By John "Corky" Daut
To; Mr Wheeler Neil Daut
I haven't talked to you in a long time. Let's see, it was on the 18th day of April 1982, the day before you died. I'm not sure if you will know about this letter, but it's the only way I know that may work. I can only hope that you can read this letter over my shoulder as I type and know what I would love to tell you in person. Not an awful lot has changed in the 11 years since you passed on, except we are all older. There has been one major event in my life however that I wanted to share with you.
I have finally learned the fundamental secret of Freemasonry. If the teachings of Christ had never reached these shores, living up to the Masonic teachings would be the best way to get to heaven.
Do you remember how excited you were when you became a Freemason way back in the 1940's? I still do. Your enthusiasm for attending lodge meetings always let mom and I know how much you enjoyed your lodge and the fellowship of your brother Masons .
I remember how excited you were when you were raised to the Master Mason's degree and how you rushed home that night with your white lambskin apron. Somehow, the idea of being excited about something for you to be buried with, escaped me at that time.
I remember how excited you were when you went into the Scottish Rite and came home to tell us that you were now a 32nd. degree Mason . You bought a 32nd degree ring and wore it with pride. You even bought the 2 volume set of Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry to learn more about the craft.
I guess I always knew that you wanted me to become a Mason, but somehow I always fought against the idea. People (non Masons) always told me, "Hey, if you're one of them Masons , you got it made. You can really go up in the world, get promotions and everything." Somehow that always turned me off. I guess I was young and had ideals. I wanted to get ahead on my own, without someone giving it to me.
In 1960, in the first job I had with the City of Houston, a new supervisor (a Mason) reassigned me to work in his office and used my expertise about the department and my abilities to revise the operation of the department. After the work was finished and he had the credit for the increased efficiency, I was reassigned back to the streets and the supervisor brought the only Mason in the department to work on the inside. It not only hurt, but it proved to me that "those people" were right.
By 1974, I had long since transferred to a different department and been promoted first to a foreman, then to the supervisor over 90% of the department. My boss, the Assistant Director who was a Mason, had promoted me over the other Masons in our department. This changed my views on Masonry and I filled out a petition for the Mysteries of Freemasonry that year. As you probably know, for various reasons (including money) I kept delaying and never turned it in.
After your oldest grandson, John Neil became a Mason, I could see the same excitement in his eyes that I used to see with you. His eyes seamed to ask, why aren't you a Mason dad? The answer was simple. Hey, I'm in sixty four years old, and it's to late for me to start something like that. But, I was still interested and read a number of books including "Born In Blood" by John J. Robinson. That book came after your time. John Robinson is a history writer, widely respected in his field, specializing in Medieval Britain and the Crusades. and was a non-Mason. He later wrote another book, “A Pilgrim's Path", where after 5 years of research at an advanced age, he became a Mason. I was very impressed by what I read.
Sometime afterward your youngest granddaughter, Becky, got married, In a conversation one day, I ask her husband Pete why he hadn't ever became a Mason . His answer was simple, "No one ever ask me to join".
I did know enough to know that he would never ask. For some reason I took it upon myself to convince him that he should think about becoming a Mason. That's when he pulled the big one on me. "I will if you'll go in with me," he said.
After thinking about it, I decided why not. What better way could I help my daughter and her husband through life then by saying OK . . . John was overjoyed when I ask him to get petitions for Pete and I. I know now that you would have been also, if I had ask you.
Anyway, that's what I wanted you to know. I was raised to a Master Mason in the Cedar Bayou Lodge #321 in December, 3 months before my 65 birthday. Then the next July, I went through the Scottish Rite and received the 32nd. degree. Not too long after that, I was initiated into the Shrine. And, not to long after that, I joined the Humble Lodge #979 as a duel member. It was a lot closer to home.
I have to admit that when I started learning the work as an Entered Apprentice, it was just a bunch of words that I had to learn to get through the degrees. By the time I begin learning the master's work, it happened to me. Somehow, as we progressed, the words grew into sober-minded concepts and those concepts evolved into an inspiration for a new outlook on life.
Now I wish it could have been at the Cade Rothwell lodge, with you, those many years ago, but somehow I think maybe you know that.
Your Son and Belated Brother in Masonry
Hi dad, it's me again. A lot of time has passed and it's now the year 2005. I just wanted to bring you up to date. We moved to Pine Island 6 years ago on the land that was yours and mom's. I demited from Cedar Bayou #321 and Humble #749 after we moved up here and I joined the Waller Lodge #808. I also joined the Hempstead Lodge #749 as a dual member a few months later. I think you would be proud of me as I have been the Secretary for Hempstead Lodge for 6 years. I also started working through the chairs at Waller Lodge and am currently the Worshipful Master for Waller Lodge.
You know, it's a funny thing, but I feel you may already know about it. During the installation I had to make a little speech. I had a few lines in it saying that I was so sorry that you couldn't be there. I couldn't help it, and broke up when I started those lines and it was a minute or two before I could continue. Anyway, after I finished and stepped down, my sister came up and hugged me and whispered, “Dad Knows.” I don't guess I would have thought to much about it later, but after I saw the pictures, I don't know.
About Lodge Devotion 723 > In Memorial > Other Brothers supporting Lodge Devotion > Vale, Brother John "Corky" Wheeler Daut, PM, 31 March 1928 – 11 July 2016 >