Saturday, March 30, 2013

Initiation into St. Thomas of Acon

I was honored today to be initiated into Tahoma Chapel #30 of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon. I was the exemplar candidate and am humbled by the experience.

I, along with the other newly initiated, watched as to how elections and installation occurs within the Order, and I wish to give my best to the newly installed Worthy Master. After the meeting we had a nice dinner and some wine.

It was good to see all of my Brothers from Oregon and Washington, but I'm ready to relax. Now to finish some school work as Spring Break is coming to a close for me.


Earlier in the day Tahoma College #197, York Rite Sovereign College of North America, met and it was the first time I ever visited another College. It was nice to sit on the sidelines. Just as we did in the St. Thomas meeting, we had the three heads of the Washington York Rite in attendance along with the Grand Governor of Washington.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Templar Weekend

Saturday I had the honor of conferring the entire Order of the Temple as Eminent Commander upon several new Sir Knights. Along with myself, my Generalisimmo and a Commander from Northern Idaho performed the 5th Libation.

In the Order of the Red Cross, I am the High Priest and, in the Order of Malta, I am the Captain General or Marshall, depending on if another Sir Knight is there or not. Last fall I had done the 5th Libation, but today was the first time that I conferred the Order of the Temple in its entirety and I'm glad I have that down now. This weekend was interesting as some of my officers and cast members are officers of the Grand Lodge, which was doing a Cornerstone dedication the same day so we had to move casts around to ensure we had all the parts covered, but the Sir Knights performed admirably, and I thank each of them for their hard work.


Today my Commandery held its annual Easter Observance. I again had David Triplett as my speaker and no surprise he gave an excellent presentation. I'd also like to thank Lorna Lowe, the Royal Grand Matron of the Grand Court of Idaho, Order of the Amaranth, for playing piano. I had another great turnout by the Jobies and the DeMolay. After we cleaned up the room, a few of us went to a local brewery.


Now I'm ready for Spring Break and some relaxation.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Supreme Family in Idaho

Idaho had the pleasure of hosting the Supreme Guardian, Miss International Job's Daughter, and Supreme Bethel Honored Queen while they came through Boise. At their request the 6-Bethels in the Treasure Valley area came together for joint meetings; three on Monday and three on Wednesday.

Monday night, Bethels #6, #29, and #31 congregated at the Boise Masonic Temple. Bethel #6 opened, Bethel #29 (my Bethel) conducted the business portion to include presiding over the String of Pearls ceremony, and Bethel #31 closed using the Closing Cross formation with 30+ Daughters. The String of Pearls ceremony is a special ceremony dedicated to Mother Mick, the founder of Job's Daughters.

Remarks were given by many, including myself, but the Supreme Guardian gave an amazing speech.

Tonight (Wednesday), Bethels #5, #8, and #48 met at the Boise Scottish Rite Center. These Daughters and those who met on Monday did an amazing job and displayed the excellence of Job's Daughters in Idaho.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Northwest Regional Assembly

What a great weekend this was! Friday I along with 3 other Knights Companions drove up to Kennewick, WA, to attend the Northwest Regional Assembly of Conclaves of the Red Cross of Constantine (RCC). The trip went well and was much quicker than last weeks travel up to Olympia.

Last night we had a social hour and dinner, but it was this morning that I received the appendant orders of the RCC: Order of the Holy Sepulcher and Order of St. John the Evangelist. Both were amazing rituals and contained a great deal of symbolism that will give me plenty to research.

