Recently my wife and I were enjoying a meal at Tralia Irish Pub near Brier Creek in Raleigh. (If you enjoy authentic Irish Food (and spirits) along with beautiful Irish Pub ambiance then give them a try.)
We were sitting at the bar and finishing a pint when a man walked in and sat down a few seats down from us. He ordered a double Tito Vodka, straight, no ice and spoke in a distinctive British accent, which is something you don't normally hear in Raleigh, and especially in an Irish Pub. The bartender commented on his choice of drink and said that it was a "man's drink". The Brit told him that he had been stationed in or near Russia for three years as a British Army officer. This was getting interesting.
A few moments later one of the waiters approached the British man and gave him a covered handshake and said "Hello, brother". Now my interest was really piqued. I listened more intently now and my wife knew something was up.
"What are they talking about?" she asked.
"I'm not sure but I think they may be my brothers." She knew what I meant.
I could hear but little of their conversation, but a few words broke through the din of background conversations and music of the pub and I distinctly heard the words "Raleigh 500" and "Temple". Now I was sure of it.
I got up and went over and introduced myself and affirmed that they were indeed brother masons and we all shook hands in that ancient manner whereby one Mason may know another in the darkness as in the light.
We all talked for just a few minutes before our brother who was working there had to get back to the other customers, and, Brother Mark A.J. Lasalle from London, England, and I talked for just a few minutes more.
He told me that he was from London, England and that he and his wife lived in Raleigh but were moving to Williamsburg, Virginia and that he was either planning to or had already petitioned Alexandria Lodge #22 (George Washington's lodge). I told him of my love for Williamsburg and that my wife and I would be there in October. He gave me a business card and told me to give him a call when we were coming. I told him I would and I plan to. He went back to his Tito and I went back to my seat.
Shortly after that my wife and I decided it was time to go but I made sure to tell my brothers goodbye. I shook their hands and gave them each a hug and commented how wonderful it was to meet them and how cool it was to meet a brother from London in an Irish Pub in Raleigh, NC.
I've had the pleasure to meet other brothers just like this and each time I do it really brings Freemasonry and that sense of brotherhood home to me and it also brings to mind that night over 25 years ago when I was raised a Master Mason upon the F. P. of F. and the word that was whispered in my ear....what was it? "Brother", perhaps?