Though I am new to Masonry, Masonry is not new to me. I became a Master Mason at 67 years of age and my only regrets were that I didn’t do it when I was 21 and that I was not able to have my father sign my petition. My father was very prominent in his lodge and especially as Commander of his Knights Templar Commandery. My father signed me up for DeMolay where I was very active and for the most of my tenure was the Secretary/Treasurer of my chapter.
My career took me to live all over the United States and consequently I never petitioned a lodge. I came home to care for my father after being estranged from the family for 32 years. Dad said in a conversation that he would sign my petition and pay my dues and help me study for my degrees. Well, dad was 95 with great intentions and it just never happened. My father was a great man for imparting all types of wisdom and some which at times was humorous while being true. One thing he said to me about my desire to become a Mason was this, “Son, being a Mason will improve every aspect of your life and will make you a better man. While you’ll never be disappointed in what Masonry has to teach you, you may at times be disappointed in some of your brother Masons.” Well, we’re all human and when you enter the human element you are often disappointed.
I didn’t have many friends through the years, probably from moving around a lot and being naturally kind of a loner. I’m widowed and live alone. After laying dad to rest I asked his closest friend and golf buddy if he would sign my petition. After saying yes, he came back to me and said, “You know, I’m over 80 years old and don’t have much energy for that but I have a really close friend who pretty much runs the Masonic Temple and with his name on your petition and your dad’s name in the Temple you won’t have a problem. I’ll have him call you.” A week or so later I got a call, “I hear you’re interested in becoming a Mason.” The man went on to tell me “You know, your dad, and my dad used to study for their degrees together.” I said I wasn’t surprised by that as my dad was very involved with his lodge. The man went on, “You don’t recognize me do you.” He told me his name and I nearly passed out. We grew up together, went through DeMolay together and were friends through High School and I hadn’t seen him since. We are now very close friends, and he has been at my side every step of the way.
My plan is to follow York Rite to Knight’s Templar and follow my father, grand father and great grandfather’s footsteps. I became a 32nd degree Mason last November and in yesterday’s mail I received my certificate. As I looked at it, the tears streamed down my face and I looked up and just said, ‘Well how about that,Pop, what do you think about this!”
My health is taking a few new turns and being without family and only a few friends causes one to think. While I hope to be more active and make more friends which I’ve already started to do, I know that I have a place to go if I need to, if living on my own becomes dangerous.
When I go to my lodge meetings there are times when we barely can fill the seats of the officers. I sit there and imagine that lodge hall in my father’s day or in the day of my ancestors that belonged to that lodge. I imagine the room filled to capacity. I remember parades in town with huge formations and drills by the Knights Templar and large announcements in the newspaper for installations of officers of the lodges. Times change. I hope the pendulum will begin to swing the other way. With the world
seeming to crumble around our shins we need more Masons, we need more good men and continue to make good men better. I wish I could meet every Mason out there!
Rodger Daye 32nd Degree Valley of Dayton
Anthony Lodge # 455