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Mike Martin

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Mike Martin last won the day on December 14

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About Mike Martin

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    Eternal Apprentice
  • Birthday August 19

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  1. I've stolen this from Bill Hosler's (a member here for some years) BLOG here: http://www.midnightfreemasons.org/2017/12/my-brothers-wife.html because it is very relevant and a reminder that it's not just the Almoner's duty to look out for the Widows and Orphans of a deceased brother! Read on brethren: My Brother's Wife “Because she is my brother’s wife.” my dad said to my mother in a quiet, firm voice. “No, she isn’t.”, my mother said in the voice she used on me when I was in trouble “She is just the wife of some guy in that lodge of yours.” The house was still except for the argument which my Mom and dad were having in the kitchen. I was sitting in our living room across from an elderly lady, who sat on our sofa. She looked like someone’s grandma except, she looked really tired and sickly. I wasn’t sure if she was crying into the handkerchief she held in her shaking hands over the words my mom and dad were saying or if it was something else that had this poor old lady upset. All I knew was at the tender age of ten, it was something that shook me to my very core and something I knew I would never forget. ~~~~ Earlier that day, I was in the car with my father as he was driving into town to buy my mother’s Christmas present. The inside of the car was toasty warm and comfortable as I snuggled into the leather car seat. Dad was busy streaming Christmas music through the car from his smartphone. The setting sun made the snow flurries look like they were magical elves dancing in the air as our car navigated the snowy roads to the local mall. I was awakened by my Yuletide fantasy as I felt dad slowing the car as he made a turn down an unfamiliar long driveway. As Dad put the car in park, I looked at our destination. “I decided I need to make a stop before we get to the mall.”, he said as he started to remove his seat belt. I removed my seat belt and opened the door to follow him. As we walked up to the house I began to get scared. This place we were at looked like a haunted house. The paint on the house was peeling off and I could hear the wind banging one of the houses shudders back and forth against a broken window. The wind was also blowing the limbs on the leafless trees surrounding this poor old house. I couldn’t understand why he stopped at some scary place like this. I mean, it was Christmas Eve, not Halloween. I took my dad’s hand and hid behind him as he knocked on the house’s door. After several minutes the door opened slowly. Standing at the threshold was this little old lady. The poor lady had a confused look on her face and I’m sure if I was a little older I would have noticed she had a cautious look as she said in a frail voice “Can I help you, sir?” “Mary, you may not remember me but my name is Lee Hamilton, I’m a member of Norman’s Masonic lodge.” Mary smiled frailly “Please come in.” I could feel the wind blowing through the house as we entered into the building. “I’m sorry it’s so cold. I’m not used to having guests.” Mary said as I sat down on a broken chair. “The furnace went out about a year ago and I haven’ been able to afford a new one. Honestly, it doesn’t make sense to put one in any way. One of these days a good strong breeze will blow the house down anyway.” Mary said in a quiet voice. “It’s not too bad, I cover up with lots of blankets and it makes the place nice and cozy.” she said. My father seemed shocked at the state of her home “I wish I knew you were having problems with your heating. Did you ever try to contact the lodge?” Mary looked down at her lap “I did a few years ago when I still had a telephone.” I tried, but no matter what time of day or night I tried to call I always got an answering machine. Sometimes I would leave a message but no one ever called me back. I figured it had been so many years since my Norman passed away the members didn’t remember him anymore so I gave up.” I read in the paper that the lodge was busy raising thousands of dollars to give scholarships to high school kids and other fundraisers to buy glasses for children. I just assumed they were too busy helping others in the community than to worry about me." Mary began to get choked up and reached for an old handkerchief. Tears feel down the elderly ladies face as she continued “I get along ok. I get some money from Social Security every month and I have a part time job as a cashier at a small grocery store. The job is a blessing because my employee discount on groceries makes my food stamps last nearly the entire month. Luckily it’ Sonny’s about a mile away so it isn’t far to walk to get to work. I can’t drive anymore so I walk. Sometimes the manager of the store will drive me home. He also carries in my groceries.” I was really getting nervous because I could see tears starting to fall from my Dads eyes. Dad always seemed like such a big, tough guy I never thought anything could make him cry. In a quiet voice he said, “Mary, what are you doing for Christmas dinner?” Mary raised her head, trying to hide her emotions “Well the kids are so busy they can’t be here this year. They all have their own lives and my Grandchildren. They all live so far away I imagine they won’t make it. They haven’t been here for years now. I think they forgot about me.” Her hands were shaking as she continued “ I don’t need a lot. I have a brand new jar of peanut butter I’ve been saving and saltine crackers. At my age, you don’t need a lot to live on”. Mary began staring off into space. I’m not sure if she was trying to convince