From the East
Worshipful Jesse Middleton
My Brothers, how quickly two months passes. By the end of March, a quarter of my term as the Master of Consuelo Lodge will be behind us. This week I happened to have a great conversation with a Past Master of the Lodge. In our discussion, he made a reference that will now be forever be a part of my year, “The Master’s position is just another shot at being a “Steward” of the Lodge.” How true that is.
There is no greater Masonic calling than to serve the Brother’s of Consuelo Lodge, and see the excitement of the Brothers and their eagerness with new ideas. For those keeping track, San Diego County is still in the purple tier, the most restrictive tier. However, ICU capacity in the county has dropped to 40% and daily positive cases have finally dropped below 1,000. Currently, 15% of the country has received the vaccine in some form. This is great news, and a small stepped towards reopening.
As I look at the calendar I planned for 2021, I notice we have not yet missed any of the big activities I had planned. That being said, I do not believe we will be opening for another couple of months. That would mean missing the Lectures I had hoped to plan for March. It is not lost on me that we are all missing out on much more but, but I know from the responses I have received that the virtual meetings have been enjoyed and have been a welcomed substitute.
Unfortunately though, there are some Brothers who just can’t make the virtual meetings. Whether it’s due to Brothers not being technologically savvy or choosing not to participate in virtual meetings, there is a population of our Lodge that we are not reaching. Even as you read through this, there are Brothers of Consuelo Lodge that are not receiving this Trestleboard.
This past month has been a harsh reminder to me that we do not do the best job of keeping in contact with our isolated and elderly Brothers. This is a shame, and I shoulder full responsibility as I have not pushed for a committee to keep in contact with these Brothers. That changes, now.
In the month of February we were informed of the passing of three Brothers that we did not know had passed, Bro Richard Decker, Bro. Dempsey Doyle, and Bro. Dana Rayburn. We also lost Bro. Greg Cross, who passed on February 11 th . Currently, Bro. Junior Warden Jon Rick is rounding up a number of Brothers to perform another round of the Call Tree. I strongly encourage all Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts to reach out to Bro. Jon and assistant him in checking on every member of our lodge, both near and far.
This is an opportunity to check the pulse of the Lodge and should not be taken lightly. This is intended to brighten some Brothers day with a phone call, and to determine who needs our help. One point that maybe lost on some is that Masonry in the operative form created guilds not only for job security, but also for ones personal and familial security. We are our Brother’s keeper, and it is incumbent upon all of us to keep in touch with those who are not able to meet with us regularly.
On a positive note, there have been numerous inquiries since we have gone into quarantine. I have touched base with a few individuals who are interested in more information on Masonry, and I have kept their emails for the moment we are all permitted to meet in person. When the time comes, we will be very busy getting our Brothers up to snuff with their ritual and proficiencies. We will then be making an effort to open the doors to those who have knocked when no one was around to answer the door.
As I am sure you have already noted, the Trestleboard is a little fuller this month. We have the new section called, “The Past Master’s Corner.” Here you will regularly find articles from Past Master’s of Consuelo Lodge. This section is for our PM’s to continue to have a voice in the Lodge. Thank you very much to Wor. Tom Handell for taking the time and leading off the PM’s with this article.
You will also note a section called, “Masonry Abroad,” this will include articles and news from Lodges all over. This month’s article came recommended by Wor. Handell and is a very touching piece from Idaho. Lastly, “Have You Seen This Brother?” I think this will be enjoyed by many. The next meeting, following the publication of the Trestleboard, Brothers may attempt to figure out who the Brother is pictured below. Best of luck this month, and may the odds be ever in your favor. Please keep in mind the fundraisers going on by the Golden Arch Assembly. The bread orders are due to Ms. Cathy Tipton by March 5th! Information was included in the emails that went out last month. The Youth orders need our support, and March has been designated by Grand Lodge as Youth Orders month. We will be participating in some of the Youth Orders meetings during the month so be on the lookout for further information in a future email.
My Brothers, keep hanging in there. There is a light at the end of the tunnel! You are not alone, and we are all in this together. A great quote from Phil Jackson, ex-NBA coach goes, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” We are a team at Consuelo, and I continue to see Brothers forming stronger bonds on a daily basis. If you wish to be part of that, you yourself need to reach out sometimes and start that conversation. Better times are just around the corner. I hope you are all motivated and ready for the work that is ahead of us. I encourage anyone who reads this to call me or email if they need anything, would like to recommend anything, or would just like to talk. Until we meet again, be safe, be true, and be a MASON!
From the West
Bro. Jeff Powell
With the objective from the West being to provide an educational topic, this month I am writing about our flagpole. No, not that flagpole. I’m not talking about the flagpole at our lodge. but our historic Consuelo Masonic flagpole. Some of you may already know about it.
When I was Sr. Deacon and had the opportunity to work with the Child ID team, one location that we were at was film night at Grape Day Park presented by the Escondido History Center. When setting up the event, I met Mrs. Robin Fox from the Center, who informed me about this flagpole. Apparently, she has written about the flagpole, but I haven’t been able to find it anywhere. After this discovery, I also began to do some research on this flagpole.
