arrived at the House of the Temple, John Russell Pope’s recreation of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
A Past Most Wise Master myself, I had to shoot a photo of this Rose Croix apron Heather showed us from the House of the Temple collections. Below: an apron from the 1790s, one of the oldest on hand at H.O.T. (That’s Thurman in the foreground.)
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is undertaking a $70 million fundraising campaign to finance massive renovations and modernizations to the House of the Temple. Individuals, lodges, valleys, foundations – everyone – can make gifts in support of this urgent effort to ensure this priceless landmark and national treasure will be inherited by generations yet to be born. Bequests are great, but the funds are needed now so please make a timely impact.
Pythagoras taught that standing to drink and sitting to eat allowed for proper digestion, a practice adopted at Nutley Lodge...
...although I am at a loss to explain why Tiler Clarence is standing on his chair.
Right: Past Master Anthony demonstrates correct chair usage, sometimes called ‘The Secrets of the Chair.’
‘Why, I oughtta...’ – Heather fields another question from Dave.
Utterly ignoring The Magpie Mason’s staff photographer, Franklin presents Heather a recognition award in thanks for her hard work tonight.
Franklin, congratulations on a wonderful year! Heather it was great seeing you in New Jersey and having a chance to chat. Cannot wait for Masonic Week!