herself what she was saying was real or whether she was thinking about a Christmas time along ago and a time of happier memories. Dad used the sleeve of his coat to wipe the tears from his eyes. You could tell he was trying to steady himself as he found his voice. “Mary, there is no way I’m leaving you here in this condition. Please gather some clothes together and come spend the holiday with us. I won’t take no for an answer. We have plenty, actually more than we really need. You are welcome to stay with us.” ~~~~~ I could hear my folks still discussing the current situation as Mary rose from our couch and slowly started walking toward my parents who were in the kitchen. “Please, Mister Hamilton, please take me home. The last thing I want to do is cause a family to fight, especially on Christmas Eve. I’ve lived in that house in its current condition for quite a few years. I want you to have a happy Christmas. One thing this old lady has learned through many years of living is once your family is gone all you have left is memories and they should be happy memories.” I noticed my mom began to sob as my Dad said: “Mary there is no way. I could never have a happy memory of this Christmas if I knew you were freezing in an unheated house living on crackers.” Dad continued “To be honest I’m actually ashamed of myself for waiting all these years to visit you and not upholding my Masonic obligation to you and now I wonder how many of our widows who we have allowed to live in such a state. Especially when we have raised tens of thousands of dollars to fund projects which have nothing to do with our Masonic obligations. You are going to stay here in our guest room until we can figure out what it will take to fix your house and make sure you never want for food or shelter ever again.” Everyone in the room looked at my mother for her decision. Even at my young age, my mom felt bad at the thought of sending this woman back to her shack with no food. “Well,” mom said in a quiet voice, “I can see that this means a lot to Lee and we have plenty of room and definitely more than enough food for all of us. I have to say please stay.” Tears ran down the faces of both women as they embraced. “I bet you could use a nice warm bath and then we will get you some clean clothes. I hope you like roast chicken, I’ve been cooking all day.” The old lady smiled “I do and it would be an honor if you would let me help you cook tomorrow.” Later that night I was hiding at the top of the stairs trying to stay awake long enough to get a glimpse of Santa Claus. Mom and dad were in the living room staring into a roaring fire in the fireplace. I saw Dad lean over and kiss my mother’s cheek. “What’s that for?” Mom said with a smile on her face My Dad smiled and said “For allowing Mary to stay here with us. I know that couldn’t be easy for you.” “It wasn’t but I could see if your face how important it was to you and I couldn’t, in good conscience send her back to a place that sounds so horrible. I just hope you can help her.” “I only have one regret.” Dad said. “In all of this excitement with Mary I never got your Christmas gift.” He added with a slight hesitation. Mom just snuggled into Dads’ shoulder “That’s okay babe. I’m a lucky girl. I have everything I will ever need or want. Just having a good, caring man like you is gift enough.” Mom added “I do have one question. What made you stop by her house in the first place?” Dad took a deep breath “Honestly, I can’t tell you why. I was just driving down the road and then all of a sudden this voice told me to stop the car and pay a visit to Mary. Maybe it was Norman sending me a message from the Grand Lodge above.” my dad said with a chuckle. Over the next few weeks the members of the lodge inspected Mary’s little home and sadly the place was so disheveled, it could not be saved. The lodge, with Mary’s consent, arranged for her to have a room at the Grand lodge’s Masonic home. Mary thrived in her new environment. She gained weight from the nutritious food served to her and she developed a glow as she met new friends and lived the rest of her life in a safe, warm environment with plenty of love and happiness. Finding Mary living in such a disheveled condition acted as a wakeup call to Dad's little lodge. Dad used to the lodge’s next stated meeting as “The night the lodge quit making Masons and began to practice Freemasonry.” Dad would always say, “There was a lot of apron gazing that night as the Brethren hung their heads in shame. Especially from the row of Past Masters who not only knew Mary’s husband but never thought to check on his widow, and all the other lodge widows for so many years. Needless to say, the Brethren worked hard and each took a solemn vow (Or reaffirmed their original Master Mason obligation) to care for each other’s widows and orphans. ~~~~~ “Johnny, were ready to start.” the Master of the lodge said to me as I heard the old tune “Solemn strikes the funeral chimes”. Standing here at my father’s coffin brought all those memories of that Christmas back to me from so long ago. I was told by the lodge I didn’t have to be a part of Dad's Masonic memorial service. I just felt like I should be there, following in his footsteps as a member of his lodge. Standing here holding Dad's apron and a sprig of evergreen reminded me of my new obligation to my own mother, as well as those other ladies. I just hope Dad is looking down and smiling at me, as the man that Freemasonry taught me to be
  2. It is quite clearly stated that it is proscribed because it requires a Freemason to act in his capacity as a Freemason at their meetings which are not Masonic. Of course if anyone had tried to export those other Orders to England they would have been considered as to whether they require a Freemason to be present as a Freemason at their non-Masonic meetings?.
  3. Good Morning ;-)

