As a toddler living in the remote reaches of Oregon, I had limited contact with other children. My closest friend was my dog Trinket.
By age four, my father let me roam freely through the surrounding forests and fields with our trusty canine. Under his tutelage, I attuned myself to the sights, sounds and smells of nature as well as imbibing the dog’s instinct for sensing danger and imbalance. Little did I know at the time that these basic skills would develop into the ability to perceive what was lurking in the minds of those I would meet during my life.
My school years included the normal peer pressures associated with growing up. I quickly learned to avoid certain people and came to understand that there were various social cliques where I was not welcome.
In the eighth grade, I befriended a lad I’ll call Bob G. His father was the caretaker of a very large estate and after school, I’d spend the afternoons helping Bob with his chores.
For some reason I always had the feeling that something was out of balance with Bob’s dad. Although I helped Bob as a favor, his dad never acknowledged my presence and referred to me in the third person. The situation with his mother was somewhat similar and even though she was civil to me, I got the feeling that I was a square peg in a round hole when either of his parents was there.
One Friday, I invited Bob to go skating with me the next day and he told me that his Saturdays were reserved for something called DeMolay.
Puzzled I asked my dad about this. In my eyes he was a war hero, teacher and sage all rolled into one. That evening, after supper, I said, “Hey dad, what’s DeMolay?”
To my surprise, he seemed to turn into a pillar of salt for about thirty seconds then, he looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Where did you hear that?”
At that point, I knew for sure I was in for one of dad’s serial styled lectures.
That night’s introduction to Freemasonry covered the basic aspects of secret societies in general as well as the deleterious reasons for their existence.
Although not a Mason himself, his knowledge of their passwords, signs and handshakes was quite expansive. When I inquired as to how he knew all this “stuff”, his answer made it quite plain that he’d learned it “the hard way”, primarily from being on the “wrong end of the stick” as he put it.
I went to bed with a million thoughts bouncing around in my head. True to fashion, during the subsequent weeks and months, my dad would pick up the discussion of Masonry whenever something we passed on the road triggered his thoughts.
One time he pointed out a window sticker on a car ahead of us and explained that the funny symbol shaped like a golf club with a ball on each side of it was a secret Masonic sign indicating that the owner was a member.
Suddenly Masonic signs and emblems seemed to be everywhere yet nowhere at all unless you knew what to look for. Masonic Temples and Lodges, cloaked in windowless anonymity, melded seamlessly into their environment. Members of the organization seemed to be everywhere; government, the clergy, the trades, business, sports and law.
Each one of them appeared to be the same as any other man unless you could detect the subtle spoken phrases that passed between them or the fleeting, seemingly innocuous gesture.
A simple handshake, if watched closely, seemed to have a completely different meaning when shared between Masons. For the observant non-Mason, the act of a handshake with a member of a Lodge could be quite revealing.
All of this information and more came to me at the ripe old age of thirteen. Further study and reading prompted by events that took place later in my life have given me a measure of insight into what I can only describe as a conspiracy of the grandest proportions.
My eternal thanks to my late dad are in order at this point. Without his insight and his willingness to pass it on to me, I would never have been able to assemble the arsenal of knowledge required to survive in a world where the Masons seem to hold sway.