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Given my current lack of income, I can't justify buying this myself, so I may as well signal-boost -- I was just told about a copy of Mackey's History of Freemasonry, on sale on eBay at the moment. Seven volumes, purportedly in near-pristine condition.

Looks beautiful, but I shouldn't spend $150 at the moment. But I'm happy to be a pusher to any of the brethren who, like me, enjoy the history of the Craft...
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Before I forget: as previously mentioned, we had three candidates for the Third Degree this past Thursday. Overall, it went well, if rather inefficiently -- we didn't get to dinner until about 8pm, and didn't start the second section (the meat of the degree) until almost 9pm. There are things we need to work on -- in particular, I need to get more hard-assed about *everybody* showing up for rehearsal, and how things work with three candidates (the Stewards, who normally have little to do, are much more important when there are three) -- but I don't think the candidates noticed most of the rough edges. The Past Masters all did a good solid job, and (blessedly) restrained themselves from shouting out corrections to each others' lines. (I was a bit worried -- it's a common bad habit.)

I did give the Candian Charge, as planned; if I do say so myself, it rocked. I gave the preamble, then had them drop the lights so that the main light was the spot on the candidates kneeling at the altar, plus a few other small strategic lights around the room. I started out midway between the altar and East, so I was in semi-darkness, and gradually approached them, verse by verse, so I was right at the other side of the altar for Verse 7. Matching that, I played with tone a bit: calm and friendly at the beginning, with a very slow crescendo in Verses 3-6, then back down to *very* quiet for the final one, which is directed straight at the candidates. As I hoped, they gave the "Never" in Verse 7 without needing any more prompt than a raised eyebrow, meaning that I'd drawn them in properly.

*Quite* a lot of fun: there are few things I enjoy more than blurring the lines between ritual and acting. I'll have to do that bit again sometime.

For those who were interested (and for my own records), here's the final form of the charge, as I actually gave it. This has a few additional tweaks beyond the version I posted a few weeks ago, and worked well.
On Yonder Book, with Preamble )
jducoeur: (Default)
Before I forget: as previously mentioned, we had three candidates for the Third Degree this past Thursday. Overall, it went well, if rather inefficiently -- we didn't get to dinner until about 8pm, and didn't start the second section (the meat of the degree) until almost 9pm. There are things we need to work on -- in particular, I need to get more hard-assed about *everybody* showing up for rehearsal, and how things work with three candidates (the Stewards, who normally have little to do, are much more important when there are three) -- but I don't think the candidates noticed most of the rough edges. The Past Masters all did a good solid job, and (blessedly) restrained themselves from shouting out corrections to each others' lines. (I was a bit worried -- it's a common bad habit.)

I did give the Candian Charge, as planned; if I do say so myself, it rocked. I gave the preamble, then had them drop the lights so that the main light was the spot on the candidates kneeling at the altar, plus a few other small strategic lights around the room. I started out midway between the altar and East, so I was in semi-darkness, and gradually approached them, verse by verse, so I was right at the other side of the altar for Verse 7. Matching that, I played with tone a bit: calm and friendly at the beginning, with a very slow crescendo in Verses 3-6, then back down to *very* quiet for the final one, which is directed straight at the candidates. As I hoped, they gave the "Never" in Verse 7 without needing any more prompt than a raised eyebrow, meaning that I'd drawn them in properly.

*Quite* a lot of fun: there are few things I enjoy more than blurring the lines between ritual and acting. I'll have to do that bit again sometime.

For those who were interested (and for my own records), here's the final form of the charge, as I actually gave it. This has a few additional tweaks beyond the version I posted a few weeks ago, and worked well.
On Yonder Book, with Preamble )
jducoeur: (Default)
As I work up the Canadian Charge for Lodge next week (the first new text I've learning for Lodge in years), I'm reminded of one of the basic principles of learning ritual, which I note is the same as the basic Flylady principle for housecleaning: a little at a time is the way to get the job done.

One mistake that many people make in learning ritual (as with so many things) is impatience. They try to do it all at once in a big binge. It doesn't usually work for cleaning up, and it never works (for most people, anyway) for learning lines -- you wind up intimidated by the scope of the problem, then frustrated, and then you psych yourself out of making any progress at all. It becomes scary, and fear always hampers getting things done.

