What's in a name?
Most people never knew Ash by his true name: Master's Perfect Ashlar. Ash came to us in 2000 when I was serving as The Worshipful Master of my Masonic Lodge. I knew that I wanted him to have a name with a Masonic reference but I didn't know quite what. It was my Father-In-Law who observed that he had a very square or "block-head". The word Ashlar means a block of stone for a building. In Freemasonry we recognize that stone blocks come in two forms: "Rough" and "Perfect". In the lectures, Entered Apprentices are told:
The Rough Ashlar is a stone taken from the quarry in its rude and natural state; the Perfect Ashlar is a stone made ready by the hands of the Apprentice, to be adjusted by the working tools of the Fellow-craft; and the Trestle Board is for the Master Workman to draw his designs upon.
By the Rough Ashlar we are reminded of our rude and imperfect state of nature; by the Perfect Ashlar, of that state of perfection which we hope to attain by a virtuous education, our own endeavors, and the blessing of God; and by the Trestle Board we are reminded that as the operative workman erects his temporal building agreeably to the rules and designs laid down by the master on his Trestle Board, so should we, both operative and speculative, endeavor to erect our spiritual building agreeably to the rules and designs laid down by the Supreme Architect of the Universe, in the Great Book of Nature and of Revelation, which is our Spiritual, Moral, and Masonic Trestle Board.
I know that is heavy stuff but that's the sort of great aspirations that I had in mind for Ash...
However, he later proved to lean more toward the literal meaning than to the spiritual reference to his name. It didn't take long for him to earn the affectionate nickname "Block Head". It fit him perfectly.