The year of the pig was both bane and boon to the aging cat. First, he barely escaped being drowned without his body being submerged in water because his lungs were full of mucus-aggravated liquid it hardly allowed his snubbed-shaped nose or in local parlance “pango” to breath, Luckily for him, the community hospital where he was confined on that fateful Holy Wednesday had an available oxygen tank for such an emergency. With steroid injected to help open up his lungs, the lady doctor managed to make him regain his breath and thus enabled him to return home to recuperate two days later and saved him from being unceremoniously dumped into the century-old waiting graveyard.
The second aborted trip to the Great Beyond occurred two weeks later when, shortly after his right leg was amputated, he was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit of St. Luke’s Hospital, that time because his heartbeat already dangerously dropped below normal level it might have stopped beating at all. Bad grass, he jokingly declared later, but then again, to him it was a puzzle why the Grim Ripper dilly-dallied in his assigned task of using his razor-blade scythe and thus granted the aging puma another reprieve at finally taking his one-way ticket to kingdom come.
So after the two aborted tries at knocking at the proverbial door where not one soul has ever returned before, the only recourse was to gather back his scattered wits and try to get back to normalcy. He obviously could no longer stand on his two feet once again because his right leg was no longer where it was supposed to be, but stand he must and what better recourse than to do it with his remaining left leg but this time aided by an artificial contraption that in medical parlance is called “prosthesis” .!
Fortunately for the aging lion, there is an age-old maxim that says “way above the thunderous clouds still exist the sun with its radiant light.”. Which simply means: “hope still springs eternal even to him who has fallen to the ground provided he has the will and a strong desire to stand!”
The road to recovery was Herculean. Fortunately a lot of relatives, fraternal brothers and friends made the awesome task at getting back to normal bearable and worth every sweat of his brow. The three cubs were likewise very supportive thus pondering at hard decisions became manageable, he ultimately slowly regained his composure and realized that life is still too precious on to, never to abandon nor ignore.
I. WELCOME NEWS AFTER THE STORM
Much like the passing of every thunderous storm, flickering lights slowly appeared on the horizon making him realize that despite the debacle, life- even with but a single foot, still deserves to continue. Never mind if medical tests reveal that both his kidney and his heart are already too weak to work unaided, and that unless assisted by maintenance medicines his breathing may just sputter like an overused engine and may conk without the driver knowing whatever the heck happened.
His first glad tidings after his misfortune happened when his eldest cub Ian, of his own free will and accord, became a member of the Craft.. Petitioning at Sierra Madre Lodge No. 181 because the incumbent master of the lodge was close to his wife Vicky, he doggedly endured the conferral of the three degrees until on June 16 when he was finally raised to what masons call the sublime degree.
Some five months later, or on November 17 to be exact, Ian’s younger brother Ivan called the aging cat long distance saying he has finally decided to petition for membership at Quezon City Lodge No. 122, the very lodge where the latter was made a master mason. Not receiving any comment at all at the other end of the phone from his dad, he realized his news will not be answered and so said he will call again later for his mother to learn of the news.
II. AN UNEXPECTED MEMBERSHIP CITATION
On November 21 or barely a week after his youngest son made the call, he received an unexpected mail that came from Ontario Canada. It contained a citation, a letter and a blue lapel pin, the citation of which reads as follows:
“Distinctive award for Outstanding Speculative and
Unselfish Service to Freemasonry and all Mankind”
His reply to the sender was:
The Masonic Brotherhood of
The Blue Forget-me-not
2 Knockbolt Crescent, Toronto, Ontario, Canada MIS 2P6
Attention: Bro. Nelson King, Secretary
It is with profound sense of humility that I accept my election as member of
“The Masonic Brotherhood of
The Blue Forget-me-not”
It is a distinctive honor that our two sons, the elder of whom is already a Mason while the younger has signified he will also join, and our four grandsons may hopefully be reminded and thus learn to emulate when they come of age someday.
Kindest fraternal regards!
Geminiano V. Galarosa, Jr.
III. A BRIEF BACKGROUNDER ON THE BROTHERHOOD
Suffice it to say that he was surprised to receive the citation. He knew nothing of the “Masonic Brotherhood of the Blue Forget me not” at all, and eager to know what it was all about, he made the search through “Google” and learned it was organized on January 1, 1972 to recognize those Masons “who were devoting their lives and resources to Masonic education and writing.”. Some of the salient points as copied from the Internet include:
1. The recipient (of the citation) is judged by a Team of Masonic writers and educators before he is chosen for membership in the Brotherhood. His dedication to the whole of Freemasonry and his fellowman determines his qualifications. This Award cannot be purchased. His name must be presented by a member of the Brotherhood, then pass a unanimous ballot of the membership commission.
2. There are no fees or dues paid by the recipient. In every sense, membership in the Brotherhood is an Award for unselfish service to Freemasonry and mankind.
3. The blue forget me not (flower) has been chosen as a symbol of Masonic dedication, courage and fidelity. This symbol was born in the face of Nazi persecution of Freemasonry under the Hitler regime. Although the dictator ordered thousands of Freemasons murdered, tortured and incarcerated, those who would not renounce the Craft and its teachings continued to practice Freemasonry in secret. So they might know one another, a little flower was selected as their emblem. Against overwhelming odds these men, a scant handful, kept the light of Freemasonry burning throughout Nazi darkness.
4. It is not a degree; it is not a political award; there will never be a plea for a greater membership. There are no dues and fees to be paid by anyone. It is in every sense an award for service to Freemasonry and thus to our fellow man. Because of its non-political objective, and because its only members are workers in and for the Craft, many consider it the greatest honor one can receive in Freemasonry.
IV. MEMBERSHIP IN THE BROTHERHOOD AS ICING ON THE CAKE
It is worth mentioning that the list of Masonic writers that were elected to its roll include immortal authors like Norman Vincent Peale, William Denslow, Alphonse Cerza, John J. Robinson and MW Raymond Willmarth in the Philippine Masonic jurisdiction.. At the time of his election his name was numbered 481 and is at the tail end of the list thus making him only the second Freemason from the Philippine shore to be included in the roster.
Despite the international relevance of his membership in the brotherhood however, he considers the inclusion of his two sons into the Fraternity as the more valuable. It is true that many members of the Craft have sons in the fold, even the celebrated Norman Vincent Peale is a third generation Freemason and so are many other brethren in the local front have sons who have also joined the Fraternty. But aging cat still considers it a far more valuable honor because unless one has lived the full life of a mason, it would not reasonable to expect that his sons will follow his footsteps when they come of age someday that effectively echoes:
“No greater gift can a Freemason receive from the Craft other than see his son follow his footsteps of his own free will and accord!”
Which also reminds the aging cat of on adage on immortality that eloquently says:
“Plant a tree, write a book, sire a son”, and confidently he knew he has done all three. And gee whiz, isn’t it better that on the last-mentioned word, he has produced not only one but two?!”