After the degrees were conferred a few of us went and sipped on some good Scotch, thank you Joe for that. I just finished with some more Scotch after the Banquet and now it's time for bed as we have an early start in the morning to head back to Boise.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Last Night I Knelt Where Hiram Knelt

By  Pat M. Armstrong

Last night I knelt where Hiram knelt
and took an obligation
today I'm closer to my God
and I'm a Master Mason

Tho' heretofore my fellow men
seemed each one like the other
today I search each one apart
I'm looking for my brother  

And as I feel his friendly grip
it fills my heart with pride
I know that while I'm on the square
that he is by my side

His footsteps on my errand go
if I should such require:
His prayers will lead in my behalf
if I should so desire

My words are safe within his breast
as though within my own
his hand forever at my back
to help me safely home

Good counsel whispers in my ear
and warns of any danger
By square and compass, Brother now!
Who once would call me stranger

I might have lived a moral life
and risen to distinction
Without my Brothers helping hand
and fellowship of Masons

But God, who knows how hard it is
to resist life's temptations
knows why I knelt where Hiram knelt
and took that obligation.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Initiated into the Knight Masons

Well today I was initiated into the Order of Knight Masons of the USA. The Order of Knight Masons are often referred to as the Green Degrees of Freemasonry.

There is no Knight Masons in Idaho so I was invited to join Clontarf Council #69 which is in Washington. Originally I was going to ride with the Brother who had nominated me, but he got sick so I decided to drive by myself up to Olympia. Most of the trip was fine until I was around The Dalles (about an hour East of Portland) when my battery light came on. I stopped by an O'Reilly's Auto shop and got a new battery. I thought all was well and good, but a few hours later when I was just South of Olympia the battery light came back on and my engine started acting funny so I pulled over. I tried to take off, but then my truck wouldn't shift up in gears so I pulled back over and shut off my engine. When I tried to turn it back on it acted like the battery was dead; I think the entire time it was a bad alternator. I was tired and irritated so I gave up and called for Roadside Assistance who towed me to my hotel. Part of me thinks I should have flown up to Seattle and taken a rental car down to Olympia.

This morning came too soon and one of the local Brothers and member of the Knight Masons came and picked me up. While preparations were being made for the ceremony and lunch, I sat around with the other four candidates present.


After lunch the degrees started where I was initiated into the 3-degrees, that of Knight of the Sword (communicated), Knight of the East, and Knight of the East & West. As I talked about in my post on the Knight Masons, these degrees surround the character Zerubbabel.


I'd like to thank the Excellent Chief and his officers for conferring these degrees on me. I enjoyed the ceremony and the fellowship. Now it's time for some dinner and to get my truck fixed.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Happy Sesquicentennial Idaho

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the creation of Idaho.

State leaders such as Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter are conducting a public ceremony right now at the Capitol building. This ceremony will kick off a year long celebration for the Gem state.

According to State Historian Keith Peterson, President Lincoln signed the Act of Congress creating the Idaho territory after gold had been found and Congress wanted to use the gold to pay for costs associated with the Civil War. Idaho would be a territory for 27-years until President Benjamin Harrison signed the Congressional act establishing Idaho as the 43rd State on July 3rd, 1890. Both Lincoln and Harrison are commemorated in Idaho; Lincoln County and Harrison Boulevard in Boise.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Father of the Cryptic Rite

Jeremy Ladd-Cross is not as well-known as Thomas Smith-Webb, but played such a role in the combining and expansion of the Cryptic degrees that he is commonly referred to as the Father of the Cryptic Rite.

Cross was born in Haverhill, NH, on June 27th, 1783. As a boy, he moved to Portsmouth to become an apprentice to a journeyman hatter. Although he traveled quite a bit, he became a Mason in Portsmouth at St. John's Lodge in 1807. On November 1, 1813, he received from the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire a certificate qualifying him as a Lecturer in Masonic ritual. In this Lodge he would serve as Junior Deacon before demitting.

On March 15, 1815, Cross was exalted as a Royal Arch mason in St. Albans, VT, which added to his repertoire of the degree he could teach and lecture on. Lecturers were known sometimes as degree peddlers as they would accumulate as many degrees as they could and in turn would confer them freely. According to the General Grand Council, "Thus, one of the possible ways Cross obtained the Royal Master Degree was on August 5, 1815 when he was in Hopkinton, NH visiting the newly organized Tyrian Council of Royal Masters, which had received the degree from Benjamin Gleason, who had probably received the degree from Thomas Lowndes in New York City." Degree peddling though was an accepted practice in the 19th century and is one of the principle reasons Freemasonry expanded as the nation expanded in that time.

