|Volume LIV||August 2007||Number 3|
My Father's Ring
Written by: George R. Haynes, P.M., Columbia Lodge No. 91, Philadelphia
The other day, a salesman was making delivery on a piece of
equipment to my employer at a job site. He was wearing a rather
large Masonic ring on his left ring-finger. I am not sure if it was
the unusual finger on which he wore the ring or its size that
attracted my attention.
I have been a Mason for 15 years, and am used to seeing other men, in all walks of life, wear Masonic rings and lapel pins. Sometimes I make a point of introducing myself as a brother, sometimes I don't. Often the other man will notice my ring or lapel pin and take the opportunity to introduce himself to me. I have often made good friends through these random exchanges.
Because I was with my employer, who is not a Mason, I was not going to mention the salesman's ring so as not to enter a private conversation that could possibly exclude him. As luck would have it, the salesman noticed my ring. He said, "Where did you get that?" I replied that it had been a gift when I became a Mason and asked about his lodge. He surprised me by saying, "I'm not a member. It was my father's ring. I loved him and when he died it was the only thing I took. I wear it to remember him. I'll never take it off."
Before I could respond, the salesman launched into a story about how one day, soon after his father had died years ago, one of his coworkers had noticed the ring and asked him if he was a Mason. In his brief but animated retelling of the incident, he told me how his coworker had demanded that he remove the ring, how he had refused, how they almost came to fisticuffs, and ultimately how his coworker had been fired for the altercation. Then he said, "I know you probably don't approve of me wearing it, but it is my memory of my father. I wear it for him." I replied, "I don't mind."
As I sat with him finishing the delivery paperwork, I thought about giving him information on Freemasonry. I thought about explaining what the lodge is and the history of the organization of which his father had been a member. I considered telling him about how much his father's ring means to other Masons - his father's brothers. I thought about apologizing for his co-worker's - my brother's - reaction. I sat silent, thinking about what a Masonic ring is and what mine means to me.
A ring, or a lapel pin, is simply that. It holds no magic, no sacrament, no inherent meaning - even to Freemasons. These items only hold meaning inasmuch as they speak to and for the wearer and, through the wearer, about our fraternity.
For this man, his father's ring is a living symbol of the man who had raised him. It is his memory of his father's character, of a good man who had loved his son. It is a symbol of all that Freemasonry hopes to be and portray to the world. It is his symbol of his own love and respect for his father.
It occurs to me that this man had every right to wear his father's ring and he wears it for exactly the right reasons. His father's ring says more good about Freemasonry than I have heard in 15 years. That the man who wears it is not a Mason says even more.
DDGM's Son Becomes Mason at Age 18
Zack Samuel Morgans, 18, was raised to the sublime degree
of a Master Mason in Dormont Lodge No. 684, Pittsburgh, on
April 16. The degree was conferred by his father, Bro. David W.
Morgans, District Deputy Grand Master of District 57. His guide
was his grandfather, Donald E. Dukstein, P.M. The degree team
consisted of current and past District Deputy Grand Masters. The
charge was delivered by Bro. Robert T. Addleman, Jr., P.D.D.G.M.,
and the Bible presentation was made by Timothy P. Templeton,
District Deputy Grand Master for District 53.
Bro. Zack was very impressed with the degree and with the 70+ brethren who came out to support him on this very special evening. When asked why he joined at such a young age, Zack said: "I have wanted to be a Mason ever since I was very young. I have attended many family lodge functions over the years and have met many nice people. I attended the mini grand prix races at Elizabethtown, the Benjamin Franklin memorial service in Philadelphia, toured the Masonic Temple and have attended a couple Scottish Rite events and have been very impressed with the quality of the Freemasons I have met and the quality of the facilities that they own."
First row, left to right: Brothers Donald Dukstein, Zack Morgans and David Morgans
Second row, left to right: Brothers David Rasch, P.M; Larry French; Jeff Biddle, D.D.G.M. 49; P.J. Roup, D.D.G.M. 54; Bob Dunkel, D.D.G.M. 38; Tim Templeton, D.D.G.M. 53; Keith McKnight, P.D.D.G.M. 53; and Greg Vaslowski
Third row, left to right: Brothers Joe Matucheski; Joe Dickey; Bill Weischel, P.D.D.G.M. 37; Bob Addleman, Jr., P.D.D.G.M. 57; Rodney Boyce, D.D.G.M. 30; Mike Tanner, P.M.; Sam Spanos, D.D.G.M. 47; Jeff Wonderling, P.D.D.G.M. 30; and Bill Roberts, P.D.D.G.M. 47.
Fourth row, left to right: Brothers David Maier, P.M.; Jim Wilson; David Graham, W.M.; Ed Spahr, S.W.; and Keith Attwood, J.W.
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