Well, we left Indy at ohmygod-30 a week ago, after having gotten up at around BMNT to meet the bus, and got back around 7:30 last night. In between was a bus trip with 31 of our best friends (well, if they weren’t when we left, they were by the time we got back). The tour was to Washington, DC, to attend the 200th Anniversary Annual Meeting of the Supreme Council, 33°, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.
And if you haven’t figured that out from the rather ham-handed references in previous posts, below, I pity you.
At any rate, on Tuesday afternoon I duded up in tails and pique shirt, waistcoat and tie, and was coroneted a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33°, and Honorary Member of the Supreme Council, 33°, AASR-NMJ, along with 156 other candidates from around the NMJ. (Think, “The Union states”. It’s the states north of the Mason-Dixon and the Ohio River, and east of the Mississippi, 15 states in all.) And yes, as soon as I get the pictures off of Sally’s camera, there will be a picture of my extreme dudedness. Assuming it did not break the camera.
[LATER: It didn’t.
This was after the degree and our two-block walk back from the Warner Theatre to the JW Marriott where the banquet was subsequently held. At this point I’ve been in the tails for nearly six hours. It was another four before I was able to get out of them. Note the wife’s lovely purple gown and Mary Poppins parrot-head cane.]
What’s the 33rd Degree?
The Thirty-third Degree, which is the highest Degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, can only be awarded by a Supreme Council and cannot be applied for. It is given to those Thirty-second Degree members who have performed outstanding services for the Fraternity, or for service to humanity that brings great credit upon the Fraternity. Less than 1% of all Scottish Rite Masons are recipients of the 33°.
As you can tell from the souvenir program, they kept us rather busy for three days.
I can’t tell you anything about the degree ceremony itself, of course, but it was extremely meaningful and patriotic.* However there is nothing quite like the pre-ceremony with 1600 men and brothers cheering and screaming for all they’re worth…just to honor you and the rest of the class. Nor is there anything quite like the ringing ceremony.**
On Wednesday, we got up AGAIN at oh-dark-30 to switch hotels, from the Grand Hyatt in downtown DC to the Embassy Suites Alexandria. On the way there, we stopped at Ben’s Chili Bowl for breakfast. This is no sh*t, but when we got back on the bus, the Rev. Jesse Jackson was sitting in the restaurant having his own breakfast. I refrained from commenting in re my earlier post on this blog. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and maybe he hadn’t had his that day. Or any number of other days. But I digress. The half-smokes were AMAZING.
Following breakfast, we had a bus tour of some of the many monuments in the city, including the Korean, WWII, Lincoln, and Vietnam memorials, as well as the Kennedy Center, which our guide informed us was more or less the defacto Kennedy Memorial these days. I had not been to the WWII memorial yet so that was rather emotional. As was the Korean memorial…because one of the men whose picture is engraved on it was a member of our group.
(It’s a picture of Frank and his brother, who served together throughout the Korean War. And no, they have no idea how it was chosen for the Memorial.) This took a while, because it was apparently Million Korean Tourist Day on the Mall, and when the Koreans milling around realized what was going on, we almost could not get him away, because they all wanted to take his picture.
We also toured the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (no free samples, damn it) and got to watch our worthless paper fiat money being printed. It was kind of cool to see the workers printing the new $100
bills notes that haven’t yet been released in the wild, though.
And we also went to the National Archives to see the revered documents on display there. That was very cool, even if our elected officials ignore them every day. Maybe they should visit more often. The National Archives also has a “Public Vault” where they display a number of artifacts from our nation’s history, and that is also cool. Emulating Nicholas Cage, I did in fact buy a copy of the Constitution (as well as the Declaration and the Bill of Rights) from the gift shop. I did not ask the cashier if she had sold one to Nicholas Cage (although I was tempted).
Finally, we toured the Newseum, which is very cool even if it’s a production of the lying traitorous mainstream media in this beknighted country. And I did find something in the gift shop there that one of our local bloggers will no doubt appreciate.
It was a very long day and we were happy to get to the hotel around 4PM. The Embassy Suites Alexandria is located in the shadows of this structure:
Shot from our hotel room window, this is the George Washington Masonic Memorial on Shooter’s Hill in Alexandria, Virginia. The plan was for us to go up to the observation deck to see Washington, DC, at night, but an ill-timed thunderstorm nixed that plan. So we got a tour of the lower floors of the Memorial instead.
And yes, you can see that Masonic square and compass from space. Well, almost.
If this building looks somehow familiar to you, you might want to go find an illustrated list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. We’ll be right here when you get back.
That night we had dinner at Gadsby’s Tavern, which was frequented by George Washington when he came visiting from Mount Vernon…which by the way we toured on Thursday. While at Gadsby’s we did in fact eat in the room shown on the front page of their website, the one with the wild banquet brawl painting in the manner of Hogarth. And this is what most of us had:
That was NOT by any means the largest cut of prime rib they foisted on us. And there ARE buttery mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic underneath the far end of that piece of meat. The cut they tried to give Sally was as big as the plate. She demurred and they gave her a smaller one that she still couldn’t finish. I couldn’t finish THIS one. And my God it was a sin to leave what I left. But I had to have room for the gingerbread dessert. As you see there was also an English trifle; I’m not a fan of fruit desserts other than apple pie, but Sally had the trifle and pronounced it delish.
As noted above, on Thursday we toured Mount Vernon. Very cool. No way can you see it all in a single day, and we didn’t.
Yesterday we got up before BMNT (have you noticed a pattern about our days?) and ate breakfast, packed the bus, and got the hell out of Dodge.
It’s good to be home. And I have a new sooper-sekrit 33rd Degree decoder ring, too!***
* And never spoke once about ruling the world or sacrificing babies on an altar to Baphomet in the name of Albert Pike at the Bohemian Grove, or anything like that at all. In case you were wondering. And if you were, please go away and don’t come back.
** Yes, I will be wearing the ring tomorrow at the blogmeet so y’all can gaze upon its glorious golden effulgence.
*** Kidding. Kidding. Kidding.