By contrast, the usual Flylady principle of "a little at a time" works really well for working up ritual. You don't worry too much about making huge leaps -- instead, you just focus on getting a little better each time you do it. The first week is just reading through it repeatedly and saying it out loud as you do so. The second, trying to look away from the page as much as you can, but not worrying about looking back as often as you need to. By the third, you're most of the way there, just tripping over some words here and there. And by the fourth, it's mostly just a daily reminder, sharpening and figuring out where to put the pauses and changed in intonation.

Of course, this all requires starting early enough, and having the discipline to *do* a bit every day, giving it the 10-15 minutes needed to make progress. But those are preconditions to doing anything complex and interesting...
jducoeur: (Default)
As I work up the Canadian Charge for Lodge next week (the first new text I've learning for Lodge in years), I'm reminded of one of the basic principles of learning ritual, which I note is the same as the basic Flylady principle for housecleaning: a little at a time is the way to get the job done.

One mistake that many people make in learning ritual (as with so many things) is impatience. They try to do it all at once in a big binge. It doesn't usually work for cleaning up, and it never works (for most people, anyway) for learning lines -- you wind up intimidated by the scope of the problem, then frustrated, and then you psych yourself out of making any progress at all. It becomes scary, and fear always hampers getting things done.

By contrast, the usual Flylady principle of "a little at a time" works really well for working up ritual. You don't worry too much about making huge leaps -- instead, you just focus on getting a little better each time you do it. The first week is just reading through it repeatedly and saying it out loud as you do so. The second, trying to look away from the page as much as you can, but not worrying about looking back as often as you need to. By the third, you're most of the way there, just tripping over some words here and there. And by the fourth, it's mostly just a daily reminder, sharpening and figuring out where to put the pauses and changed in intonation.

Of course, this all requires starting early enough, and having the discipline to *do* a bit every day, giving it the 10-15 minutes needed to make progress. But those are preconditions to doing anything complex and interesting...
jducoeur: (Default)
This month's Lodge meeting is going to be the Third Degree -- we're raising three brethren to the status of Master Mason. It's always a big deal, and as so often, my Lodge is doing it as a Past Masters Night: instead of the usual line of officers, the ritual will be performed by past Masters of the Lodge. As Ritualist, my main task is going to be herding the cats on rehearsal night (which I expect to be no small trick, given that many of these guys are thirty years older than me), but I am of course also going to take part.

For a change, though, I'm not doing any part of the ritual itself -- instead, I'm going to deliver the Charge. This is a speech given to the newly-elevated brethren, extolling their new status and charging them to walk uprightly as Masons. There's no set ritual for the Charge: often, it's just an extempore speech. But for years now, I've been looking for an opportunity to deliver the so-called "Canadian Charge", which one of the old past Masters of the Lodge, Carl Atlas, used to give. It's a poem, typically delivered with the lights down, and done well it can be ferociously dramatic.

[Digression: I just turned off the television, which had been playing the weather reports. It just switched over to Days of Our Lives, whose introduction always amuses me, because it is so screamingly Masonic: the sand-through-the-hourglass metaphor for life is one of the better speeches in the Third Degree.]

Anyway, I didn't have a copy of the Canadian Charge to hand, so I went online to look for it: there are no secrets contained therein, so I figured, correctly, that I could find it. What I hadn't expected was that I found half-a-dozen copies of it -- all different. They're all recognizably the same poem, but under several different names, with no two quite alike. They don't even agree in case: some are first person, some second. Some have six verses, some seven.

After staring at them for the past week, I just sat down and started to hybridize: if there is no One True Answer, I may as well pick and choose the bits I like. I started with the version from Lawrenceville Lodge, mixed in some bits from Phoenix Masonry, adjusted a bit from Ed Halpaus' excellent historical essay, and a few further tweaks from the Iowa Masonic Library. I'm still contemplating whether to include the elegant preamble from Warren Lodge (whose version is otherwise identical to the original Lawrenceville version).

