Past Grand Master, National Grand Lodge of Romania
Honorary Director, MASONIC FORUM Magazine

I met Thomas W. Jackson in February of 2004, when he first visited Romania, a short time after I was elected Grand Master. Three months later we met again in Chile, the country that hosted that year’s World Conference. Starting from that very moment, we fought many battles together without losing any of them. I don’t think that Romanian Freemasonry in particular and our country in general has ever had a more enthusiastic supporter than Tom.
We both admired the Old West and the mythology of the American Frontier, so with the help of Mike, one of the last authentic cowboys, we planned an expedition in Wyoming, on the trail of the famous Mountain Men, the hunters from the golden age of the fur trade from the first half of the 19th century. Sadly, Tom’s health had deteriorated constantly over the last years, so we never did get to put our plan into action. Three months ago I received an e-mail from him that I will now show you below, just as it was written:

“Dear Eugene,
I think that I finally came up with something I cannot beat. The Indians never scalped me and the white outlaws never shot me but I think a damn little virus will win this battle. I didn’t catch Covid but sitting around for almost two years wrecked my body.
I have had leukemia stage two for several years that has now advanced to stage three. I was in the hospital for two blood transfusions last week and now I have difficulties breathing. However, I have no regrets. I have lived for eighty-seven years and have met great people and made great friends. Eugene, it has been my privilege to include you as one of those great friends.
We never did get to ride into sunset, fight off the highwaymen or drink fire water in a Western saloon together, but we did have our good times. Don’t give up the fight. Someone has to carry the banner for the future.
Give my love to your wife.”

We said our good-byes and I prayed for him. Then I heard that he had finally found his peace.
I will stop here now because, although I am a writer, I know that these imperfect constructs we call words sometimes cannot express our feelings, no matter how we try and put them together. So long, cowboy, see you on the other side.

(Florence, January 2022)