The historical flagpole that I am referring to is currently located in front of the Escondido Civic Center, but it was first dedicated by Consuelo in 1926 to the city of Escondido and erected in the center of the Broadway and Grand Intersection and was to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Congress adopting the Unites States Flag. This flagpole was 90 feet high at the time and the Escondido police department was responsible for the daily raising and lowering of the flag. This flag was viewable from the building where Consuelo met at the time, which was also on Grand Ave on the upper floor of the building which currently is on the corner of Grand and Kalmia. One problem with the flagpole, being directly in the middle of a busy intersection, was that cars kept running into it, requiring many repairs. Soon, the city encased the base of the flagpole in a cement barrier, making it more rugged and easier to see. The flagpole stayed at this location until 1950.
In 1950 the flagpole was moved to Grand and Valley and place in front of where the Civic center was at that time. Eventually, over time, the flagpole had to be shortened due to rust. In 1988, the new city hall was built at the corner of Valley and Broadway and originally was intended to have a brand new flagpole set up at that location. Thanks to the folks at the Escondido History Center, the Consuelo flagpole was preserved. One problem though, even after already being shortened, the flagpole needed to be shortened once again to meet the specifications of the new location. At this time, in 1988, Consuelo lodge rededicated this flagpole. There is currently two plaques at the base of this flagpole, which I encourage you to read whenever you happen to be in the area.
The picture included with this article, shows the flagpole in its original location, with the cement barrier. In the distance, you can see the upper floor where Consuelo and several other Masonic orders held meetings. The second floor of these buildings were removed in the late 1950’s to meet earthquake requirements, but by that time our lodge had already vacated and moved to the building we are in now. The outline of where the stairway was blocked off, can still be seen to this day if you look close enough.
From the South
Bro. Jon Gary Rick
Spring is nearly upon us my brothers, only a couple more weeks! While Southern California doesn’t have much of a Winter, I’ve already noticed new flowers in bloom and more active wildlife in the backyard. I’ve always enjoyed Spring as it ushers in the feeling of everything beginning anew again.
Speaking of new things, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of Golden Arch #239 for the first time this past Thursday along with Worshipful Jesse Middleton and Worshipful Doug Ford. Golden Arch, is our local assembly of The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, one of the three masonic youth orders. While I’ve attended installations for the group in the past, this was my first actual meeting.
The theme of the evening was Disney, which fell right into an area of expertise for me. I donned my Mickey Ears and dialed into the Zoom meeting. Seeing our Worshipful Master wearing his son’s child-size Mickey Ears was a major moment of delight that put a smile on my face from ear to ear, but that isn’t where the fun stopped as the entire evening was delightful!
After introductions, we had a wonderful discussion about our favorite board games, which then led Worshipful Ford and I to have a friendly disagreement on whether Dungeon and Dragons is a board game or not (answer: it is), haha.
Following that, we had a few moments where everyone had an opportunity to share a recent personal event that had brought them particular joy (sunshine) or one of unhappiness (cloudy). As individuals were sharing, I realized what an incredibly powerful moment this was. Taking specific time during a meeting to share in one another’s successes or sympathize with each other’s struggles. I think all too often we offer up a quick “I’m fine” when asked how we’re doing, I know I’m guilty of this myself; even when my turn arrived I struggled to come up with something meaningful that I could share with the group — something I’m going to reflect on for next time.
At the end of the meeting, we played a wonderful virtual “Escape Room” game that involved solving Disney-themed puzzles to find locations on a map of Walt Disney World. It was remarkable to see everyone working together to solve each puzzle; coming to a group consensus for each answer. Through teamwork and a bit of luck, we solved all the puzzles and celebrated our success as a group!
It’s impressive to see our youth have a meeting be both lighthearted and fun but still have impactful moments of introspectiveness and thoughtfulness. I can’t express to you how much fun I truly had, but I’m sharing this story with you in hopes that you’ll attend a youth group meeting and experience it firsthand.
The Past Master’s Corner
Worshipful Bro. Tom Handell, PM
Over my many years as a Mason, I have witnessed membership, as well as participation, ebb and flow. We have usually had a positive influx of candidates which resulted in wonderful activity and excitement in the lodge through their eagerness to learn and participate in all the various events. Now we have none! Thanks to Covid, we have no candidates taking degrees. We have no eager novitiates craning for Masonic light! We have no lodge events and we have no camaraderie for any of us. This twelve-month ebb in lodge activity is dangerous to our welfare as our members have gotten comfortable staying at home on lodge nights. I know because I am one of them.
Notwithstanding the ill effects of the virus, we must each remember the good times we had with our brethren at lodge. We must remember our own individual pursuit of Masonic light. And we must, above all, remember our friends and Brothers that we so dearly miss. I would urge each of you to reflect on your past participation and make a promise to yourself to renew it and re-engage when we are once again allowed to meet as Brothers should. Zoom meetings are fine but there is no substitute for the hearty handshakes we enjoy at face-to-face meetings. The time is coming my brethren, be ready to re-engage and get everything from your Masonic experience!