    Welcome aboard Laurent
  4. Hello

    Hi Mark, Welcome aboard.
  5. Initiation on Saturday

    Congratulations Guy and welcome "Brother amongst Masons"
  6. Tercentenary Celebration at the RAH

    You know, I think, that we both agree on these things but they are quite separate from us publicly celebrating our history, as I have said on here before how can any man form a good opinion and desire to join an organisation that he cannot see! I would also add that in truth it is Lodge Committees putting the survival of their individual Lodge before the good of the Craft when accepting a Candidate as opposed to Grand Lodge that is responsible for the quality of those coming into the Fraternity.
  7. Tercentenary Celebration at the RAH

    The lure of Freemasonry is that it is totally acceptable for you to see and understand it in this way and it is also totally acceptable for other Freemasons to see it and understand it many other different ways. The beauty of Freemasonry and what builds harmony amongst us is that none of us has the right to tell another Freemason whether their own personal and individual feeling about what it means to them is right or wrong and we should never try to force our own take on it on another Freemason.
  8. Tercentenary Celebration at the RAH

    I suppose the first thing we would need to establish here was when Freemasonry actually stopped being a Fraternity well known and in good standing within British Society and became an "esoteric" (as you describe it) Society? I suspect that it may just be the way you think of it. For instance I know (as anyone with a good awareness of UGLE's history) that the UGLE had planned events just like we have had this year in 1917, however, these did not occur due to the outbreak of war with Germany. Even then the Bicentenary was still celebrated but with an austerity enforced only by wartime conditions and the fact that many of our number were on active duty abroad. In 1925 the United Grand Lodge of England attained a much publicised record for the largest ever sit down meal, as more than 7,000 Freemasons sat down to dinner at Olympia in order to raise money for the Masonic Million Memorial Fund which paid for the building of the current Freemasons' Hall in London. Special trains were laid on to transport the members to the venue, who dined on five courses and coffee, served by 1,250 waitresses in just over an hour, music was provided by the band of the Welsh Guards. Unsurprisingly this was quite big news back then. In 1927, 6,000 Freemasons assembled in the RAH to witness a transmission of the ceremonial laying of the Foundation Stone, by the Grand Master, of the new hall to be built in Great Queen Street. In 1942 once again the UGLE was unable to carry out its plans for a celebration due to the fact that war had broken out again and it had also had to change the name of the building back to Freemasons' Hall from the beautiful Peace Memorial Hall that it had been so named in 1933. Even after the War when we had actually become more "private" in our dealings with non-Masons we were still out in the public eye. In 1967 the UGLE celebrated its 250th anniversary, I know this because I see the clock that was added (as part of the celebrations) to the Peace Memorial Tower of Freemasons Hall every morning as I walk into work. In 1992 (2 years before my Initiation so I missed it) the UGLE celebrated its 275th Anniversary with many events and jewels etc, much as this year. So I suppose what I'm trying to illustrate here is that you should not be feeling any adverse emotions about our celebratory year, as Grand Lodge is still doing what it has been doing for over a century and that there have been many solely Masonic (what I suspect you mean by solemn) celebratory functions this year and they will continue until the finish.
  9. This was the info from MetGL yesterday: Dear Brother Secretary, The Tercentenary Committee's broadcasting team and their provider SFLGroup have compiled a broadcast of the Royal Albert Hall Event held on the 31st October 2017. If you would be kind enough to forward this email to the members of your Lodge. The Broadcast The broadcast is available to stream directly to your device. You simply click on the link (www.RAH300.org) to view the video on your Laptop, phone or tablet devise. The streaming solution is intelligent so it will send you the correct type of video for the size of device you are watching it on. An edited version, lasting around 60 minutes, will be produced and it is likely this will be available after Wednesday, 11th November.
  10. TS&MN of TTALGMH

    Fair enough
  11. TS&MN of TTALGMH

    The attached are a couple of files that give a taster of what was confronting our members from the early 50s onward. You only have to remember that these were the supposedly "reasonable" voices to get a feel for what was going on in the Parishes with the Clergy and Laity. Antimasonry CoE 1950s - Rainsbury AW.pdf Antimasonry CoE 1950s.pdf
  12. TS&MN of TTALGMH

    Not your interests but the interests of the members of the HRA at the time, there was a witch hunt going on (which still continues today to a lesser extent), fuelled intially by the claims of Hannah and then stoked up all over again by Stephen Knight, within the Church against members of the Craft.
  13. TS&MN of TTALGMH

    I don't think I would describe the SGC moving to protect the personal interests of the vast majority of its members as "crumbling in the face of". The decision was taken to protect its members not (as "revisionists" would have us believe) to appease the Church of England. Somewhere I've got an article from an American Christian Journal spreading the same arguments made by (and citing Darkness Visible etc) Walton Hannah to American congregations. I'll post it when I can find it as I think you'll find it illuminating.
  14. You can on your PC, laptop, phone or tablet device by pre-registering at www.RAH300.org on or before 31 October 2017. The streaming solution is intelligent so it will send you the correct type of video for the size of device you are watching it on. When you register you will be asked for your: First name, Last name, Lodge name, Province, Email address and Telephone number. You will also be asked to tick the cookies box. When you have completed the form click register, you should then see a short video that confirms you will be able to watch the celebration. Option 1 – Live Viewing www.RAH300.org On the 31st October from around 4pm you will be able to watch the live stream from the Royal Albert Hall live on your chosen device. Option 2 – On Demand, after the event www.RAH300.org After the event you will be able to view the event on-demand and when it suits you, this is will be available three hours after the event finishes at the Royal Albert Hall. One week after the event an edited version will also be available to watch.
  15. help iding these would be greatfull

    They don't look particularly Masonic! Are there any engravings on the back?