Dylan was speechless. He sat in the station of the Senior Warden, unsure of whether he should scream, laugh, or try to wake himself from this terrible dream. He glanced to his right and caught Henry’s eye. He seemed shocked, too.
Fine, he thought. If the Lodge wants to elect the Junior Warden ahead of me, they can have him. He sure isn’t getting my help.
Henry could see the disappointment on Dylan’s face. The tellers were still tidying up from the ballot, so he took advantage of the distraction and approached Dylan.
“Smile. Be gracious and accept the Senior Warden’s chair again when the election continues,” he whispered.
“Are you kidding me? I’m done. They can have him,” Dylan hissed back.
“Trust me. Stay where you are. The Lodge needs you, just not right now. Chin up. Be classy, and we’ll talk after the meeting,” he concluded with a pat on the shoulder before he returned to his chair.
After the meeting, Henry took a seat in the corner of the fellowship hall at what he considered a safe distance from the rest of the brethren. When Dylan entered, Henry held two cups of coffee in the air as a signal to join him, which Dylan did.
“If he thinks for one second that I’m helping him, he’s lost his mind,” Dylan spat. “In fact, I’m going to do everything I can to make it miserable for him. Did you hear him? A Mardi Gras party? Yeah, right. Oh, and a night at the theater? Gimme a break. He’s going to bankrupt the Lodge. And for what? No one is going to come.”
Henry said nothing.
“Oh, I have so many ideas,” he said, imitating the Worshipful Master elect. “I’m going to do this, that, and the other. Ha!”
Henry said nothing.
“He wants to invite the families of all the Past Masters. Are you kidding me? How are we paying for that?”
Henry said nothing.
“Yeah, and more money to grow the charity fund. Dream on.”
“Remind you of anyone?” Henry asked with his eyebrow raised.
“What? Who? Not me.”
“Yes, you. Let me remind you how we met. You were that kid who wanted to change strawberry night.”
“Yeah, but. . .”
“Don’t interrupt me. You wanted surf and turf,” Henry continued. “And what did I say?”
“You objected. Strenuously. You insisted that it was strawberry night. But that’s not the same. I’m . . .”
“Quiet. I haven’t finished. You’re so quick to talk. I wish you were quicker to listen,” Henry joked.
He was used to Henry’s snark - loved it, actually. Dylan rolled his eyes, but didn’t open his mouth.
“You wanted surf and turf. I grumbled, but I gave in. Do you know why? Don’t answer, that was rhetorical,” he added quickly, smiling. “Because you were eager and I could see you believed in it. Not only that, but we never know what will work until we try it. Your surf and turf idea was one of the best. Eva still talks about that night, and if I had been a stubborn fool and tried to undermine you, it never would have happened. Understand?”
Dylan was silent.
“That was a real question. You can talk now,” Henry said, taking another sip of his coffee.
“I don’t think they are quite the same, but I see your point,” Dylan admitted. “The bigger problem for me is that I deserved to be Worshipful Master. It was my turn.”
“There’s no such thing as your turn, at least not in the sense of it being your God-given right,” Henry said. “It’s your turn when you have the most votes, or no one opposes you. I voted for you. I’m disappointed that you didn’t win. If I’m honest though, I think you’re only going to get better the longer you’re involved. Maybe this extra year as Senior Warden will make you an even stronger Master.”
“Still, I did a lot of work,” Dylan said.
“You did. And none of it will go to waste. Your plans will keep. They will get better if you pay close attention to the things that work and the things that don’t this coming year. Learn from his mistakes, but also learn from his successes. You want to know my philosophy?” Henry asked.
“Isn’t that what you’ve been yammering at me for the last ten minutes?” Dylan quipped back with a grin.
“No matter what your current or past rank, your biggest achievement, or your strongest opinion regarding the Fraternity, you owe your complete loyalty to those in charge. Whether it’s the Master, District Deputy, the Grand Master, or the Commander-in-Chief, your duty as a Mason is to help make his vision a success. You don’t have to like everything, you don’t have to understand everything, but it’s your responsibility to carry it out to the best of your ability.
“Cathedrals had one set of plans,” he continued. Dylan could see that Henry was on his soapbox and knew better than to interrupt. He also sensed he was learning something profound. “One set. Not a set for the laborers to gripe about, another for the quarrymen to debate, and yet another for the artificers to question. Chartres would look more like something from an Escher print if that were the case. One set of plans - drawn by the Master and followed by all. That’s how Masons should work.”
Dylan was speechless. He knew Henry was right. He just stared at Henry and the fire in his eyes.
“That’s it,” Henry said. “Here endeth the sermon.”
“I never thought of it that way. And your one hundred percent right. I’ll be right back,” Dylan said. “I’m going to go offer to head up the Mardi Gras committee.”
Henry simply smiled.