Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts and illness did not allow me to attend Nebraksa’s Annual Communication (aka Grand Lodge). Luckily for me, however, the installation of Grand Lodge officers did not occur at Grand Lodge, and will not be until next weekend. The incoming Grand Master is a dear friend, and someone who helps promote The Mason’s Lady, and I hope to be there to show my support for him. That being said, I am going ahead with the planned programming for this week, traveling as a Mason’s lady.
How is it different from any other trip?
In short, it’s not, except for a few differences. If you attend Grand Lodge, or another closed/invite only Masonic event, you may not have a great deal of time to spend with your significant other if they are not also a Mason. Often, the larger events will have programs for the ladies, this can be anything from luncheons and free time, to group shopping and other outings. These programs usually occur during the times that Lodge is held at the event, for any reason (although usually it is for voting or similar purposes). Often, the ladies will have a great deal more free time then the Masons do, so prepare accordingly.
There may also be required panels or meetings that you need to attend, or the freedom to pick from a few, or even have free time. It all depends on how the event is set up.
Is there anything special that I need to bring?
There are a number of items that you may not think to bring with you on a Masonic trip, that can be extremely helpful.
- Business or Contact Cards- You will be meeting a lot of people. Chances are, you won’t remember all of them, even if you agree to do the middle chamber lecture for them next month. Having business or contact cards on you at all times is not only very convenient, but it gives others the impression that you are prepared and think ahead. Even if you do not work for a business that offers you cards, there are a number of companies online, such as vistaprint, where you can create your own. Add any information that you feel is necessary, just be wary of adding your Lodge or any Masonic emblems if you will be using them for any other purpose.
- Membership/Dues Cards- At large events where you don’t know everyone, during closed sessions (such as Lodge that is held during Grand Lodge), dues cards will be required at the door for entry. Be sure that you have yours, and they they are up to date, and in good condition. If you need new ones, contact your Lodge or Chapter secretary. You may want to consider getting a special billfold or business card holder (such as these) to keep your cards safe and sound.
- Garment Bags- This is something you will want before you head out for your trip. Being a Mason or a Mason’s Lady requires an investment in nice clothes, and you want to protect that investment. Packing your clothes in the proper luggage will help keep them looking their best. There are a number of types of garment bags out there, including ones that match your exisiting luggage. You can find Masonic luggage here.
- Your own iron- Again, with keeping your nice clothes nice. Yes, your hotel probably has an iron and ironing board in your room. However, it will probably be different than the one that you have at home, and you will probably be more comfortable with yours from home. In addition to this, the settings on irons can often vary widely, and if you know that your iron works, it is probably better than taking a chance on a burned shirt.
- That scotch you’ve been saving for a special occasion- It’s no secret that Masons and booze go together like peanut butter and jelly. Most often, after the day’s work is done, the drinking and fun begins. Many Grand Lodges have a hospitality suite that has snacks, and may or may not have a bar. At other events, private parties in rooms are encouraged. Long Masonic events are a great time to meet new people, and new scotches. Be sure to make sure that alcohol is allowed at your event, however, and as always, be responsible.
- A good book- There can be a lot of downtime during Masonic events. You might not be interested in any of the panels and decide to catch up on some rest, or there may be a two hour lunch break so that everyone can set up for the closed Lodge meeting. Bringing a book, games, or a laptop is strongly encouraged at longer Masonic events.
Although I was not able to attend Grand Lodge this year, it does mark the official one year anniversary of the Mason’s Lady. I feel that I have grown greatly as a person, and as a member of Masonic organizations, simply through the time and research that The Mason’s Lady requires. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but I would not trade it for anything. Have a great week!