Considering the number of meetings, a moderately active Freemason might attend, it proves time and time again that other than his wife or partner, a well-kept diary proves to be the best companion he could ever wish to have.
For example, being a member of a Lodge, Chapter and one other Degree would amount to possibly fifteen meetings per year. Then there are the Lodges of Rehearsal/Instructions which could add another thirty nights per year. Committee meetings, Ladies nights, Visits, Social or Charity events could easily add another twenty evenings, giving an approximate total of sixty-five nights out of a season which generally lasts about eight months.
For some very active Brethren, this number of commitments could be doubled, and I have met many a Brother whose Masonry takes up four or five nights per week.
Of course, a four-night per week Freemason is not necessarily a better Freemason than a one-night a month man. Freemasonry is a very personal matter and can build and develop the character and knowledge of the man who belongs to one Lodge, just as quick as his more active Brother. So, it’s not such a case of quantity, but quality that counts.
As for the moderately active Mason, you will regularly see flashes of his well-thumbed diary. You will notice as he desperately tries to maintain some sort of balance between his desire to attend his meetings, please his friends by visiting their Lodges and the more consequential aspects of his life which consist of the demands of his family, work and most important, his pocket.
It is not therefore uncommon for him to have the occasional lapse of memory or incorrect diary entry. Thus, despite the manifold Communications we may receive, the array of Committee minutes posted to us or the plethora of verbal invitations hastily scribbled down in our diaries. We undoubtedly will make the occasional mistake.
Like the brother who texted me quietly as I sat at the Secretary’s table an hour into the ceremony to ask what time the meeting started.
Then there was Brother Organist, who I considered to be very keen for he arrived two hours before a meeting was due to start. I had just finished preparing the rooms for a meeting of a Rose Croix Chapter. He asked if it would be in order for him to practice the organ in preparation for the meeting. He was obviously oblivious to the unique and unmistakable lay out of the Red room and promptly started to play the most beautiful melodic, yet stirring music of the marches of Sousa and the Waltzes of Strauss.
In the meantime, having returned downstairs, the Brethren began to arrive and immediately began to question the music as this particular group has never had an organist. To our surprise and amusement, a face suddenly appeared at the door. It was Brother Organist dressed resplendently in the colourful regalia of a Royal Ark Mariner.
“I think I may be at the wrong meeting” he timidly explained.
The Princes being pleasantly entertained all smiled and concurred with the Brother and gently sent him on his way. I was later to discover that he was a day early for his meeting which was at a location several miles away.
On another occasion, a member of my Royal Arch Chapter suddenly appeared at a Lodge Committee meeting for which he was not a member. Surprised by his appearance I greeted him well as he explained that he was famished and asked me for the menu of the Festive Board after the meeting. To his utter shock and horror, I informed him that our Convocation had been the previous week and that he was in fact, seven days late. Poor chap; he had not only forgone his meal at home, but paid for a meal he had missed.
However, the prize for the earliest Brother in attendance must go to the chap who turned up on another evening prepared for Red Cross of Constantine Conclave, a full month early.
So Brethren, the moral of this story is “don’t delay.” To avoid disappointment or confusion, purchase a good diary or even a colour coded wall planner to co-ordinate your activities……Lest you end up as red-faced as brother organist!