Having family in North Platte, I read the article “Masonic Lodge celebrating 150 years in 2020” (Telegraph, Jan. 19). About five years ago, I made it my goal to visit a stated meeting of Platte Valley Masonic Lodge No. 32 in North Platte.
I had a variety of reasons. Mainly, it was because my great-grandfather George White had sat in a lodge meeting in Nebraska with William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who joined that lodge. The two became friends for decades. My late grandmother Dora (White) Marples, born in 1891, even had a tintype of her father and Cody together, each on horseback. Over 20 years ago, I had visited Scout’s Rest Ranch and, about the same time, visited Cody’s grave at Lookout Mountain, Colorado.
The date I picked to visit North Platte was a 102-degree day in June, and it was the date of the annual “outdoor degree” held at a nearby ranch. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Beforehand, I was given a tour of the current Masonic building. With all the new friendships, new fellowships and historic ambiance, I consider it one of the most memorable lodge visitations I have ever done.
I am a life member of a Masonic Lodge at Mulvane, Kansas; a Knight Templar York Rite Mason in Wichita, Kansas; and a Scottish Rite Mason in Lincoln. I joined at age 18. Now I’m age 56. I’m a fifth-generation Freemason. My late dad would tell me: “Jimmy, where you find Masons, you find friends.” How true.
I salute the Masonic Lodge and related groups in North Platte on serving the community for 150 years and hopefully for many, many more years to come. Masonic degrees are essentially lessons in ethics and character-building. Every Mason believes in Almighty God and the fraternity really isn’t a secret society, but more of a “friendship society.” It gives me a great feeling to see virtually the same ceremonies my great-grandfather saw in the 1800s.
James A. Marples