I was in Toronto last week to visit my father-in-law, who has been in poor health and is succumbing to the hardship of Alzheimer’s. It was an important trip to take, albeit a hard one. One of the things I got to do while in town, though, was to visit Victory Lodge #547, a daylight lodge in the north end of the city, not far from where I was staying.
When I got to the Rameses Shrine Center, where the lodge met, the brethren welcomed me quite warmly and seemed surprised to see someone as young as I was as a visitor. Most daylight lodges are attended by brethren who are retired and many of the members have trouble driving at night, hence the benefit of meeting during the day. The brethren were upset because the junior warden was going to absent that day.
I spoke up, jokingly saying that I would normally be glad to sit in the seat, as that was my station at my mother lodge, but that more than likely, Ontario ritual was sufficiently different from Virginia ritual that I would not do a good job. They said no, they were sure it was similar enough, and maybe I should sit there. wouldn’t it be fun to have a visitor in a station?
Luckily, somebody else piped up and volunteered. I was glad, as I saw the meeting open and realized that I had no idea what was going on. Completely different from what I was used to.
On another note, for those of you who travel somewhere, please learn from my mistakes. First, never volunteer to do anything or else you could be caught with your pants down. Second, bring an apron with you. The brethren at Victory Lodge were friendly enough to lend me one but they had to look for one to lend me. In Virginia it is customary to have a set of plain aprons outside the lodge door for people to grab and wear, should they not bring one of their own. I forgot that this is not a universal custom!