Thursday, March 6, 2014

Freemasonry's Better Half

Reprinted from THE MIDNIGHT FREEMASONS blog
with permission

Todd and Valerie Creason at a Scottish Rite luncheon (2011)
"My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me."
~Winston Churchill
Studholme Lodge No. 1591, England

In my part of the world, we have a practice when it comes to investigating a petitioner that from what I understand, isn't that widespread.  When our investigating committee calls to arrange a time to meet with a petitioner, if he's a married man--we invite his wife to join us!

It's true.  And there's good reasons for it.  It's a good place to ask questions.  It's a good chance to introduce his wife to who we are, what we do (and don't do), and the things that are important to us.  And of course the most important reason is obvious.  It's unlikely he's going to ever be very involved in Freemasonry if his wife doesn't support his decision to join the Lodge.

Valerie (with helper) managing our trail run
My wife, Valerie, wasn't that thrilled when I brought up the idea of joining the Masonic Lodge.  We'd been down that road before.  I'd briefly been active in another organization some years earlier (I won't say which one).  My friend and I went to the meeting every month for awhile.  The meeting started at 7, the bar opened at 7:30, and I'd wind up walking home at some hour well after midnight.  I was a little younger then, but it caused problems in the marriage to say the least.  I still pay my dues, but it's been a decade since I've attended a meeting.

But it was pretty clear to her that this was different when three Masons arrived at our house and talked to us about Freemasonry.  They had a few questions for me, and we had a lot of questions for them.  When they finally left, Valerie was almost as excited at the prospect of me being involved in the Fraternity as I was. 

I'm gone quite a bit, and when I'm not attending something Freemasonry related, I'm writing something Freemasonry related.  It's a very involving hobby of mine.  Oddly enough, there's never been one argument in my house about me leaving to go to a meeting--in fact, she'll look at me some evenings and say "isn't there a meeting you could go to?"  She told me one time she doesn't mind me going to meetings and events, because she realizes she has benefited from Freemasonry as much as I have--she's wound up with a better product than the one she married.

My story isn't unique.  It would be impossible for our Fraternity to thrive without the support of our wives.  They don't just let us go to the meeting, most of our wives are right there doing a lot of the work. 
Those two have obviously grown pretty comfortable in a lodge room
I've very fortunate in that department.  I sometimes wonder how many hours Valerie and I have sat at the kitchen table folding, stamping and addressing newsletters.  Or writing out invitations and thank you cards.  I wonder how many tables and chairs she's helped set up and take down.  I wonder how many events she's helped me organize and plan.  She's designed posters, printed event tickets, helped me organize two Masonic Charity Trail Runs, and then gotten up the day of the event and manned the registration trailer herself.  And when our Lodge orders polo shirts from the Secretary (me) to wear at our events, and when they arrive and everyone has the right size and color--well, I'm not the genius behind that miracle.  Thank Valerie for sorting out that mess.  On top of that, I wonder how many hours she's spent reading my blog posts, articles, and book chapters long before anyone else sees them.

A rare occasion when I actually remembered to thank my wife . . .
And guess who we always manage to forget to thank at these events?  You guessed it--our spouses.
 
Always remember that behind any successful Lodge, there's often a collection of very dedicated and hardworking spouses that rarely receive the recognition and thanks they deserve.  So let me just say to all of you right here . . . thank you!  There's no way we could do the things we do without you.

~TEC

Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014. You can contact Todd E. Creason at: webmaster@toddcreason.org

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