Tuesday, November 3, 2009
In the far southwest corner of our state the brothers of the 41st District are fortune enough to be a short distance from the annual outdoor “Rock Quarry” degree in north Georgia, and close to the “Cave Degree” in East Tennessee. However, in order to further promote good fellowship within their own borders, Worshipful Master Preston Cabe and the Brothers of Clay Lodge 301 with assistance from surrounding lodges, took meeting in high hills and low dells to new level. One of outgoing District Deputy Grand Master Jim Hyde’s goals to promote fun and fellowship was taken to heart by the Brethren of Clay 301 when they volunteered to hold the first “Barn Raising Degree.”
Clay Lodge Past Master Brother Ronnie Smith volunteered to let his hay / tobacco barn be converted in a lodge room, were the officers’ stations and spectator seating were made from hay bales donated by Brother Smith. The venue being a “working” barn, select farm animals may or may not have been seen assisting the tyler with his duties of watching for eves droppers outside the lodge. While sitting in the barn, absorbing the aroma of seasoned lumber, stacked hay, looking at the many poles crisscrossing the rafters most were reminded of fond memories of playing in the family barn as children, the not-so fond memories of playing the high-wire act in the hot recesses of the loft while hanging tobacco, still made one wonder if our forefathers had to meet in similar surroundings out of necessity while their lodge buildings were being built.
Due to limited parking, a hay wagon shuttle, dubbed “Solomon’s Express” was used to shuttle visiting brothers from a nearby church to the barn.
As the evening came to an end, 56 brothers from 4 states witnessed what appears to be the beginning of an annual event for the 41st Masonic District of North Carolina.
The degree held on the evening of October 30 was preceded by a hickory slow smoked (not charcoal) chicken dinner fund raiser with funds raised going toward a new roof for the lodge. Brothers met early that morning to light the wood and put 150 chicken halves over the open pit. Several brothers brought family members to share in the good food, while several carry-out plates were sold.
When the event came to a close, charges presented, bibles given, and congratulations conveyed our two newly raised brothers, Jason Chastain and Darrell Parker were told that they could proudly say, “Yes, as a matter of fact I WAS Raised in a Barn!”