Saturday, December 22, 2007

Interesting experience today

So I just got in last night from a week long trip to Chicago. My wife and I had a great time today and enjoyed a beautiful day doing some last minute shopping. Unfortunately I missed the El Paso Scottish Rite's Open House event. I really did feel bad about it, because I wanted to take the whole family. But sometimes you realize that although I had it planned out, it's the holidays and Masonry teaches us that our family obligations come first.
So for my interesting experience...I actually had a couple. I spent all of this past week in Addison, Illinois doing some training for work. This is the fourth time I've been to Chicago but the first time I've been there as a Mason. Interestingly my short drive from the hotel to our office has always passed by a large Hilton hotel which right below has the symbol of the Shriners, which I never noticed before!! Now this is no small organization, they are like the trademark of this particular Hilton! They are the Medinah Shriners.

Next interesting experience, it's the holidays so I drove to my local liquor store and noticed that the guy who's always at the register had a Shriner medallion handing around his neck. But this was no ordinary medallion, it was amazing. I asked him if he was a Shriner and he said that he wasn't, but his grandfather was a 33rd and that he inherited the medallion. The medallion was gold and the half moon was made of real tiger claws set in gold and on the back it had the square & compasses engraved in the gold. He mentioned that he had been confronted various times by Masons asking him where he had got it, because that was a 33rd degree medallion and that there was no way that he could be a 33rd because it takes "40 years to become one". Anyways I was pleased to be able to notice the signs of my new Fraternity.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Practice, practice, practice

So here I go, feeling good and ready to climb the stairs of Freemasonry, and soon become a Master Mason. Whoooaah...hold on there, pilgrim. Before advancing to the 2nd degree or Fellowcraft degree I must demonstrate my First Degree Proficiency, and do it...of course, in front of my fellow Brothers in open Lodge. So, I say to myself..."No problem, just give me the books and I'll study them." No sir. I must learn them verbally from my coach E. which I have been rehearsing with in person inside a lodge room for the past three days this week. I am freaked out! There are a lot of questions and some of the answers are about as long as up to where I have typed thus far! There is no book. These questions and answers have been passed down from Mason to Mason for decades by mouth to ear, which makes this experience much more valuable, intriguing and satisfying.

Today's coaching session took place at the El Paso Scottish Rite Temple. A very special place indeed, making today's session very rewarding. I got there at 8AM and had the privilege of having coffee and doughnuts with a few 33rd degree Scottish Rite Masons.

After breakfast, E. and I went to the Scottish Rite lodge room which is also used by Fraternity Lodge #1111. I've got to admit that I love this lodge room, I think it's the most elegant and beautiful one I've been to so far. I would like to find out if I could possibly recieve one of my remaining Blue Lodge degrees there. So we got into some pretty long answer questions which we had to spend some additional time on. So far, I feel like this is a lot to learn. E. told me that some EA's like to break it up into sections and spread out their proficiency examinations throughout different sessions. I told him that I think I would like to go that route, and he looked astonished and asked me why? He said he thought I was smart and that I was picking it up a lot faster than other EA's he's coached. Well, we'll see how it goes. I feel pretty confident, even though I don't remember almost anything when I return home at night, the following morning when I meet with E. and he asks me the questions, they seem to just come out. Sometimes with some words thrown in that don't belong there or are syonyms. The thing is, syonyms and an extra word here and there don't count! It must be perfect....VERBATIM!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

My Lodge

Now that I am a proud Entered Apprentice of Five Points Lodge #1137, I would like to share a little background about it and other El Paso, Texas Lodges.


Five Points Lodge was Chartered on December 4th, 1919. It's first meeting was on January 15, 1920 when William J. Pickering was installed as the first Worshipful Master. The Lodge met at 916 1/2 N. Piedras St. When in 1960 the building was torn down to realign Montana St. the Lodge purchased the Phoenician Club Building on Morehead Ave. This was our home until 2004 when we sold the building and moved to our present location in the Masonic Activities Center on Magruder St.

In El Paso, there are roughly 2,000 Freemasons belonging to one or more of the 10 local Lodges chartered under the Grand Lodge of Texas. As a a matter of fact many of my Lodge Brethren are at Grand Lodge today at the 172nd Grand Lodge Communication!
I am anxious to get more involved in Masonry, but activity is low right now due to the Grand Lodge meeting and the upcoming holidays. I am sure I am going to have more than my hands full with my upcoming proficiency work as well as my university studies...not to mention work and my family. Whoooo!