I'm still tweaking and tuning, but it's starting to sound right: the scansion is improving, the mouthfeel of the words is getting smoother, and I'm picking and choosing the details of the symbolism. (A word changed here and there can radically change the meaning of a version.) I've included the fifth verse (missing from several versions), and the line in verse six that is missing from the Lawrenceville and Warren versions (and which is necessary to make the verses line up right poetically).

For those who are interested, here's my current working draft:
On Yonder Book, version 27C )
jducoeur: (Default)
This month's Lodge meeting is going to be the Third Degree -- we're raising three brethren to the status of Master Mason. It's always a big deal, and as so often, my Lodge is doing it as a Past Masters Night: instead of the usual line of officers, the ritual will be performed by past Masters of the Lodge. As Ritualist, my main task is going to be herding the cats on rehearsal night (which I expect to be no small trick, given that many of these guys are thirty years older than me), but I am of course also going to take part.

For a change, though, I'm not doing any part of the ritual itself -- instead, I'm going to deliver the Charge. This is a speech given to the newly-elevated brethren, extolling their new status and charging them to walk uprightly as Masons. There's no set ritual for the Charge: often, it's just an extempore speech. But for years now, I've been looking for an opportunity to deliver the so-called "Canadian Charge", which one of the old past Masters of the Lodge, Carl Atlas, used to give. It's a poem, typically delivered with the lights down, and done well it can be ferociously dramatic.

[Digression: I just turned off the television, which had been playing the weather reports. It just switched over to Days of Our Lives, whose introduction always amuses me, because it is so screamingly Masonic: the sand-through-the-hourglass metaphor for life is one of the better speeches in the Third Degree.]

Anyway, I didn't have a copy of the Canadian Charge to hand, so I went online to look for it: there are no secrets contained therein, so I figured, correctly, that I could find it. What I hadn't expected was that I found half-a-dozen copies of it -- all different. They're all recognizably the same poem, but under several different names, with no two quite alike. They don't even agree in case: some are first person, some second. Some have six verses, some seven.

After staring at them for the past week, I just sat down and started to hybridize: if there is no One True Answer, I may as well pick and choose the bits I like. I started with the version from Lawrenceville Lodge, mixed in some bits from Phoenix Masonry, adjusted a bit from Ed Halpaus' excellent historical essay, and a few further tweaks from the Iowa Masonic Library. I'm still contemplating whether to include the elegant preamble from Warren Lodge (whose version is otherwise identical to the original Lawrenceville version).

I'm still tweaking and tuning, but it's starting to sound right: the scansion is improving, the mouthfeel of the words is getting smoother, and I'm picking and choosing the details of the symbolism. (A word changed here and there can radically change the meaning of a version.) I've included the fifth verse (missing from several versions), and the line in verse six that is missing from the Lawrenceville and Warren versions (and which is necessary to make the verses line up right poetically).

For those who are interested, here's my current working draft:
On Yonder Book, version 27C )
jducoeur: (Default)
The news of the day is that MIT is suing architect Frank Gehry, because -- shock, surprise -- it turns out that Stada Center is badly designed. I could have told them that years ago.

Yes, yes -- the problem isn't that the building is ugly, it's that it is actually disfunctional. But y'know, those aren't unrelated. The rules of architecture were developed for good reason, and casting them (not to mention common sense) aside in the name of Art is always a bit dangerous...
jducoeur: (Default)
The news of the day is that MIT is suing architect Frank Gehry, because -- shock, surprise -- it turns out that Stada Center is badly designed. I could have told them that years ago.