In 1816, he would move to Providence, RI, where he would become associated with Webb and later a pupil of Webb. Even though he did not have a formal education, he was known for his amazing memory and would become a great lecturer, particularly on Webb's work which is based on William Preston. Webb is most known by his famous monitor where he formed a uniform ritual that most jurisdictions practice today.

While traveling through Baltimore, he received the degree of Select Master from Philip Eckel who he had previously met in New York at a meeting of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. With this conferral he then had the authority of conferring all the Capitular degrees as the Cryptic degrees were then usually controlled by the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. After departing Maryland he leaves a trail of appearances in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Mississippi, and Louisiana. By the Spring of 1817 though he was back in Baltimore and received from Eckel the authority to charter and officially organize Councils of Select Master. It was in New Haven, Connecticut, that he would affiliate with Hiram Lodge #1 and later serve as Illustrious Master for Harmony Council for 8-years. He would then travel and establish Councils throughout New England while visiting the various states. It was thought that Cross stayed many years in Connecticut since this state was a beacon for Masonry during the time when Masonry lost favor in the fallout of the Morgan Affair.

The exact date that he started teaching both the degrees Royal Master and Select Master in a Council is not known, but there is an excerpt from his diary from March 21, 1818, that he conferred both degrees to Companions in Middletown, CT. He spent much of his time in Connecticut and established many Councils here and in October 1818, while at the Grand Chapter meeting, made the recommendation that the following year the Councils meet to form a Grand Council which would be established to govern and regulate the Councils and ritual under its jurisdiction. In Templar circles 1818 was also an important year for Cross. In September he had visited Providence, was 'healed' in St. Johns Commandery and received the Order of Red Cross. In October he affiliated with Washington Commandery at a meeting in New London.

On May 18, 1819, twenty-two Companions met in Hartford, CT. The convention was called to order by Companion Talcott Wolcott, Illustrious Master of the Hartford Council and Lymna Law (Grand High Priest of Connecticut) was selected as Chairman and John Gannett as Secretary to preside over the establishment of the Grand Council of Select Masters. The next day a Constitution was presented and adopted outlining the government of the organization, established the powers of the Grand Council, the duties of the Councils, and the regulation by which fees and new charters would be established. In one of its articles it established that both the degrees of Royal and Select Masters would be covered by the fees of initiation. It should be noted that Cross was not recorded to be present at this assembly.

In his travels around September 1819, Cross came upon John Snow of Baltimore who he empowered to further establish Councils of Royal and Select masters in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. Snow and Cross stayed good friends, and Cross wrote Snow asking him of his opinion on many Masonic matters. Aside from Snow, John Barker was another pupil of Cross, who moved to Charleston, SC, and further disseminated the Cryptic degrees in the South.

Cross is also noted for publishing, what he called the first True Masonic Chart as well as the Templar Chart in 1821. These charts did not print any secrets, but rather highlighted particular Biblical passages, symbols, and portions of the Lectures. This chart was extremely popular and used by Grand Lodges to ensure the constituent Lodges practiced a uniform ritual in a time that ritual work was chaotic. He became so busy with his charts and other Masonic furniture that he gave up most of his lecturing. He would eventually move north to New York then back to Haverhill where he would pass away as a bachelor on January 26, 1860. His gravestone memorializes him as a "Right Worshipful Grand Lecturer" and features an emblem of the 33rd degree of the Scottish Rite. It is not known exactly where he received the degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, but it is believed have occurred while in Connecticut and he was acknowledged by the Consistory in New Orleans.

