A Joyful & Talented Installation



Officers to be Installed

I attended my good friend’s installation as Master of Stockyard Lodge No. 1244, Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM, Worshipful Michael Cote. Brother Cote was the Grand Lodge of Texas Grand Musician until this year. He is the only Grand Musician who has not been a piano or organ player. Cote has his own Music Company and band and performs all over in many different venues.

In an age when Masonic membership and Lodge participation are fading, Brother Cote put on a truly heartwarming example of the Masonic community coming together to celebrate Freemasonry! That is something near and dear to my heart. If we celebrate our Freemasonry, we encourage others to join in and inspire the Craft to new heights. This in an open Installation where the public can come and can be a very important means of attracting new Brothers.

Michael Cote Installed as Master

Brother Cote asked the current Grand Musician, Past Master Carl Chalfant to install him and the complete line of officers. Chalfant came all the way from Houston to do this for his good friend. Chalfant is a well-known piano player and can really tickle the ivories when it comes to Honkey-Tonk music, although he is well versed in all styles. In addition, well known Fiddle player and another old friend of Cote, Brother Tommy Hughes, who is a member of Glen Rose Lodge No 525 and a member of the Michael Cote Band, attended the installation.

DeMolay was represented, most notably by Brother Michael Cote II who is Master Councilor of Malvern Marks Chapter in Fort Worth and District Deputy State Master Councilor of District 2 of the Texas DeMolay Association.

Brother Michael Cote II is escorted into Lodge by Sister Kendal Clark

Rainbow was represented, most notably, by Sister Kendal Clark, the Texas DeMolay Sweetheart as well as the Grand Treasurer of the Grand Assembly of Texas.

DeMolay Brothers presented the colors to the Altar, US Flag and Texas State Flag and we all recited the Pledge of Allegiance to both. The Rainbow girls escorted each officer to be installed into the Lodge Room as their name and office was announced.

Also present were a large contingent of Eastern Star Ladies who prepared a nice selection of light food and Iced Tea.

DeMolay presents the Colors


Rainbow Sisters








Two presentations were made to the newly installed Worshipful Master. Sister Clark performed the Gavel Ceremony below. She did a fine job and all from memory and showed her outstanding qualities as a leader.

Worshipful Michael Cote, this gavel I hold in my hands is the age-old symbol of the authority of this office.

When you accept this gavel, you will accept all its wrappings. These wrappings, just like the color stations, are seven in number. They are invisible. You cannot see them, but they are just as real as the gold and the enamel that cover the wood (or plastic) of which this gavel is made.

The first of these wrappings is that of responsibility. This Assembly is now your responsibility. Your responsibility is to see that it thrives and grows while you are in office.

The second wrapping is that of loyalty. Members of this Assembly will without doubt be loyal to you, but it is far more important that you be loyal to them.

The third is that of love. Just as you have been reared in love, let that same love flow from you to all members of this Assembly. Love is like a pebble dropped in a still pond. The waves of love will radiate from their origin and will spread to encompass everything and everyone around you.

Then there is the wrapping of humility. Do not be overly proud, for you occupy this office, not by your work alone, but by the efforts of all those assembled around you.

The next wrapping you will find is the wrapping of those twins that always go hand in hand, justice and fairness. Just as a judge wields his gavel with those two great virtues in mind, so must you always strive to be fair and just.

And then, down underneath, you will find the innermost and finest wrapping of all is that of reverence. Our entire Order is founded on God. Without Him, you can do nothing. With Him, there is nothing you cannot do.

It is with deep humility, and yet with great pride that I now present, this gavel to you.


Sister Kendal Clark presents newly installed Master with his gavel








The second presentation was by yours truly:

I am Freemasonry
by Ray V. Denslow

I was born in antiquity, in the ancient days when men first dreamed of God.

I have been tried through the ages and found true.

The crossroads of the world bear the imprint of my feet, and the cathedrals of all nations mark the skill of my hands.

I strive for beauty and for symmetry.

In my heart is wisdom and strength and courage for those who ask.

Upon my altar is the Book of Holy Writ, and my prayers are to the One Omnipotent God.

My sons work and pray together, without rank or discord, in the public mart and in the inner chamber.

