Dear Harmony Lodge Family,
As many of you know, the Masters Message is written in advance of publication, so some of what I am writing about on January 7th for the February Trestleboard may seem out of sequence.
Worshipful Jesse Edwards’s unexpected passing on December 11th not only greatly affected his own family still grieving from the loss of Brother Jesse Edwards IV in June, it greatly impacted the Harmony Lodge family, as well. Jesse was Master when I came in as a member of the Class of 2010. My first real memory of him was when we were preparing for our Entered Apprentice proficiencies , and he sat in on one of our classes. At a certain point, he stopped us and said, “That’s great that you can recite what you’ve been studying…now tell me what it means.” Of course, he was met by a room full of men with a deer in the headlights look. He didn’t ask that question to exhibit any superiority of his Masonic knowledge: he used that opportunity to challenge us to understand what we were studying; to see the real meaning behind the words.
Jesse wanted us to be more than what he termed a MINO (pronounced “minnow”)- “Mason In Name Only”- that we truly understood the tenets of our fraternity and would live by them.
Over the years, Jesse was one of the Past Masters I consistently went to for advice. He would always use the same model he used with our Class, and ask, “Well, what do you think?” In this way, he never imposed his idea, but collectively we arrived at a resolution to the problem. I now find myself doing the same thing, whether someone from within or without the Lodge poses a question.
Jesse’s passing also brought to light how much he did for Harmony. The most obvious was the meals he prepared every month. I don’t know if there was a Lodge that ate as well as we did. He certainly contributed to many a Masonic “form”.
Regarding the meals going forward, I asked for volunteers at January’s meeting to coordinate February’s meal and was met by the sounds of crickets. Brothers Josh Edwards and Bill Laliberte then both volunteered to provide a meal for February’s meeting. While the meal choice hasn’t been finalized, reservations are now more important than ever.
As a Lodge, we need to make a decision whether we are going to continue to prepare our own meals, or have them catered. As R:.W:. Ken Poyton said at January’s meeting, our meals don’t have to be elaborate affairs, and their preparation is another opportunity for fellowship, as those Brothers who enjoy cooking can get together the weekend before the meeting and prep the meal. I think Brother Jim Lafitte spoke for many on the sidelines when he stood up and said, “I like to cook, but can’t take on all that responsibility by myself. I’m willing to help out, though.” We will be discussing this in greater detail at February’s meeting.
There were also many behind the scenes things that Jesse coordinated. Worshipful Cunningham and I started a list, and it was quite impressive. That being said, we will be looking to the membership to assist in some of these activities. More information will be forthcoming.
I would also like to point out that we have six Brothers celebrating a milestone anniversary this year: David Conklin, Michael Muksian, Herbert Reid, R:.W:. Robert Stearns, Stephen Strandquist, and Robert Tortenson are all celebrating 50 years in the Craft! At this writing, I am unsure of how many will be attending the March meeting where District Deputy Grand Master Andre Faria will be presenting the 50-Year Medals, but please make every effort to attend.
In closing, please make sure to read through the Trestleboard for the many upcoming events. Note that for those intending to go on the Getaway Weekend, final payment is due at the February meeting.
Mick Torgan, Master