April Temple Topics


Upcoming events can always been seen on the lodge website, http://www.berwynlodge.org as well as on the Berwyn Lodge Facebook page maintained by Bro. Alejandro Cabral. Some notable upcoming events in the next month include:

April 26 – Past Masters’ Night (RSVP by April 12 to W.Bro. Luisito Fanlo, Bro. Alejandro Cabral & Bro. Gadiel Levi, or by email at berwynlodge839sec@gmail.com)

May 3 – Second degrees

May 10- Stated meeting

May 24 – Stated meeting

May 31 – Masonic fellowship night at Olive or Twist restaurant in Berwyn

June 14 – Annual meeting and election of officers

July 10 – Installation of officers


Masonic Mystery

We now return you the Case of the Golden Gavel, dedicated to the late W. B. Stan Freese. I imagine the angels have a new accompanist up there…


The Case of the Golden Gavel (part 2)

By Alan Schwartz

(Copyright 2008, all rights reserved)


…But before the delegates could make any motion toward the front door, Tom Firth, Rolando Gavallo, and Bill Gonzales, three of Socratic’s larger members, were leaning against it, eyeing the visitors steadily…

“Brothers.” Sam Haywain stepped forward. He held up the thin index fingers of each hand and the men around him fell silent. “We’re all Masons here. Let’s just calm down and go over the events of the evening again. Maybe there’s something we’re missing. Now, as I remember it, you fellows from Acacia brought the Gavel here and had it with you when we opened the lodge at 7 o’clock, right?”

Douglas nodded. “Yes, Brother Organist. It was with us until we made the presentation.”

“That’s what I remember, too,” Haywain agreed. “Everyone else remember that?”

“Of course we do,” Firth, the Junior Decaon, grumbled. “We were all there watching the presentation. Well, all except Matt.”

“I’m the tyler,” Matt countered. “It’s my job to be outside the meeting, preventing the unworthy from entering.”

“Yes, that’s right, Brother Tyler,” Haywain said, holding up one hand in a placating gesture. “You were doing your duty outside the lodge door. Now, at the presentation, our Worshipful visitor arose, and walked across the lodge room to the East. Bro. Douglas said a few words about the Gavel, and handed it to Bro. Smith.”

“It was more than just a few words,” corrected Gavallo. “He talked about how Acacia had the Gavel for fourteen years, how hard it would be to lose, and how he looked forward to seeing it again. It sounded to us like he meant that Socratic Lodge didn’t deserve the Gavel and he’d be damned if we got it!”

“That’s not what I meant!” Douglas retorted. ” Of course we wish we’d gotten to keep it, but you deserve it for all your hard work. That part about seeing it again, that was a joke! ”

“I don’t know,” added Gonzales, “You looked pretty unhappy to me. Maybe you don’t think any other lodge really deserves it.” Firth nodded his head.

“Look, maybe we’re a little sad to see it go, sure, and even a little sore to have lost it, but we’re Masons. We meet on the level and act by the plumb.”

“Hmm, yes. I think I’ve heard that somewhere,” Haywain broke in. He ran a hand through his carefully arranged hair, short and black. “So what happened next? Brother Smith accepted the Gavel, and thanked Brother Douglas. The delegation resumed their seats. I was playing as they walked back, so I didn’t see exactly what happened to the gavel then.”

“I handed it to Jim, who placed it on his desk where it could be seen during the meeting,” Smith said. “And there it remained until we closed the lodge, and headed downstairs to the dining room. That was at 7:48; I remember looking at my watch.”

Haywain nodded. “And so the Brethren left the Lodge Room, and Brother Tyler began his work of cleaning it up, collecting the officers’ jewels, and the four rods, and the other lodge furniture to lock up in the tyler’s room outside the west door of the lodge.”

“Hey,” the Senior Warden of Socratic Lodge interjected. “That means that your tyler was the only one who was in that room. Shouldn’t we be asking him about it?”

Ortiz bristled, but Haywain stopped him from snapping back with another upraised hand. “I’m sure that your tyler, like ours, can’t collect everything at once, and finds himself leaving the lodge room for several minutes at a time, and re-entering. And as you know, there is another door to our lodge room, near the secretary’s desk in the east.”

“Yes,” Douglas agreed, laying his hand on his Senior Warden’s shoulder. “Anyone could have gone in and out quickly while no one else was there.”

“Hmm, yes. Well, not exactly,” Haywain added, pausing briefly. “In fact, not exactly on two counts. First, no one from outside the building could have entered; those doors were still locked. Moreover, the senior officers – of both lodges –were in each other’s company when they went down to dinner, right? ”

Smith and Douglas looked at once another, and each nodded. “That’s a telling point,” Smith added loudly. “Surely our distinguished visitors could not have been in two places at once.”

