The Masters Travels:
Recently, I had to take a business trip to Houston, TX and Baton Rouge, LA. When I was informed of the dates that I would be traveling, I consulted the websites of the Grand Lodges of Texas and Louisiana and was able to find a Lodge that met in each city that corresponded with my travel dates
On August the 4th, 2016 I visited Reagan Lodge No. 1037 in Houston, TX. (http://www.reaganlodge1037.org/).
The Lodge was having its first communication with its new Master, W :. Stewart Anderson, after a tour of the building we sat down to a dinner of homemade brisket with all the trimmings, true Texas cuisine at its finest!
W :. Stewart Anderson on the right and Yours Truly on the left.
Later that same week, my travels had taken me on a 5-hour drive to the East where I visited St. James No. 47 in Baton Rouge, LA. (http://www.stjameslodge47.org/) St. James is a Lodge with a great history and has been in operation since 1844 save for a short period at the end of the Civil War.
While visiting, I was granted the opportunity to observe a proficiency examination, a Brother was turning in his Fellow Craft in preparation for his Master Mason Degree, later that evening I was also fortunate enough to see First Degree conferred. While the work does differ between Grand Jurisdictions, it is still similar in many ways and this makes visiting other Lodges a learning experience.
As I stated earlier, the Lodge did not meet for a short period at the end of the Civil War. War being what it is brings great disruption to many things. Unfortunately, during that period the Lodge itself was looted and some of its history was lost to the ages. However, one of the older Past Masters showed me something that many members of this Lodge that were present did not even know what they had in plain sight. At the Junior Wardens station we have this gavel brake.
And underneath, we have an inscription.
This was looted by Union troops at the end of the war when they occupied Baton Rouge, it was recovered close to 60 years later by a Lodge #9 in Pennsylvania and returned to its home!
On the left, W :. Jeffrey Maynor and Myself on the right.
Brothers, as a Master Mason it is your right to travel to other Lodges whether locally or when in a different country or state. It is always a learning experience and your Brothers are waiting for you when you get there. There are no strangers in Freemasonry, just Brothers you have not met yet.
A few words of advice when traveling out of your Jurisdiction. If you have advance notice of a trip and you will have time to visit a Lodge or concordant body, always contact the secretary ahead of time. You can easily find this information on either that Jurisdictions Grand Lodges website, or on the Lodges website if they have one. Also, you can obtain a certificate of good standing from your Grand Lodge as well, this piece of paper can save you and the Lodge that you are visiting a great deal of time.
W :. Benjamin Kaminski
Master, Harmonie No.699