Years ago I was a little boy watching my grandpap, daddy and some of their buddies playing cards. There was always plenty of trash talking, whiskey sippin’ and laughter. This was the after work life of bricklayers who worked hard all day at their trade spreading mortar and pressing bricks into place, laying them bricks “hard to the line”.
I had watched these men many times in my young life but today was the first day I noticed something I had never noticed before. They were all wearing rings with the same exact design on those rings. I told myself I would have to ask my daddy what the design was.
I never got to ask my daddy what that design was as I had gotten distracted like many young boys do, and before I ever thought about it again, my daddy was dead. I was 14 years of age, having only begun to truly learn my trade, the “family trade”, in earnest. That “family trade”, the mason trade, had gone back to at least the early 1800’s in my paternal line and is often referred to as bricklaying, or operative masonry as I know and understand it now.
I was to learn later in my lifetime that my daddy, my grandfather, and those men that I had come to respect during my formative years were all giving me life lessons, lessons to live a true moral life by. It took many years to actually learn my trade as a bricklayer, many more to understand the lessons taught, and a little longer to understand the symbolism they cryptically managed to conceal within those lessons they shared with me.
What I have come to value was that these men all gave me what had been given to them; a healthy fear of our Creator, a sincere love and respect of my family, and an appreciation for the trade that I wanted to learn (and that they were willing to teach me).
Over the last 25 years of my life as a member of the Ancient Order of Free & Accepted Masons I may have seen and experienced a little more than most of those who hold membership. While much of it has been positive, even the negative experiences have held educational or instructive value after having had time to digest, reflect and contemplate lessons learned.
It is these many learned lessons I AM compiling into my current work project. While I do hope that readers will find value in my shared work, this work has and is somewhat therapeutic for me personally.
See, I now not only have a good sense of understanding of who I AM as a man, I have a much better understanding of who my father, grandfather, and all male ancestors before me were as men also. After all, I see them every day when I look into the mirror at myself.
I have finished the genealogy and historical research needed, and have begun the actual work of writing my first draft. I look to have this personal project completed and published by December 2016 owing solely to the fact that I have a number of other commitments and writing projects in progress as well for other Masonic research groups and genealogy societies I hold membership in.
I will continue to periodically post updates or thoughts related to my pending work on this blog.
Raymond Sean Walters
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