Yes, yes -- the problem isn't that the building is ugly, it's that it is actually disfunctional. But y'know, those aren't unrelated. The rules of architecture were developed for good reason, and casting them (not to mention common sense) aside in the name of Art is always a bit dangerous...
jducoeur: (Default)
Since I know some other esoterically-minded Masons read my LJ, and some may be local: there's a new community on LJ, called [livejournal.com profile] argamon, which is focused on the creation of a new Masonic Study Club in eastern MA. Basically, the notion is to start off with a club to talk about esoterica, with the explicit goal of eventually graduating to a formal traditional-observance Lodge when it has the necessary critical mass. It's the sort of thing that might just get me actually interested in Masonry again. If you also think the idea is interesting, I recommend joining the community and getting involved...
jducoeur: (Default)
Since I know some other esoterically-minded Masons read my LJ, and some may be local: there's a new community on LJ, called [livejournal.com profile] argamon, which is focused on the creation of a new Masonic Study Club in eastern MA. Basically, the notion is to start off with a club to talk about esoterica, with the explicit goal of eventually graduating to a formal traditional-observance Lodge when it has the necessary critical mass. It's the sort of thing that might just get me actually interested in Masonry again. If you also think the idea is interesting, I recommend joining the community and getting involved...
jducoeur: (Default)
Just got home from the Lodge Merger Meeting. Hammatt Ocean and Seaview Lodges have subsumed themselves into Mt. Tabor Lodge. In pretty much every respect this is a good thing (certainly it was much needed), but it's an occasion for reflection.

The new Lodge is much stronger in several respects -- it has a respectable number of active members again, and enough money that we're probably not going to pay for dinner ever again. But most importantly, it has a much younger line, with only a few retreads (past Masters doing line offices again). And I'm not one of them: for the first time in the fifteen years or so that I've been a Mason, I'm not an active officer. I'm glad that we've got new guys coming up into the line -- we've got several young guys, including our new Senior Steward, who was only raised two days ago -- and it's probably better for me personally (since I'm trying to recover from my overall burnout). But it does feel damned weird being on the sidelines.

That said, I do still have one office, if not one of the official ones: I continue to be Ritualist For Life. (The deal that I made in order to never be Master of the Lodge again.) Now that that is my only office, I think it's time to focus on doing it well. Heaven knows, my SCA students have been teaching me a lot about how to teach, and while I still have a long ways to go there, I'm getting better. Time to apply some of that on the Lodge side. We've been getting sloppy in recent years, and that's hurt us in many ways. Now, I think everyone is motivated to start doing it well again, and it's going to fall substantially to me to help that happen.

Still and all, it does feel like the passing of a phase of life. I realized this morning that I was both the first and last Senior Warden of Hammatt Ocean Lodge, the way we had the same guys just changing seats so much. I suppose that, all by itself, summarizes the lodge's biggest problem. I won't be a constant officer in the new Lodge, but if that is because we have new guys coming in and taking it on, that's for the best. I can view my time as official pinch-hit officer as spent holding the door open, until someone was prepared to come in...
jducoeur: (Default)
Just got home from the Lodge Merger Meeting. Hammatt Ocean and Seaview Lodges have subsumed themselves into Mt. Tabor Lodge. In pretty much every respect this is a good thing (certainly it was much needed), but it's an occasion for reflection.

The new Lodge is much stronger in several respects -- it has a respectable number of active members again, and enough money that we're probably not going to pay for dinner ever again. But most importantly, it has a much younger line, with only a few retreads (past Masters doing line offices again). And I'm not one of them: for the first time in the fifteen years or so that I've been a Mason, I'm not an active officer. I'm glad that we've got new guys coming up into the line -- we've got several young guys, including our new Senior Steward, who was only raised two days ago -- and it's probably better for me personally (since I'm trying to recover from my overall burnout). But it does feel damned weird being on the sidelines.

That said, I do still have one office, if not one of the official ones: I continue to be Ritualist For Life. (The deal that I made in order to never be Master of the Lodge again.) Now that that is my only office, I think it's time to focus on doing it well. Heaven knows, my SCA students have been teaching me a lot about how to teach, and while I still have a long ways to go there, I'm getting better. Time to apply some of that on the Lodge side. We've been getting sloppy in recent years, and that's hurt us in many ways. Now, I think everyone is motivated to start doing it well again, and it's going to fall substantially to me to help that happen.

Still and all, it does feel like the passing of a phase of life. I realized this morning that I was both the first and last Senior Warden of Hammatt Ocean Lodge, the way we had the same guys just changing seats so much. I suppose that, all by itself, summarizes the lodge's biggest problem. I won't be a constant officer in the new Lodge, but if that is because we have new guys coming in and taking it on, that's for the best. I can view my time as official pinch-hit officer as spent holding the door open, until someone was prepared to come in...
jducoeur: (Default)
Tonight was a relatively long Lodge meeting. Haven't been to one in a while (we take the summer off, and I missed September), so there was much news to prompt thought. The following is long, mostly because I'm going to spell out what's going on in detail rather than the usual jargon and shorthand, in case some non-Masons are curious.

