Silver City, New Mexico
We came to Silver City because Mrs. Phred wanted to see Karen, one of her online friends. Silver City was established in the 1870s as a silver boom town. Geronimo was still raiding the area, hiding out in the Gila wilderness.
Karen takes us to see a Catholic cemetery in the high desert near Silver City. The graves are brightly decorated with flowers, toys, marbles, beads, wind chimes and other offerings. Most of the names are Hispanic, but there are a names like McDonald mixed in.
There is another cemetery just over the highway. It is comparatively gray and somber. The gates are closed but I see that it is a Masonic cemetery.
Curious, I try to find out about the Freemasons. The Wiki page says that there are two groups of Masons and each group refers to the other as "irregular". A man named William Morgan threatened to expose the Mason's secret rituals in Batavia, New York in 1826. He was thrown in debtors prison after a number of Masons claimed that he owed them money. Eventually, several men, reportedly Masons, bonded him out, and, some claim, drowned him in the Niagara River. This kicked of an anti-Mason movement in the US which included the formation of an anti-Mason political party that ran a candidate for President. The Wiki debate about all this seems heated and acrimonious.
The local Silver City Masons say that they do have secrets, but that mostly they are just a society (men only, thank you) who like to do good work and sometimes play "Texas Hold-Em" and have bar-b-ques..
The Nazis killed about 200,000 Masons. They had to wear an inverted red triangle in the concentration camps. Saddam Hussein also didn't like Masons and had a death penalty for any he could find. At times, the Catholic Church has also taken a strong stand against Masons. A new Masonic Lodge was established in Iraq in 2006.
At the end of my research, I know about as little about Masons as when I began. Some of their secrets are said to include handshakes and other secret recognition signals.
There is a loop up though the Gila Wilderness to the Gila Cliff Dwellers National Monument. It's a scenic byway called "The Trail of the Mountain Spirits". Maybe we'll do that today and move on tomorrow.