I awoke this morning with very sad news. Worshipful Brother Willis Barrie had passed away.
At my initiation in Freemasonry at Victory Lodge many years ago, Uncle Bill (as he was affectionately known) was the Tyler of the Lodge. Being exceptionally nervous, having absolutely no clue what I was in for, seeing Mason after Mason walking past me into the Lodge, only making the nerves worse.
Once all the Brethren were inside, whilst hearing the opening ode being sung, Uncle Bill came to me with a reassuring smile, and told me to change into the initiate clothing. He took me to the Lodge room door, blindfolded me and knocked on the door with the heavy door knocker.
The door opened, and Uncle Bill announced me, as I entered, he gave me a squeeze on the arm, and whispered, “relax and enjoy” LOL, took me a few moments to realise what he said that very heavy Scottish accent.
Uncle Bill made my time at Victory Lodge very enjoyable, with his many anecdotes and Scottish antics.
I got to experience a brilliant depiction of the “address to the haggis” at the Brakpan Burns evening, the Scottish Lodge he belonged to.
The Old Tyler
By Rob Morris
It was a happy thought
To have these gavels wrought
By the old Tyler, for the honored Craft
Though placed without the door,
To make the Lodge secure,
You know him as a bright and polished shaft.
How many a year he’s stood,
Old Schreiner, brave and good,
And guarded you while secret works went on!
How many a Brother’s dead,
Since first his honored head
Was seen amongst you in the early June.
Can you forget him? No
His earthly form may go,
His kindly smile be hidden in the sod
But when those gavels ring,
Fond memories they will bring
Of the old Tyler gone to rest with God.
Then let his gavels sound
At every annual round,
And when you hear them think of him that gave
‘Tis but a fleeting day,
And then the Craft will say,
The Lodge has joined old Schreiner in the grave!
A knock will yet be heard,
The sheeted dead be stirred,
With all that are and have been we shall rise
Oh, may each Brother come,
Thus summoned from his tomb,
And share eternal glory in the skies!
So as a final final toast to an old friend.. “happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again”