The big news of the evening was that we are probably merging and moving. Now, I have to explain the "merge" thing for SCAdians, who might not understand the situation. Masonry, unlike the SCA, has no geographic exclusivity -- you can have many branches in the same location. In fact, it's routine to have several lodges meeting in the same *building*. That may seem odd to those who are used to the neat patchwork of the Society, but it has its advantages: in particular, it means that you can have several Lodges with distinct characters. And it's important for an organization where admission to a Lodge requires unanimous approval. (For instance, my Lodge was originally founded as The Jewish Lodge, back in the days when that was an issue: when the WASPs all blackballed them, they simply worked around it.)

So the vast number of Lodges made sense, back in the days when we had probably ten thousand active members just in the immediate Boston area. But now that that's dropped to maybe a thousand (and probably less), it becomes a real problem. We're very fractured, with dozens of Lodges in the area, most of which can only scrape together maybe 1-2 dozen active participants. So merging becomes crucial.

The scuttlebutt has it that we'll be doing what we should have done ten years ago: the surviving Lodges of the old Boston 3rd Masonic District are merging together in a 3-way join. That's less useful than it would have been back then -- we're taking three Lodges that are just barely holding it together, and will wind up with something that is probably just barely healthy. It would be better if we could manage to fuse six or seven together, and get a single Lodge that was really solid, but that's politically infeasible. So we'll do what we can.

Hammatt Ocean and Seaview will be subsumed into Mt. Tabor, because the latter is the oldest of the three (just barely), and Masonry is a great respecter of seniority. There's some annoyance that we're not merging with Mt. Scopus (another friendly Lodge) instead; that has entirely to do with the need to move.

You have to understand, Masonic Lodges have real problems when it comes to meeting space. Unlike an SCA group, which can easily meet almost anywhere, a Masonic Lodge really wants a custom-designed space, complete with altar, lights, seats surrounding the main floor, big chairs in the right places, and preferably an organ. (For extra style points, a pipe organ.) So you can't just use a college classroom and be happy with it. The result is that some Lodges own buildings, and those have both advantages and disadvantages.

The thing with Mt. Scopus is that, while they'd be lovely to merge with, they own 1/3 of the Masonic building in downtown Malden. Now, Malden is not exactly an ideal location for us. It's hideously inconvenient for most active members of our Lodge to get to, since most of us are in the northern suburbs. And parking sucks Sharp Flinty Acid-Covered Rocks. So, since Scopus is tied to Malden, and most folks don't want to go to Malden, that particular merge doesn't look like it's going to happen. Instead, it looks like the newly-merged Mt. Tabor, which doesn't own any property, is going to move to Wakefield, since our current building in Saugus is on the market to be sold. (Presumably to someone who will rip out all the lovely Masonic paraphernalia and turn it into condos or something.)

So lots of complexities in Lodge. We'll see how it works out, but it at least means a slightly healthier Lodge, in a location that's about ten minutes closer to my house, so it's at least a mild win from my perspective.

A bit of melancholy for the evening: tonight was the Annual Meeting, where all the business reports get read off, and it's the first since Milton Locke died. Milty has been reading the Trustees' Report since -- oh, probably before I was born, and everyone found themselves missing his particular bombast. The past few years have been kind of unique: since Milty was starting to slow down and forget things mentally, he had developed a bad habit of reading through the report one page at a time, moving each page to the back after he had read it, and simply failing to stop when he reached the end and got back to the first page again. (At least once, we had to stop him when he started the third iteration and we realized he might just keep looping.) In Milty's honor, Jimmy Goodwin said what I was thinking, and suggested that we should read the whole report over again.

On the more clearly plus side, we got applications for two new members today, to take the degrees and become Masons. This is delightful, but it was disconcerting to realize that it's been so long since this last happened that several of the officers no longer remembered how to run a ballot. Well, hopefully these two new members will enjoy themselves enough to become active...
jducoeur: (Default)
Tonight was a relatively long Lodge meeting. Haven't been to one in a while (we take the summer off, and I missed September), so there was much news to prompt thought. The following is long, mostly because I'm going to spell out what's going on in detail rather than the usual jargon and shorthand, in case some non-Masons are curious.