Reference

1. Case, J. R. (1958). Jeremy Ladd Cross. Retrieved from Phoenix Masonry: http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/jeremy_ladd_cross.htm

2. Eppler, R. A. (2010). The Origin of the Cryptic Degrees - Part IV. (General Grand Council, Cryptic Masons International) Retrieved from The Cryptic Freemason: http://www.ggccmi.org/NewsletterArchive/2010-Winter-CFM-Web.pdf

3. Eppler, R. A. (2011). The Origin of the Cryptic Degrees - Part V. (General Grand Council, Cryptic Masons International) Retrieved from The Cryptic Freemason: http://www.ggccmi.org/NewsletterArchive/2011-Spring-CFM-Web.pdf

4. Snow, R. D. (1984, October 12). Notes On Jeremy Ladd Cross. Retrieved from New England Lodge #4 of Ohio: http://www.newengland4.org/Documents/Jeremy%20Ladd%20Cross2.pdf

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Today marks the birth of one of the greatest creative minds and one of my all-time favorite authors, Dr. Seuss.

He published 46 children's books that were characterized by extremely imaginative characters, rhymes, and use of anapestic meter (characterized by two short syllables followed by a long one). Some of the most well-known of these books are Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hears a Who!, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and, my favorite, Oh, the Places You'll Go.


Born on this day in 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel would become to be known as a beloved American writer, poet, and cartoonist. He was mostly known for his children's books written under the pseudonym "Dr. Seuss"; he also used the names Theo LeSieg, Rosetta Stone. He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Theodor Robert Geisel and Henrietta (Seuss) Geisel. It was a street his grandparents lived on in his hometown that inspired the name for his first children's book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street! After graduating from Springfield Central High School he attended Dartmouth College. In college he joined the Sigma Phi Epsilon (ΣΦΕ) and the humor magazine Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern (he'd eventually become editor-in-chief). It was during his collegiate career that he started to use the pseudonym "Seuss" as he was forced to quit his extracurricular activities after caught drinking in his room during Prohibition.

After graduating from Dartmouth he attended Oxford University in England, where he intended to earn a Doctorate of Philosophy in English literature with the intent of employment as a professor afterward. It was here that he would meet his future wife, Helen who would encourage him to draw and write. They married in 1927 and they would return to the United States without his earning his intended degree. Once home he began submitting humorous articles and illustrations to Judge, Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty publications. It was in 1927 that he started using the pseudonym "Dr. Theophrastus Seuss" which would be shortened to "Dr. Seuss" in 1928.

He became famous from his advertisements for Flit (a common insecticide at that time) where he used the slogan "Quick, Henry, the Flit!" He drew advertisements for General Electric, NBC, Holly Sugar, Ford, Standard Oil, and many other companies through which he was able to support himself and his wife through the Great Depression.

In 1937 while on an ocean voyage to Europe, he wrote his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street!, which would be rejected several times. The number varies as to how many times it is rejected, but it somewhere around 25-30.

As the United States entered World War II Geisel turned his attention to political cartoons where he drew over 400 cartoons in two years for the left-leaning NYC daily newspaper, PM. Later a book would be published called Dr. Seuss Goes to War which contained many more cartoons, most of which denounced Hitler, Mussolini, and American isolationists. His cartoons were strongly supportive of FDR and his handling of the war. In 1942 he would start to work for the US government to support the war effort; first with the Treasury Department and then he would commission as Captain for the US Army where he was placed in charge of the Animation Department of the 1st Motion Picture Unit.

After World War II ended, he moved to La Jolla, California, and returned to writing children's books. Over the next decade he'd write If I Ran the Zoo, Horton Hears a Who!, If I Ran the Circus, The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Green Eggs and Ham.

Many things inspired and influenced the writings of Dr. Seuss. He credits his mother for his ability and desire to create rhymes as she would sooth her children to sleep by chanting the rhymes she remembered from her youth. Another such inspiration was the May 1954 Life magazine article, Why Johnny Can’t Read, which discussed the illiteracy among school children and stated that children were not learning to read because the books were so boring. A friend and publisher of Seuss challenged him to write a book using less 250 words that could be recognized by 1st graders. Seuss met the challenge and published a book using only 236 words which would become to be known as The Cat in the Hat. This book was described as follows:
It retained the drawing style, verse rhythms, and all the imaginative power of Geisel's earlier works, but because of its simplified vocabulary, it could be read by beginning readers.
In 1960, Bennett Cerf, co-founder of Random House publishing, bet Seuss that he could not write a book using "fifty or fewer distinct words." Cerf lost the bet when Seuss came out with the famous book Green Eggs and Ham.