By signs and symbols, I teach the lessons of life and of death and the relationship of man with God and of man with man.

My arms are widespread to receive those of lawful age and good report who seek me of their own free will.

I accept them and teach them to use my tools in the building of men, and thereafter, find direction in their own quest for perfection so much desired and so difficult to attain.

I lift up the fallen and shelter the sick.

I hark to the orphan’s cry, the widow’s tears, the pain of the old and destitute.

I am not church, nor party, nor school, yet my sons bear a full share of responsibility to God, to country, to neighbor and themselves.

They are freemen, tenacious of their liberties and alert to lurking danger.

At the end I commit them as each one undertakes the journey beyond the vale into the glory of everlasting life.

I ponder the sand within the glass and think how small is a single life in the eternal universe.

Always have I taught immortality, and even as I raise men from darkness into light, I am a way of life.

I am Freemasonry.

Past Master Frederic L. Milliken makes his presentation

Past Master Frederic L. Milliken makes his presentation







Past Master Frederic L. Milliken makes his presentation


Installation picture

The installation being over we posed for pictures and retired to the dining room for fun, food, and fraternalism





While dining, Past Grand Musician Worshipful Michael Cote, present Grand Musician Brother Carl Chalfant and Brother Tommy Hughes entertained us with some real down home music. Cote sang “King of the Road” and many of us joined in to sing along with him.

Cote, Chalfant and Hughes entertain in the dining room

All that was left was the cutting of the cake, the thank yous and the hugs and the promise to never forget the good time had by all and then making the intention of gathering again with Stockyard Lodge No 1244.



I lingered as long as I could not wanting this moment in time to end. Alas, all good things must end, UNTIL YOU DO THEM AGAIN.


Wor. Michael Cote’s music company and band can be accessed on the Music Company website: http://www.michaelcotemusic.com/ and his Music Face Book page: https://www.facebook.com/MCoteMusic/







Fort Worth, Texas Masonic Temple

The Secret Of A Successful Masonic Lodge

Fort Worth, Texas Masonic Temple

How is your Masonic Lodge doing?

Is it dying? How many candidates have you raised in the last year? Have you analyzed what you are doing wrong and what you are doing right?

How is your retention? Do you raise Brothers that never come back? Or are they gone after about three months?

Are you raising Masons that shouldn’t be there just because you hastily gave them a petition? Are you raising Masons who are applying before they are ready to accept what it means to be a Mason? Are you raising Masons that do not fit into the peace and harmony of your Lodge? Do you have a really good Investigating-Petitioning process that screens out those that won’t fit and those who will quit?

Do you have a good mentoring system, not only for those who are going through the degrees but Master Masons in their first year and beyond if needed?

Brother Rhit Moore

Meet Brother Rhit Moore who suffered through three meltdowns of his Lodge before he got wise. Brother Moore will explain to you what he and other committed members of his Lodge implemented the fourth time around to create a successful Lodge. He will explain how his Lodge raises 20 to 40 new Master Masons every year who stay.

Brother Moore doesn’t have a magic wand. He learned what needed to be done the hard way. But he and other members of Fort Worth Lodge learned from their mistakes and kept on trying. Now they have a system that works for them and Fort Worth Lodge is in a new renaissance.

Maybe you need to watch the video above!

Fort Worth, Texas Masonic Temple

Masonic Knife Artist: Jim McBeth

Brother Jim McBeth, Masonic Knife Craftsman

Meet  another great Masonic artisan Jim McBeth, owner of McBeth Knives where you can buy a unique, one-of-a-kind, custom-made, fixed-blade knife with the Square & Compasses Masonic Emblem actually embedded in the handle.  McBeth, a Past Master of Plano Lodge #768, Grand Lodge of Texas, moved from the greater Dallas area in 2008 to the Hill Country, near San Antonio, and then decided in 2012 to formally retire a second time from Real Estate (the first time was after 30 years with Texas Instruments in Dallas).  His son-in-law and granddaughter are frequenters of gun and knife shows and on one occasion McBeth went along. After looking over all the knife exhibits his son-in-law asked him if he thought he could make knives as good as those he had seen at the show and he became convinced that he could.

