As of Feburary 2016 I had never listened to a Podcast before. None. I didn't get it, I didn't understand who would want to listen to 40-yr old virgins ramble on from crappy microphones in their mom's basement. However a friend convinced me to change my opinion and to start a Podcast for a satire/news/comedy page I run called People of Lancaster. Once I heard the final produced product I was hooked and immediately thought "Hey, a Masonic Podcast would be really cool."
I immediately thought of my friend Larry Merris as my co-host. Larry is a few years my senior, I'm in my mid 40s and he's in his 70s, and has been a mentor for me since we met in the early 2000s. Larry and I worked together at Beelzebub's Call Center, aka Verizon. We soon realized that we were both Freemasons, he from South Carolina and me from Pennsylvania, and in between customer calls we'd continually chat about Freemasonry.
Enough ancient history, what to talk about in our Podcast? What would be our focus? I like to think I'm a chameleon in the Masonic world where I equally enjoy the dry and stoic personalities in the Allied Masonic Degrees, the mouth-to-ear learned ritual of Pennsylvania, or running the complete shit-show that is Ubar Grotto with 3 cocktails at the Monarch's station. I didn't want this podcast to only focus on the high-brow, lofty Masonic interpretations. I wanted this podcast to be a conversation about things like we do during our Thursday morning breakfast meetups.
Our weekly breakfast meetings have been happening for about 10 years now. It started out as a few retired masons and non-masons discussing everything from Ensure to Social Security. On rare occasions my schedule allowed me, the employed guy, to join them. As my career path evolved I started having every Thursday off and became a regular. Over time all of the non-masons slowly acquiesced and joined The Craft. The breakfast kept growing to the point now where we have brothers from 7 different Blue Lodges rotating in and out as their schedule allows. We have members of most every official Masonic organization and even some of the lesser known invite only bodies.
Our discussions range from grumpy Past Masters bitching about things not being the way they were to serious discussions on Lodge membership and finances. And seeing as it is a table full of men, occasionally (read: usually) the topics will devolve into the exploits of the single members and solving the problems of the world from politics to religion... everything we can't talk about in Lodge, by wise-regulation.
Our group is diverse. Black, white and Hispanic. (Larry H. is 1/2 African American and 1/2 Filipino, so not sure I can count that as Asian. I'll get back to you on that.) Straight and gay folks. Christians, Jews, and a few guys that kinda-sorta believe in a higher-power enough to gain them admission to Freemasonry. We have Uber drivers, rock guitarists, retired teachers, painters of all different education levels - and different experiences. Our discussions are real and heartfelt. Everyone is relaxed and isn't there to out-Mason and one-up each other, and the conversations are always great.
We aim to bring this type of discussion to our Podcast. Since February Larry and I have listened to some of the Masonic Podcasts out there like The Winding Stairs and Masonic Roundtable. We've even recently met those men last weekend at Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge. Their shows are excellent and the hosts are good Masons all. Well don't worry, our show isn't going to be like those.
We do not profess to be experts in anything. We haven't read every Masonic book out there. We aren't going to quote Albert Pike or Manley Hall. We're just some regular guys and our aim is to have our discussions on the same level as our breakfasts, unpolished and real. Hopefully our flaws and honesty will even give you a few laughs along the way.
Pete Ruggieri, PM
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