Fun fact, Dr. Seuss is credited with the first recorded instance of the word “nerd” in If I Ran the Zoo, published in 1950.


From the emotional troubles from battling health problems, losing loved ones, and other trials in her life, Helen sadly committed suicide on October 23rd, 1967. Seuss would remarry a woman by the name of Audrey, but they would never have kids; he is quoted as saying "You have 'em, I'll entertain 'em."

Dr. Seuss died of throat cancer on September 24th, 1991, at his home in La Jolla at the age of 87.

"I miss him terribly—there will never be another Dr. Seuss."
Janet Schulman, Random House


Dr. Seuss is still remembered and memorialized with honors even after his death. The University of California, San Diego's University Library building was renamed "Geisel Library" on December 1st, 1995. In 2002, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden was opened in his hometown which features sculptures of Dr. Seuss and many of his famous characters. On December 15th, 2008, Dr. Seuss was inducted into the California Hall of Fame by Governor Schwarzenegger. On April 4, 2012, the Dartmouth Medical School renamed itself the Audrey and Theodor Geisel School of Medicine in honor of their many years of generosity to the college. His honors also include a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an Oscar, two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Peabody, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, the Pulitzer Prize, and honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Dartmouth.

Dr. Seuss wrote not only to get kids to write, but inspire them to think and imagine. I leave you with some of my favorite quotes of Dr. Seuss


"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."


“You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!”

References

1. All About Dr. Seuss. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dr. Seuss National Memorial: http://www.catinthehat.org/history.htm

2. Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Art of Dr. Seuss: http://www.drseussart.com/biography.html


3. Dr. Seuss. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Seuss


4. Dr. Seuss Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved from Best Book For Kids: http://www.best-books-for-kids.com/dr-seuss-facts.html

5. Evans, J. R. (2012, Feburary 27). 10 Surprising Facts About Dr. Seuss You May Not Know. Retrieved from Cafe Mom: http://thestir.cafemom.com/toddler/133668/10_surprising_facts_about_dr

6. Hiskey, D. (2011, May 24). Dr. Seuss Wrote “Green Eggs and Ham” on a Bet that He Couldn’t Write a Book with 50 or Fewer Words. Retrieved from Today I Found Out: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/05/dr-seuss-wrote-green-eggs-and-ham-on-a-bet-that-he-couldnt-write-a-book-with-50-or-fewer-words/

7. Landin, K. (n.d.). 15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Dr. Seuss. Retrieved from The FW: http://thefw.com/things-you-didnt-know-about-dr-seuss/

Friday, March 1, 2013

March Masonic Madness

This month is going to be a busy, busy month for me in Masonry! Outside of my normal Lodge, Scottish Rite, York Rite, and Eastern Star schedule I have some extra activities and travels.

On the first weekend I will attend my monthly Army National Guard drill and I have gone back to my original Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), and will be jumping right into the fire of an Intelligence Exercise.

On the 9th I will be traveling to Olympia, WA, to receive the Orders of the Knight Masons. The next weekend I travel up to Kennewick, WA, to receive the Order of the Holy Sepulcher and Order of Saint John the Evangelist in the Red Cross of Constantine.

From the 18th through the 20th, the Supreme Grand Guardians and their entourage will be coming to Boise. My Bethel will be one of those hosting them and I am very excited to meet them.

On the 23rd, I will preside for the first time over the conferring of the Chivalric Orders for new Sir Knights. The next day my Commandery is holding its annual Easter Observance. Lastly, on the 30th I will be back up to Federal Way, Washington, to be initiated into the Commemorative Order of Saint Thomas of Acon.

This month will be fun, but I'm going to be busy.