Brother Across Time and Jurisdiction

A Traveling Man’s Report Volume III

By: John P. Keel
Sandoval Lodge No. 76

John Keel

Fraternal greetings! This latest volume is more about a newly made brother than the trip I made to go see him initiated into Freemasonry. I have known Ramiro “Ray” Rendon for many years and he has been a good friend, colleague and brother veteran of mine long before knocking at the door of our fraternity. His journey as a mason began formally on January 23 rd at Lebanon Lodge 837 in Frisco, TX with his initiation but, as we all know, it began much further back, in his heart, and when he asked me at breakfast in April last year while I was visiting Dallas. I was out there for a concert and, as is our tradition, we will often grab breakfast or dinner while I’m there. On this particular occasion however he asked about Freemasonry and sparked a great conversation that led to him asking how he could join.

Bro Ramiro Rendon and Bro John Keel
Bro Ramiro Rendon and Bro John Keel

He had some doubts about how local lodges might work so I let him know that I would be happy to introduce him to a lodge on my next trip or when he was ready. Unfortunately, we have heard too often about rumors of racism or actual instances of it in our fraternity. Being a Hispanic man, its understandable that he would have these concerns even today. I reassured him that racism is contrary to the principles of our order and though the fraternity has had those issues in the past, I would hope to never come across a lodge like that in my lifetime though I’m sure they still exist somewhere in some parts of our country and in the world. Not to be preachy but, the fact that we still hear this should reinvigorate our passion to build ourselves organizationally into that perfect ashlar by eliminating discrimination when we see it.

The opportunity to introduce Ray to a lodge didn’t come to pass until October, when I was at a conference in Dallas. As I usually do, I reached out to local brothers, in this case through the Texas Freemason’s Facebook group, to see who was meeting. As it turned out, Lebanon Lodge was conducting an EA degree one of the nights I was there. I was sold instantly since I had not been able to see a degree in Texas yet. I let them know that I would be attending and that I would be bringing a friend with me. They were very welcoming to my visit and I made plans to skip the social events of the conference that night so we could attend. Ray and I went from the conference to the lodge and both of us almost immediately felt at home.

The brothers of Lebanon lodge were so welcoming and friendly that I felt like I had been there many times before. We had a wonderful dinner and Ray was able to chat with one of the Past Masters while we were inside for the degree. After the ceremony, we all went across the street to an old homestyle restaurant which has a very well stocked bar to enjoy some fellowship. On the way home, Ray and I chatted about how amazing the lodge was as well as how the process works. As we talked, he was already making plans to visit other lodges locally.

Bro Ramiro Rendon and his degree team.
Bro Ramiro Rendon and his degree team.

After a couple of months getting to know the brothers, Ray petitioned the lodge and the brethren voted him in at the beginning of January. As I promised him, I flew out to Dallas on the 23rd of January to be there as he was brought to light in Masonry. We had a great dinner again and enjoyed the pre-ceremony fellowship. Several other local lodges also had members in attendance. The ceremony was fantastic and the degree team did a phenomenal job of performing the ritual. Ray even surprised all of us at the Secretary’s desk. For those of you that know Texas ritual, you’ll know what I’m referring to. For the rest of you, I highly recommend going to Texas and checking it out yourself! After the meeting we all went to the restaurant across the street and had a great time there. We even held an impromptu turtle degree!

This trip was an amazing one and one of my favorites so far. I can’t wait to be there for Ray’s Fellowcraft and the Lodge has already confirmed I will be the one to Raise him. I look forward to it!

Brothers (and turtles) from 4 different lodges enjoy felowship
Brothers (and turtles) from 4 different lodges enjoy felowship

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