The big news of the evening was that we are probably merging and moving. Now, I have to explain the "merge" thing for SCAdians, who might not understand the situation. Masonry, unlike the SCA, has no geographic exclusivity -- you can have many branches in the same location. In fact, it's routine to have several lodges meeting in the same *building*. That may seem odd to those who are used to the neat patchwork of the Society, but it has its advantages: in particular, it means that you can have several Lodges with distinct characters. And it's important for an organization where admission to a Lodge requires unanimous approval. (For instance, my Lodge was originally founded as The Jewish Lodge, back in the days when that was an issue: when the WASPs all blackballed them, they simply worked around it.)

So the vast number of Lodges made sense, back in the days when we had probably ten thousand active members just in the immediate Boston area. But now that that's dropped to maybe a thousand (and probably less), it becomes a real problem. We're very fractured, with dozens of Lodges in the area, most of which can only scrape together maybe 1-2 dozen active participants. So merging becomes crucial.

The scuttlebutt has it that we'll be doing what we should have done ten years ago: the surviving Lodges of the old Boston 3rd Masonic District are merging together in a 3-way join. That's less useful than it would have been back then -- we're taking three Lodges that are just barely holding it together, and will wind up with something that is probably just barely healthy. It would be better if we could manage to fuse six or seven together, and get a single Lodge that was really solid, but that's politically infeasible. So we'll do what we can.

Hammatt Ocean and Seaview will be subsumed into Mt. Tabor, because the latter is the oldest of the three (just barely), and Masonry is a great respecter of seniority. There's some annoyance that we're not merging with Mt. Scopus (another friendly Lodge) instead; that has entirely to do with the need to move.

You have to understand, Masonic Lodges have real problems when it comes to meeting space. Unlike an SCA group, which can easily meet almost anywhere, a Masonic Lodge really wants a custom-designed space, complete with altar, lights, seats surrounding the main floor, big chairs in the right places, and preferably an organ. (For extra style points, a pipe organ.) So you can't just use a college classroom and be happy with it. The result is that some Lodges own buildings, and those have both advantages and disadvantages.

The thing with Mt. Scopus is that, while they'd be lovely to merge with, they own 1/3 of the Masonic building in downtown Malden. Now, Malden is not exactly an ideal location for us. It's hideously inconvenient for most active members of our Lodge to get to, since most of us are in the northern suburbs. And parking sucks Sharp Flinty Acid-Covered Rocks. So, since Scopus is tied to Malden, and most folks don't want to go to Malden, that particular merge doesn't look like it's going to happen. Instead, it looks like the newly-merged Mt. Tabor, which doesn't own any property, is going to move to Wakefield, since our current building in Saugus is on the market to be sold. (Presumably to someone who will rip out all the lovely Masonic paraphernalia and turn it into condos or something.)

So lots of complexities in Lodge. We'll see how it works out, but it at least means a slightly healthier Lodge, in a location that's about ten minutes closer to my house, so it's at least a mild win from my perspective.

A bit of melancholy for the evening: tonight was the Annual Meeting, where all the business reports get read off, and it's the first since Milton Locke died. Milty has been reading the Trustees' Report since -- oh, probably before I was born, and everyone found themselves missing his particular bombast. The past few years have been kind of unique: since Milty was starting to slow down and forget things mentally, he had developed a bad habit of reading through the report one page at a time, moving each page to the back after he had read it, and simply failing to stop when he reached the end and got back to the first page again. (At least once, we had to stop him when he started the third iteration and we realized he might just keep looping.) In Milty's honor, Jimmy Goodwin said what I was thinking, and suggested that we should read the whole report over again.

On the more clearly plus side, we got applications for two new members today, to take the degrees and become Masons. This is delightful, but it was disconcerting to realize that it's been so long since this last happened that several of the officers no longer remembered how to run a ballot. Well, hopefully these two new members will enjoy themselves enough to become active...
jducoeur: (Default)
Wor. Carl Bornstein passed away a few days ago. I don't often talk about Lodge deaths (which are sadly common, and mostly people I scarcely know), but Carl is worth a proper obit.

