Compared to his two siblings, Ian is the least exposed to the ways of the Masonic Fraternity. His sister, after all, joined the Job’s Daughters during her teens while his youngest brother fully exhausted seven years of his life in the DeMolay movement until the time he became a Senior DeMolay.
But it was understandable; he was already in his second year at Los Banos when his Dad joined the Craft and to confound matters, he got himself employed, got married and thereafter established residence in his adopted place. Except for some fleeting moments, like attending his father’s installation as Worshipful Master of his mother lodge in 1995 and acting as surrogate brother to the fraternal brod of his kid brother, Ivan, when the DeMolays tangled with a college fraternity, his link with the organization the aging puma has embraced was indeed rare. Suffice it to say that it came as a mild shock to the rest of the family when he said in late 2005 that he wants to knock at the Craft’s proverbial door timing his entry at the time he will reach the age of thirty five.
The aging lion was of course silently pleased at learning of his son’s decision but nonetheless was guarded in his reactions. The only question that he posed was: “Have you discussed this with your wife, Vicky?” and got a nod in reply. It turned out it was her employer at the farm where she works as an animal nutritionist that prodded her to allow her husband to follow the footsteps of his Dad because her boss is a mason in good standing at Sierra Madre Lodge No. 181 and it was from the latter that she consciously noticed the sterling qualities of a member of the Craft.
But knocking at the proverbial door was not easy. The cub’s first obstacle was that he was informed it will cost him some twenty grand to join and admittedly the sum was not peanuts. Another difficult problem to hurdle was that the lodge was forty two kilometers away from their residence and therefore will entail considerable travel time to attend meetings.
The prospects of knocking at the door of other lodges were considered. Nearby stood two other lodges, namely Makiling Lodge No. 77 and Pinagsabitan Lodge No. 26 in neighboring Sta. Cruz, but he knew of no one in these two lodges. He also contemplated submitting his petition form in any of the lodges at the Capitol Masonic Temple where his Dad once used to roam, but the distance was even more problematic than what it would entail him should he decide to join any of the lodges in Laguna. He also broached the idea of joining Jacques DeMolay 305 because he has an acquaintance there, but the same problem on travel time exists. Not only that, its stated meeting was on a Friday at six P.M. and reasonably, getting home after each meeting would pose a problem.
His big break came in January 2007 when he excitedly called his Dad long distance in Bohol saying he has already submitted his duly-accomplished petition form at Sierra Madre Lodge No. 181 and was asking what to do next. He received a reply saying: “Well, all you do is wait until your name is circularized by the Grand Lodge in what is called as “Circular No. 12. What he did not know was that his Dad emailed Elo at the GL office and learned that the his petition for membership was already circulated to the brethren by the end of the month of January.
Still a petitioner, his sponsor gradually exposed him and his wife to the public ceremonies of the Fraternity. They were invited to the installation ceremonies of Sierra Madre Lodge No. 181, Pinagsabitan Lodge No. 26 Malinao Lodge No. 25 and Makiling Lodge No. 77, and attended all of them.
Sierra Madre’s March stated meeting saw him and two other petitioners eagerly awaiting being balloted and at closing time were informed that the results were favorable. This made him send a text message to his Dad saying: “Tay, yelocrap na ako”. His Dad, feigning ignorance shot back: “Just what is that supposed to mean?” and received the epic reply: “yelocrap, the one who distributes ice during the fellowship!”
The three petitioners were initiated on March 30 and the lodge forthwith made plans for their second-degree passing and the third degree raising to the sublime degree. April 14 was tentatively set for the second-degree conferral while the third degree was set for the month of May.
Meanwhile the aging cat formulated plans of his own. He and the lion tamer were already scheduled to visit the kids at the metropolis and it would be a nice idea if he can request that he be the Conferral Master of the third degree, portraying the role of King Solomon, and thus symbolically raise his son to the sublime degree. That idea would indeed, be nice.
But like many dreams, there are some that regretfully vanish in the air, with the amputation of his right leg reducing that dream to wishful thinking. For how could one execute the strong grip of the lion’s paw and the five points of fellowship when the limping and aging lion could not even arise from bed with but one leg to stand on?!
And snags stood in the way. The “passing” was consummated only on May 19 while the “raising” was done on June 16. These two events were partially witnessed by the aging lion although he chose to be outside of the lodge while the second section of the third degree conferral was going on. Once the smoke has vanished he noted that compared with the two others, the cub was roasted “well done” that even showed visible signs of burnt residues on his breast while the two were only broiled medium rare. Which made the aging lion quip: “Well, like the sides of a coin, there are two sides of looking at a given experience, it either turns you into a ferocious lion to get even, or become a judicious sphinx because you believe that the manhandling was despicably wrong. Looking back, it appeared some lodge members did not look with favor his reply on the query why he wanted to join the Craft that “he wanted to follow the Masonic footsteps of his Dad” a dream many old timers wish but never could realize.
As a memento of his joining the Craft, the aging lion gave him the golden ring that he has proudly worn the past eighteen years saying:
“I have worn that ring proudly the past eighteen years and have always reminded me of three things, the Square, the extended Compasses and the letter G at the middle... May it also always remind you that the Square is an emblem of Truth and Morality, that the extended Compasses remind you to circumscribe your desires, and that the letter G means that the GAOTU watches over your actions”.