|Dick Kenna, Larry Merris, Pete Ruggieri|
I’ll admit that for the forty-two years I’ve been a member of the Masonic fraternity, I knew little to nothing about Tall Cedars. What I did know was their penchant for wearing the worst hats of any appendant body in Freemasonry: the pointy green hat, or pyramid, as they call it. Like any appendant body, Tall Cedars presents a play in three parts that go on and on. Following this is the capping-of-the-hat ceremony, presented by guys with pointy hats of various colors. It can get confusing. Oh, and the tassel colors are all over the place, with each color meaning something different.
It gets better. Initiations are usually held in conjunction with a ceremonial, which in Tall Cedars means a long, tedious night. And to further add to the festivities they invite your wife! Engaging in fun, frolic, and fellowship (the Tall Cedars motto) with your wife watching dutifully on the sidelines, makes for a weirdly defensive, if not embarrassing conversation, on that ride home in the car.
In 1951, when I was a seven-year-old watching Howdy Doody on TV, Tall Cedars became the first organization to align with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and has been a partner with it ever since. I’m sure millions of dollars have been raised over these sixty-five years, though I can find no accurate records to substantiate that claim. Pancake breakfasts and hoagie sales are means to fund other local projects. Family is of primary importance to Cedars, which is one of the few Masonic appendants that encourage family members to participate in projects. Remember that initial ride home in the car? Cedars had to come up with something to get back in good graces.
While I may take some liberties in poking fun at Tall Cedars and will probably continue to do so, I am absolutely proud to be a member. Pointy green hats, multi-colored tassels, goofy handshakes, and names like “Grand Tall” and “Forests” have only added more humor and purpose to my life.