Cherrydale Lodge just had its installation of officers and I was installed as the senior warden. One more year until master, if everything goes well. I am looking forward to this year and the challenges it presents, including preparing for next year. That means getting programs together for 20 meetings for next year, fine-tuning our promotion system for attracting members of other lodges, getting a program in place for public relations, which our lodge desperately needs, and a million other things. And I thought this year would be easy.
But back to the installation. It’s always a lot of fun to get the brethren together and see the officers, especially the new ones, dressed up in tuxedos and white gloves. In our society, even within Masonry, there is a movement to take the formality out of what we do and slide into a business casual way of dressing and conducting ourselves.
Let me come down now and say that I prefer the more formal way of dressing, at least for Masonic activities. For one thing, we have a good number of younger members, college-age guys, who can use the practice dressing up. I know it’s not rocket science but unless you went to a military academy, formal dress was probably never emphasized in your college experience.
In addition, I think the formal dress we usually have – suit and tie – adds to the solemnity and formality of the evening’s activities. We sometimes get the complaint that it’s hard for people in some lines of work to wear a suit. Personally, I don’t buy it. Our last master was a police officer and the one before him was a plumber. Both these men managed to put on a suit. Sometimes it was in their vehicles or in the lodge bathroom, but they always managed it. We had a member who died a few years ago whose life’s work had been in the world of trains. I have heard stories of him getting off work looking like he rolled in coal dust but somehow getting it together enough to look good for the meetings.
Dressing up can go a bit haywire though. Alexandria-Washington Lodge #22 has its officers dress in tuxedos for each meeting because they have certain strong traditions they want to keep in place and want to attract certain types of members. I was talking to one of their officers about this one day and mentioned that I would not be attracted to that type of lodge partly because of the dress required. Of course, I may not be their target member. That’s a self-correcting issue, I suppose.
At any rate, we have another year of officers installed and ready to go for our first stated communication on January 7. come on down and join us!