“But not a perfect point,” Douglas added. “Most of us used the washroom at some point before dinner.”

“Still,” Smith frowned grimly. “it seems most likely that one of our own members took it!”

“Yes, that seems like the logical conclusion, embarrassing though it will be to our Lodge when the story spreads,” Haywain agreed.

“Are we sure Brother Jim didn’t take it with him?” Smith asked hopefully.

“Quite sure,” responded Haywain, “because of my second ‘not exactly’. You see, after Lodge was closed, not all of the brethren left the room. There was another brother in the room, who was there while Matt was busy collecting and organizing, and who was there while someone came in and took the Gavel.”

“Who?” Ortiz challenged. “I didn’t see anyone else in here.”

Faces turned quizzically toward Haywain.

“Me,” the organist replied quietly. “And you didn’t see me because I was sitting at my station, behind the organ, with the music stand up. I raised it to hold some new arrangements I was puzzling over and trying out.”

“But I didn’t hear the organ playing,” Ortiz said.

“That’s because it was turned off. I didn’t particularly want to disturb the dining room by fumbling through a new piece. And when the organ’s off, the keys make no sound.”

“So you know who did it? Who was it?”

“Let’s consider the potential motive for such an act. The Golden Gavel is unique, and would be difficult to hide or pawn; it’s also just not that valuable in a financial sense. So a pecuniary motive seems unlikely. If the Gavel showed up at another Lodge, it would be quickly identified and questioned – after all, one of the oldest Masonic privileges is visitation of other lodges, and not only do our members take full and regular advantage of it, but Acacia Lodge in particular receives visitors from throughout the state because of its officers’ well-known ritual proficiency. That tends to rule out our distinguished brothers from Acacia. And, of course, Brother Tyler doesn’t benefit from calling our attention to the loss if he is responsible.

“If the motive isn’t really theft, perhaps the act was impetuous, rather than truly felonious. And in that case, I would hate to see the impetuous brother forever stigmatized – if not tried and expelled from the Fraternity.”

Murmurs again ran through the gathered brethren.

“So, my brothers, and with your permission, Worshipful, I suggest that we provide an opportunity to the impetuous brother to return the Gavel without stigma.”

Smith thought for a moment before nodding. “Very well, Brother Organist. How shall we arrange that?”

“First, we must all agree that if the Gavel is returned, the matter is finished, and the events of this evening should not become the subject of idle chatter. That would cast a general suspicion on everyone present tonight and on Socratic Lodge as a whole. So, tonight’s events remain lodged in your faithful breasts, yes?”

A murmur of agreement spread through the room.

“The tyler’s room has a door to the candidate preparation room, which has a door to the Lodge room. I suggest that you, Worshipful, stand in the tyler’s room. Blindfold each of the other brothers of Socratic Lodge, and send them into the preparation room. Each of us has been a blindfolded candidate at one time, and knows how to find the Lodge room door. Each blind brother will exit through the Lodge room door, where Worshipful Brother Douglas will wait, and take their hoodwink off once the door is closed behind them. When all have been through, I expect we’ll find the Golden Gavel in the preparation room and the embarrassment to Socratic Lodge avoided.”


The Golden Gavel, six inches long and weighing no more than a pound, had little ornamentation on its gilded exterior. The handle smooth and uniform, and the head distinguished only by the words “Golden Gavel Traveling Award” engraved around it and a square-and-compass design engraved on the striking surface. Smith turned it over in his hand as he joined Haywain at the anteroom display case. Nearly all the brethren and visitors had left for the night.

Locking the award behind the thick glass, the Master turned to Haywain. “How did you know that would work?”

“It was clear to me that only one motive made sense. The Gavel was taken out of a desire to cast suspicion on Acacia Lodge, as a rash response to their Master’s admittedly double-edged words at the presentation. To make Acacia look bad. But once it became clear that the culprit could be identified and that doing so would lead to greater embarrassment for our Lodge, I was pretty confident that he would regret his hasty action and be eager to restore the Gavel.”

“Someone upset with Bro. Douglas’s speech. Firth, Gavallo, or Gonzales?”

“Or all three. Remember that Gavallo said ‘It sounded to us like he meant that Socratic Lodge didn’t deserve the Gavel.’ To us, not to me. But perhaps he was just speaking loosely.”

“But you know, don’t you? You were there, and you were right about the motive Shouldn’t you tell me who it was, so I can keep an eye on whichever of them were involved?”

“As a matter of fact, I’m particularly glad that the Gavel was returned, because I have no idea who took it.”

“But you said you were there, in the room.”

“And that helped convinced the guilty party to do the right thing.”

“You mean you lied about being there?”

“By no means. But you see, the organ’s music stand is not a one-way mirror. Yes, I was there, and unseen, but at the same time, I could see nothing myself.”




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