Did you know prior to 1896 all Masons wore a hat at Lodge meetings? It was a symbol of freedom and equality. The top hat was first seen in 1797. Though wearing a top hat by the Master has become part of our custom, there are examples of other styles of hats.
Let’s focus on the man under the hat who one day knocked at our door. In an ideal world, he studied Freemasonry and is familiar with his Lodge and its members. He set to memory over six million words. He has a working knowledge of the California Masonic Code. Now, he is responsible for our future.
Who knows were the man in the hat came from? Each Master brings different gifts, whatever his background. When he started, he was not fully prepared for this moment. But in his wondrous bag of Masonic lessons; he opens our lives to the potentials and reward of wisely and usefully employing the resources available to us.
The first duty of any Mason is to serve. The person who needs our service most is the man in the hat. It is easy to say the Master is not doing a good job, but hard to remember who voted for him. It is often overlooked how much better a person can do if he has positive support. To a large extent, the success or shortcomings of the man in the hat is not the man but the Lodge. When he is successful the Lodge rejoices in its achievements. If he falls short, he carries the weight of what we might have enjoyed.
Much wiser to serve and support the man in the hat. The Third degree says “…among whom no contention should ever exist…”. “…to aid, support and protect each other…” (First degree). The man under the hat enters a world similar to walking into a house for the first time. He only has his understanding of Freemasonry and hopefully a Masonic Family to support him.
When the man in the hat is done, Freemasonry continues to teach valuable life lessons and hopefully our “day” was better because of the man in the hat.

Martin Kloess, P.M.