We had such a great response to our first speaker series that we’ve scheduled a second, longer series starting a month from now on November 17. Watch for the individual presentations to appear in the featured events on the main page. All fo them are on the calendar with the registration links added as they become available.
Registration is required in advance for each event and can be found by clicking the links below
Thanks to Ill. Bro. John Rhodes for this story and reflection on a long-standing tradition that may be changing…
There it was, I did not anticipate it and as a matter of fact have been avoiding it, I walked up to my poolside friend friend, Pete, to talk about our upcoming tee time. Without thinking, and instinctively, almost as a reflex, there it was right in front of me.
Pete was a Mason, from the southern jurisdiction, now living in New Jersey. He had noticed my Scottish Rite ring last year, and thus began a new friendship, and many masonic stories. Pete was Greek and spoke with soft tones and with a Jersey accent, but he loved to play golf and like me was tired of the quarantine and isolation that comes with it. We were both anxious to get out, to get away for a few hours, and hit the links.
As I walked up to Pete, he smiled and out came his right hand. It was unanticipated, and yes, without thinking, and without disinfectant, I accepted his warm greeting. We knew better, both of us. We were wintering in Florida, when the virus struck our nation, until then, we had both been enjoying the sunshine, and saltwater, and poolside chats. He like I, had been raised in a time, when attending a lodge function, or meeting a new friend, you shook hands. My own father gave me lessons on the proper way to shake a man’s hand, we practiced on each other, it was a sign of manhood, of respect, it sealed the deal! “A firm handshake is a sign of character!”, he would say, and “You don’t try to crush someone’s hand, but don’t ever give him a wet fish either!”, and the most impressive lesson, “You shake the hand of every Mason in your lodge room!”
It made perfect sense in 1975, to get married in the middle of a quarter of undergrad study, and live in an $85 a month hole in the wall apartment. I interviewed, with Howard, then starting up a machine/ instrument shop on the Wright State campus. Howard needed an assistant, a gopher, someone to help organize, and clean up, and perhaps learn simple machining. I got the work study job, and learned many lessons from the old machinist, lessons that helped carry me through the rest of my education and through life. One day, after some months of working together, Howard asked me if I knew why he had hired me? I confessed ignorance, and Howard replied that it was because of my handshake. You came in for your interview and you shook my hand, others had interviewed before me, “But your handshake was quick, and not weak!” After graduation and 35 years of life, I again was reunited with my old friend Howard. I thanked him for giving me that much needed opportunity, and am grateful to have been able to enjoy a couple of suppers together with him before his passing.
Pete and I stopped, and picked up Billy on our way to the course. Bill also came from a masonic family, and so we enjoyed a great day of conversation and brotherhood on the golf course. Yes, we all shook hands, and probably stood too close, and occasionally picked up each other’s club or golfball. We knew better, and yes we also shared hand cleaner and wipes, after our round.
I suppose this is our new dilemma, do we act like we don’t know each other? Is handshaking a thing of the past? Are we doomed if we shake a friend’s hand? I guess we shall find out. I myself, will try to get use to carrying and using hand sanitizer more often. The handshake will be hard to unlearn!
Persevere my masonic friends.
We have the dates for all four of the summer speakers – check back July 1 for registration and additional details for the entire series. Don’t forget to register for the Mark Tabbert presentation on June 24.
Ill. Stanley T. Benner, 33 °, shares about three men who touched his life in Freemasonry.
There are three PM’s who have really touched my heart in my 49 plus years in Masonry. Two were PM’s of Lincoln Lodge #693 in Middletown – Chester R. Berry and Cary I. Fenton MSA and Thomas C. Hubler 33° from Eastern Star Lodge #55 in Franklin, Ohio. We were all great friends and when they became seriously sick we talked about life, the good times and bad and regrets of the past and their loved ones that would be left behind. I allowed them to talk with me when others wanted to stay away from the subject. When they died a part of me died with them. I don’t know how to explain how this happened, but for the fact that we were Masons trying to help and understand what would lie ahead.
Chester was a terrible diabetic and his kidneys, we’re shutting down and there was little to be done but await death. He loved to eat, but was told that was the worst thing he could do for his health. When the end was near, his wife Jean asked if my wife Jerrolyn could fix him his favorite meal, which was a roast with all the trimmings and dessert. He had one of his last meals with us and he loved it! Shortly after, he was administered anesthesia for a routine test and never woke up. I gave his Masonic service and even sang a song just for him.
Next came Cary I Fenton, an MSA from the Valley of Dayton, who fought colon cancer for many years. When he had a bone marrow transplant, I would call and visit him during his recovery and treatment. His wife Nancy also had cancer and when she died, Cary just gave up and quit his cancer treatments and died within the next year. We traveled to Scottish Rite many times. He was the first director of the new 17° degree and active in Red Cross. When Cary was nearing his end, hospice cared for Cary at his home. I got a phone call during a round of golf from a hospice nurse and she said Cary wanted to see his best friend! 😢 I directly went to his house and he was awaiting me before he died. I held his hand and talked with him and kissed him on his forehead and said goodbye to my best friend. I again did his Masonic Funeral Serice and his ring service as well.
Next was Thomas Hubler 33° who was my mentor director of the Eighteenth Degree since I left being the Most Wise Master in 1997. Once he became really sick with Parkinson’s disease, he announced his decision to retire as Director of the Eighteenth and asked me to replace him. I would try to visit Tom weekly and call him between my visits. Tom was a planner and he typed out on a sheet of paper how his Masonic Service and Scottish Rite Ring Service would be delivered. I gave all the funeral services per his written instructions and sang two songs as well.
These were my Masonic brothers who I dearly loved and think of them often. I would never have met them if we weren’t members of the Masonic Fraternity. We had a bond that no one could break. I don’t know if I should list their names or not, because there are so many other Masons who have touched my life in a positive way during my journey. I will continue to give what comfort I can to people who want to talk about their troubles in life. I’ve shared with two brothers whose sons have committed suicide and the pain that each of us have suffered. Life goes on.
We are pleased to announce an exciting new Masonic speaker series hosted by the Valley of Dayton on Zoom. Our first speaker will be Masonic author and scholar Ill. Bro. Mark A. Tabbert, 33°, who will be our online guest June 24. The series will be a webinar where you will not only hear a presentation, but can ask questions of our guests.
This program is open to all Master Masons free of charge — but we require advance registration at the link below: