Well, what a meeting that was ! Though I wonder what the Initiate made of it all.
It was always going to be special, in that W. Bro Mike Jupp, a Past Master of Horsa-Dun Lodge, No.3123, took to the Chair in order to Initiate his brother, Peter.
Not only that, but their Dad, David (who joined Masonry after Mike, so I suppose he should be called a Siwel, which is a reversed Lewis!) travelled down from Northampton to take part in the ceremony.
He took on the role of Inner Guard, and also delivered the Working Tools.
So we had Jupp the Father, Jupp the Son, and Jupp the totally Bemused all in the Lodge at the same time !
Bro. Peter’s first impression in Masonry was that of being symbolically stabbed by his own father, while later in the Ceremony being told by his own brother that if he misbehaved, he’d have horrible things done to him !
So that was already a pretty special Ceremony.
It must have been a special moment too for our Initiate, Bro. Peter, when the blindfold came off, though one suspects that he would have recognised the voices long before that point.
But what on earth he would have thought as he was taken to meet the Junior Warden for the first time without his blindfold, and walked past a Mason of mature age, sound judgement, and apparently mad as a hatter !
Aforesaid Mason was sitting there, resplendent in his Regalia, and with hair and beard dyed a startling shade of pink !
Thoughts such as “what on earth have I signed up for ?” must have gone through Bro. Peter’s mind.
What he could not know at the time, was that W. Bro Albert Mance, PPJGW, who was WM in 1987, had decided on this apparent attempt at Punk Masonry in order to raise money for the Worshipful Master’s chosen charity, which is the Neo Natal Department of Chelmsford Hospital where his daughter was born and given the care, which allowed her to flourish.
And sponsors he got ! Even the Brother who always puts a foreign coin and a Polo mint in the Alms collection mucked in !
So much so, that together with the pledges made by his local church, and the nurses at the hospital he attends for his various ailments, Albert has already raised well over £500 !
Now this has to be seen in the context of his having to be brought to the Meeting this time in a wheelchair, as he has a septic leg.
But he was absolutely determined to make it.
He suffered a stroke a few years back, and gets out of breath very easily.
But one thing which has not been affected (at least not morally and spiritually) is his heart.
He has the heart of a Lion !
He has been supported by his son, Nick, himself a Member of Probity Lodge, No. 61 in the Province of West Yorkshire, who had taken leave to come down and look after Albert.
And then on to the Festive Board.
As it was our Burns Night meeting, the Master and his Wardens were piped in to the room, with a real piper and real pipes. None of your recorded stuff !
This was followed a little later by the Haggis being piped in, with the Junior Warden holding aloft the obligatory bottles of Whisky (important to get the spelling right for Scotch !) and the chef bearing the poor dead body of the Haggis.
The traditional Address to the Haggis was given by Bro. john Irvine of Middlesex St. Andrew’s Lodge, and an enjoyable Festive Board ensued.
So this will undoubtedly be a memorable Initiation for Bro. Peter.
In common with most of us, he probably won’t remember much of the Ceremony prior to having the blindfold removed.
But I doubt he will ever forget the events which came after !
And all exemplifying some of the basic and important tenets of our Craft: Brotherly love (in this case literally), Selflessness and Relief in the persons of Albert and his son Nick, and happiness at the Festive Board.
A more fitting, and enjoyable, Initiation one could not ask for.
We can only hope that Bro. Peter still enjoys his Masonry when he himself reaches Albert’s age of 83 years, and that his heart, in turn, will still be bursting with masonic pride.
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