McBeth did not want to build his own forge and stand over a hot furnace all day, so he scoured the nation for a supplier of knife blanks – essentially the naked blade. He insisted on top quality high grade steel. If he was going to produce a knife to sell, the first thing to avoid was those people that used junk steel. Obtaining top quality knife blanks is McBeth’s first step in the knife making process.

Most of the custom knives  McBeth produces are fixed blade hunting and sportsman knives with full tang handles as opposed to hidden tangs.  As a layman in this business of knife making I would describe the tang as the steel extension at the beginning of the blade to which the handle is attached. A handle for a knife with a hidden tang would be made from a block of wood (or stag horn or other piece of bone) of which the middle has been hollowed out and into when the tang slides.  A full tang is one where two separate pieces of wood (known as ‘scales’) are attached to each side of the tang. They are attached by metal pins and McBeth makes his own mosaic pins. He describes the process thusly:

“Handles are secured to the knife with “pins”, so to further accentuate the knife I decided to create my own “pins” with “Mosaic” patterns to use when possible in my knives.  The material I use for these pins include rods of Brass, Copper, Stainless Steel and Aluminum.  I arrange the various sizes of these rods in patterns to create a ‘mosaic’ for each particular knife.”

McBeth also uses two different  kinds of knife blanks – stainless steel and Damascus steel. I think we all know what stainless steel is all about but Damascus steel is another story.

Damascus steel is layered steel forming a pattern. Again McBeth fills us in:

“Damascus patterns include Ladder, Raindrop, Twist, Herringbone just to name a few.  The “blanks” that I use are made from multiple bars of 1095 Carbon steel and multiple bars of high Nickel 15N20 steel creating between 175 and 250 layers in whatever pattern the “maker” decided.”

The next step in the knife making process is the handle which starts with the scales. The handle is the finished product. The scales are small pieces of wood from which the handle is fashioned.  McBeth chooses to make his handles from scales of exotic woods because of the beauty and patterning in their grain. Some of these “Exotics” imported from various countries around the world, include Cocobolo Rosewood, Zebrawood, Canarywood, Red Heart, Bocote, Leopardwood, Bubinga, Wenge, Amboyna, Rosewood Burl, just to name a few.  Two examples are pictured below.

Once the scales have been fitted to the handle with the chosen knife pins, McBeth must then fashion and shape them to the knife’s handle design.  Then he must go through the long sanding process starting with 80 grit sandpaper and going up to 400 grit; and then finishing off with micro-mesh sanding using 1500 grit through 12,000 grit. Finally, the knife handle is ready for staining followed by sealing, polishing and waxing.

The Masonic emblem of choice is then embedded in the handle and the blade is oiled and in the case of Damascus steel, waxed.

This was the end of the process of making a custom knife until a few months ago. McBeth

started getting a demand for a sheath for his knives. After much searching and some trial and error he found a husband-wife team in Mississippi that hand make sheaths for knives. So most of his knives today are shipped with a companion sheath.

Recently McBeth has added a Masonic concho to his sheaths consisting of the Square & Compasses Masonic symbol.  A concho is an ornamental metal (or other compound) disk often of Spanish or Native American Indian origin. McBeth found a supplier with a great looking “Texas” Masonic concho that adds to the Masonic flavor of the now fully dressed Masonic custom McBeth knife.

And that describes a premium product with a process that is truly outstanding. Everything

about a McBeth knife exudes high end quality. McBeth never settles for second best in all the processes that go into the finished product. He is not trying to make a $79.95 knife for Wal-Mart.  When you buy a McBeth knife you may be equally happy in just displaying it as well as actually using it.  McBeth believes that at the moment, no other knife-maker is providing Masons with a custom fixed-blade knife emblazoned with the Masonic symbol of the Square & Compasses.

It is easy to see why McBeth is so successful at whatever he turns his mind to. He has an inquisitive mind, a charming personality, a dogged determination and great pride and enthusiasm in what he sets out to accomplish. If McBeth doesn’t make millions, it won’t bother him. What he will take the most satisfaction from is on never cutting corners and always acting upon the level and parting upon the square.

Visit McBeth’s website at – McBeth Custom Masonic Knives