The chapter honoured three of my Grand Officers, Sisters Fabienne Winter, Grand Marshal (and wife of the WGP, Brother Bill) and Evelyn Shaw, Grand Adah and Brother Doug Black, Grand Sentinel.
I had the pleasure of presenting a Grand Representatives Commission to Sister Eileen Campbell to the state of Indiana. I was also pleased to present a second Certificate of Appreciation to Brother Terry Radford, P.G.P. for being the chapter’s Marshal. Brother Terry had already received a certificate and gold Thistle pin at the Official Visit of Rosemount-St. Lambert Chapter in March, so on this night I gave the gold Thistle pin to his wife, Sister Brenda Shaw Radford, P.G.M.
The Worthy Matron, Sister Florence, planned a wonderful ceremony for the WGP and I. I was presented with a cute little stuffed Lock Ness Monster and then we were escorted to each of the Star Points. Each Star Point read a continuous poem about Lock Ness and then presented me with a donation to my Special Project. Each of the Star Points read a verse from the song Greased Lightening from the movie Grease for the Worthy Grand Patron and then presented him with a donation to his Special Project. After we were taken back to the East, the complete song was then played. The Worthy Matron Pro-tem then presented me with another gift from the Worthy Matron – another tiny Lock Ness monster with another donation and also a couple of books on the Lock Ness Monster. It was another fun ceremony and I’m collecting quite a few little critters along the way!
After we returned to the East, I was surprised to be presented with an Honorary Membership to Victory Chapter. This is quite an honour and I will cherish it always.
After the meeting, we enjoyed a delicious social hour, after which a few of us told a few jokes. Usually when I visit Victory Chapter, I just listen to all the jokes, not participating myself. However, I had been saving up all year and finally got up the nerve to tell one myself, because it had a Scottish theme. If you want to hear it, you will have to ask me in person, as I’m not posting it here!!
As my Chapter Talk, I chose to speak on the meaning of the Masonic Blue Slipper.
Chapter Talk – The Masonic Blue Slipper
Worthy Matron, Worthy Patron, WGP, GGCCM’s, all Distinguished Guests, Sisters & Brothers. Thank you Worthy Matron for the warm welcome this evening. As always, it is a real pleasure to be here tonight. I almost consider this my 3rd chapter now because of my ties with Brother Bill and Sister Fabienne.
How many of you are familiar with the Masonic blue slipper? It is a small lapel pin in the shape of a blue slipper. For those of you who have never seem one, see Sister Kay Strong, because she wears one on her lapel. When I first saw it, I was interested in learning more about it, so I did a little research on the internet. I found this article on the story of the Masonic Blue slipper. It first appeared in the July 1986 issue of the Scottish Rite Journal and was written by Clyde H. Magee, a 32° Mason.
Over the years it has been my habit to ask my wife and my daughters to wear one of these slippers on a coat or dress when traveling alone away from home. What is the meaning of this blue slipper and why should female relatives of Masons wear one?
Some 50 or 60 years ago, while I was still living at home, a widowed lady who was a cousin of my Dad's came to visit our home. She vacationed with us for several weeks every summer. She always wore this type of pin-The Blue Slipper. Her doctor husband was a Mason. The pin that she wore made a lasting impression on me. Through my curiosity and questioning, she told me it was a Masonic pin and served to identify her as a Masonic widow. She declared that Masonic men gave her extra attention while traveling, especially on the railroad (such as conductors, etc.).
To find out the meaning of this pin, let us go back in history to Boaz' time, in the Book of Ruth. It will be remembered that Elimelech, his wife, Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilon, fled to the land of Moab to escape the famine in their homeland of Bethlehem judah. Things went well for a while. Then life fell apart for them. Elimelech died. The two sons married Moabite girls-Orpha and Ruth. Again tragedy struck. Mahlon and Chilon died. This left Naomi a widow in a foreign land with two widowed daughters-in-law from the land of Moab.
In time of trouble, people think of home and more importantly of God. Naomi found out that the famine back home had subsided, and there was grain and food again. So she confided with Orpha and Ruth that she would journey back home and be among her kinsmen.
Certain laws, rules, or customs governed her thinking at this time. Of first consideration was the fact that Naomi was too old to bear a son for her daughters-in-law to marry. Even if she could, the daughters-in-law would not wait for the son to grow up. So the girls should remain among their own people. The girls resisted and started to go with Naomi. Orpha was finally convinced she should stay in Moab. But Ruth remained steadfast and went with Naomi to her homeland.
Naomi and Ruth arrived back in Bethlehem-judah at harvest time. The Scripture passage on which this is based is well-known. "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." This passage of Scripture is unsurpassed as a declaration of love and devotion of one person for another. It has been said that it would made a good marriage vow. But, to me it is a different type of devotion.
Naomi also had to take into consideration another law. When Elimelech died, his next of kin was duty bound to redeem his possessions and take care of his widow and her family. Since Naomi was getting old, Ruth tried to earn a livelihood. While gleaning in the fields, she was seen by Boaz. And when he found out about her (that she was Naomi's daughter in-law, etc.), he arranged special treatment for her. She could work with his girls in the field, and the young men were warned not to bother her. Since Boaz was not married and was kin to Naomi, Naomi decided that she should somehow make Boaz understand his duty to Elimelech's family. So Naomi advised Ruth to bathe and anoint herself and go to the threshing floor after dark and lay at the feet of Boaz. Boaz awoke at midnight and discovered her there. So as not to create a scandal, he gave her some barley and asked her to leave before dawn so that watching eyes would not recognize her.
Business among the tribe of Bethlehem-judah took place at the gate of the city. So Boaz sat down at the gate the next day because he knew there was a kinsman more closely related to Elimelech than he. So when the kinsman came by, Boaz called him aside and asked 10 men of the elders of the city to sit with them. Boaz bargained with his kinsman. The kinsman said he would redeem Elimelech's property. But, when he found out that he would have to take care of Naomi and Ruth, he reneged and told Boaz he would not redeem or protect Elimelech's interest. He would leave it to Boaz. The passage from Scripture for these events is the following: "And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it., Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel."
So the kinsman drew off his shoe and gave it to Boaz. Boaz held it up for all in the gate to see. He asked them to be witnesses that he became Naomi's protector, Ruth's husband, and a redeemer of Elimelech's property.
So, today we have the little blue slipper as an emblem of the protective influence of Masons for their wives, widows, and daughters.
I want to thank you Worthy Matron, for allowing my Bible to rest on your Altar tonight. As you all know, this is the Bible that was presented to me by Sister Marion Loffelmann, P.G.M., at my Installation. She in turn received it from Sister Alta Fowler, P.G.M. At the end of the meeting, I would like you and the Worthy Patron to both sign it. The beautiful Bible marker was hand painted by Sister Louise Wilkinson, P.G.M. I hope everyone takes a chance to have a look. I also want to thank you Worthy Matron for using my gavel tonight. This is the gavel that was presented to me by Brother Bill and Sister Fabienne at my Installation last October and it seemed appropriate to use it tonight.
I would also ask that after the meeting the Chapter Officers and the Grand Officers remain for pictures. Thank you again, Worthy Matron, for all your courtesies tonight and for your wonderful donation to my Special Project. It is very much appreciated.