When I first met Carl, he was probably already 80 or so, and a bit past his prime; that only underscored how remarkable he was as a ritualist, though. He was a bit frail the entire time I knew him, his voice a little quavery, and he occasionally forgot a line here and there. But he still showed up for Lodge nearly every month, and was still one of the most dependable ritualists I've ever seen -- someone who you could come up to on a minute's notice and say, "Carl, the Senior Warden didn't show up tonight -- can you take his part?" And he could: whether it was just the routine ritual of a quiet night, or serious speechifying for degree work, he could take any part and perform it with aplomb. While I think I'm just a shade more expressive than he was, he was in most ways what I aspire to as a ritualist.

He was dedicated to Masonry in rather the way I am to the SCA: it was his family and his home, and he sometimes indulged it to excess. He told stories of the year he was in the OES grand suite, and was typically out 6 nights a week on Star and Masonic functions. Even in his latter days, he never let his slowing limbs slow down his activity too much, taking on any floorwork (if a bit stiffly sometimes). He was one of the two most inspiring lectors I've seen for charges to candidates (the other being Carl Atlas, who gave me my charge); with both of them gone, I suspect I should start finding some poems that I really like for the job. (Time to track down the Canadian Charge, I think.)

He was well-known and well-loved among the brethren, and the memorial service showed that. For many guys it's all you can do to muster a quorum of a few officers and a few people to walk in with them. Carl's funeral was Sunday afternoon, and was packed, with a full turnout from both of his lodges (Mt. Carmel and Hammatt Ocean). I'd guess that we had around 50 people on the suite, far more than normally show up for a Lodge meeting, and a remarkable number for someone who wasn't a past District Deputy.

He'll be missed. For all that we probably still have 150 members on the books, I'd guess that there are less than two dozen mainstays of Hammatt Ocean, and he was one of them. He was precious, both for his unassuming versatility, and his quiet confidence in the goodness of the work...
jducoeur: (Default)
Wor. Carl Bornstein passed away a few days ago. I don't often talk about Lodge deaths (which are sadly common, and mostly people I scarcely know), but Carl is worth a proper obit.

When I first met Carl, he was probably already 80 or so, and a bit past his prime; that only underscored how remarkable he was as a ritualist, though. He was a bit frail the entire time I knew him, his voice a little quavery, and he occasionally forgot a line here and there. But he still showed up for Lodge nearly every month, and was still one of the most dependable ritualists I've ever seen -- someone who you could come up to on a minute's notice and say, "Carl, the Senior Warden didn't show up tonight -- can you take his part?" And he could: whether it was just the routine ritual of a quiet night, or serious speechifying for degree work, he could take any part and perform it with aplomb. While I think I'm just a shade more expressive than he was, he was in most ways what I aspire to as a ritualist.

He was dedicated to Masonry in rather the way I am to the SCA: it was his family and his home, and he sometimes indulged it to excess. He told stories of the year he was in the OES grand suite, and was typically out 6 nights a week on Star and Masonic functions. Even in his latter days, he never let his slowing limbs slow down his activity too much, taking on any floorwork (if a bit stiffly sometimes). He was one of the two most inspiring lectors I've seen for charges to candidates (the other being Carl Atlas, who gave me my charge); with both of them gone, I suspect I should start finding some poems that I really like for the job. (Time to track down the Canadian Charge, I think.)

He was well-known and well-loved among the brethren, and the memorial service showed that. For many guys it's all you can do to muster a quorum of a few officers and a few people to walk in with them. Carl's funeral was Sunday afternoon, and was packed, with a full turnout from both of his lodges (Mt. Carmel and Hammatt Ocean). I'd guess that we had around 50 people on the suite, far more than normally show up for a Lodge meeting, and a remarkable number for someone who wasn't a past District Deputy.

He'll be missed. For all that we probably still have 150 members on the books, I'd guess that there are less than two dozen mainstays of Hammatt Ocean, and he was one of them. He was precious, both for his unassuming versatility, and his quiet confidence in the goodness of the work...

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jducoeur

August 2017

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