Saturday, January 01, 2011

George Washington ...

... descending a staircase. In full Masonic regalia. Apologies to Marcel Duchamp and the entire Modernist movement.

This is one of those objects that seemed like a good idea at the time. Orphaned when the Masonic lodge in Thompson went out of business, George gathered dust with other lodge-related items for years in the former lodge rooms above what I knew as Jensen Grocery on main street.

When my friends Keith and Barb decided to pursue other interests and sold out, the whole shebang was auctioned. I'm trying to remember why I bought it --- as well as a ceremonial stand that works nicely for plants and another stand, this one emblazoned with I.O.O.F. symbols (apparently the Odd Fellows preceded the Masons in the building). This is now gathering dust (and additionl character) in the garage.

It is a very odd thing for me to have considering that I've always thought Freemasonry (and fraternal organizations in general) silly, irrelevant and of no interest whatsoever. I realize that's a lodgeophobic thing to write, but am unrepentant. It may have been that George as depicted here reminds me a little of my paternal great-grandmother, Mary Belle. I call him Georgie Belle sometimes.

Still, he worked well in the big house in Thompson and adequately when I downsized to a Mason City apartment. Here, he's been homeless, finally stashed behind a piece of furniture upstairs. Now he's downstairs again, leaning against a wall in the downstairs hall. I think he's going to go up on the wall directly in front of me now --- when I figure out where to drive a nail into a stud (George also is quite heavy).

We've come a considerable distance, George and I, and I'm reluctant to give up on him now.

There now, I've managed to write about George without making a single snarky remark about the Chariton Masonic lodge, which recently has added a pitched roof to its pristine Art Deco building thereby turning what once was an architectural treasure into a very large Morton Building with extraordinarily elaborate siding. They'll probably knock out a side wall next so combines can be stored in it.

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