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masonic matters

Masonic Musings

by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota

"You really can change the world if you just care enough." Marian Wright Edelman  

"Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher." Oprah Winfrey  

"A person cannot succeed in anything without a good, sound body - a body that is able to stand up against hardships, that is able to endure." Brother Booker T. Washington.  

As you may have noticed there was no Masonic Matters sent our in February 2007 - The reason for this is that I was not that far ahead in my writing of Masonic Matters. I mention this because on January 11th I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and as a result I was quite busy getting on with beginning treatment for this cancer. By that time the February Masonic Matters was due to be sent out, so the result was that I missed the deadline. Now as I begin writing this on March 5th I have had my second chemo therapy session and am feeling much better than I did only a few short weeks ago. Already after this second chemo therapy session there is a remarkable change in my illness, (for the better,) and as a result I am very optimistic that this cancer will go into remission due to the care I'm receiving I mention this because I want you to know why some of my writing and publications may come out on a not so regular basis. However, I hope to continue to feel good enough, and to schedule all the medical appointments so that these publications will continue on a regular basis.  

"Education is the jewel casting brilliance into the future." Mari Evans  

This issue of Masonic Matters contains what I call my "Masonic Musings". I like that name; it was given to me by my good Brother Jim Konkler. W. B. Jim is a Grand Lodge District Representative for the Grand Lodge of Minnesota. [Named District Representative of the year at our last G.L Annual Communication] I have always had this title in the back of my mind to use for another publication, but it has only been used periodically in connection with Masonic Matters. As some of you know I have been contributing some fairly regular articles for the Philalethes Magazine, the official publication of the Philalethes Society. This is a good Masonic Research Society to be a member of. In my mind it is one of the better bargains available in Masonic study and education. You can subscribe, if you're a mind to, by contacting Brother John C. 'Bud' Householder Jr. he can give you information on becoming a member. Anyway, the reason I mention this is that my articles in the Philalethes will soon be under the column name of "Masonic Musings." Thanks for the gift of this title Brother Jim.  

"More than anything else, it is important to study history." B.B. King  

If you like to read about the War Between the States and the history of it, there is a book you might like. My very good friend and Brother Wayne Zaudtke got a copy for me from the local library; it is called 'The Story of a Regiment,' and was written first hand by the regiment's commander, Judson W. Bishop, after the Civil War. [ISBN 0-87839-114-2] This book tells the story of the Second Minnesota and its involvement in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. There are some Masonic references in the book being that it does tell about the men of the Minnesota Second Regiment and which Lodges some of them were members of. This is a good book, which is valuable for the history of Minnesota as well as the Civil War. Many of the men mentioned in this book came from the Mankato area of Minnesota, and Mankato is where our Annual Grand Lodge Communication will be held this April.  

In the latest Smithsonian Magazine there is a fine article about General George Henry Thomas. General Thomas was a Mason; he was from Virginia but as a West Point Graduate and officer in the U.S. Army he decided to continue and be an officer for the Union Army. He wasn't the only Virginian to fight for the North, and not the only general from Virginia either. In Denslow's 10,000 Famous Freemasons it does not give the dates of his degrees, but it does say he was a Mason and that there is a record of him visiting an Ohio Army Lodge. The connection to the book I mentioned above is that during the civil war one of his commands included the Army the Second Minnesota was a part of, and he is mentioned in the book.  

If you like history and information about the Civil War with some Masonic tie in - get a copy of the book and the March '07 Smithsonian Magazine and have a good time reading.  

"Of all our studies, history is the best qualified to reward our research." Malcolm X  

Here is something William Shakespeare wrote that I think you might like to read. There really aren't all that many people who have the honor of having their words read by so many following generations.  

The Honey Bee  

For so work the honey-bees,  
Creatures that be a rule in nature teach  
They have a king and officers of sorts;  
Where some, like magistrates, correct at home,  
Others, like merchants, venture trade abroad,  
Others, like soldiers, armed in their stings,  
Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds;  
Which pillage they with merry march bring home  
To the tent-royal of their emperor:  
Who, busied in his majesty, surveys  
The singing masons building roofs of gold,  
The civil citizens kneading up the honey,  
The poor mechanic porters crowding in  
Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate,  
The sad-ey'd justice, with his surly hum,  
Delivering o'er executors pale  
The lazy yawning drone.  

"[Mother] said that I must always be intolerant of ignorance, but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors." Maya Angelou  

March 17th is St. Patrick's Day. I have something that is easy to make that most people enjoy very much. I was reminded recently by one of my good friends and Brothers about how I would in the past include a recipe from time to time in Masonic Matters. If you like Corned Beef like I do, (in small doses) you might like this. It makes a hit whenever it is served at a party. I got this recipe from my good friend and Brother Ken Rubenzer's wife, Lynn, and it is good. This is just as she gave it to me:  

"This recipe for Ruben Dip is as follows and is super easy: Mix together and heat in a crock pot - I can of Sour kraut (drain and rinse well,) 1 lb of thinly sliced corned beef, 2 cups of grated Swiss Cheese, and 1 cup of Sour Cream. I used fat free Sour Cream."  

That's the recipe and it's great. I've made and served it and it was as well received as when Lynn made it. This recipe can help keep your belt tight, but then you'll have plenty of help in eating it, so the calories shouldn't matter. I'd serve it with small Pumpernickel Bread, or Irish Soda Bread or crackers.  

"I try to learn as much as I can because I know nothing compared with what I need to know." Muhammad Ali  

From the Great light of Masonry = "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His love endures forever. To him who alone does great wonders. His love endures forever. Who by his understanding made the heavens. His love endures forever. Who spread out the earth upon the waters. His love endures forever. Who made the great lights. His love endures forever. The sun to govern the day. His love endures forever. The moon and stars to govern the night. His love endures forever." Psalm 136: 1-9 NIV This particular Psalm may have been meant to be a responsive reading. Bold and Italics are mine - Ed.  

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Last modified: March 22, 2014