The North Carolina Mason

September/October 2018

North Carolina Mason

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September/October 2018 The North Carolina Mason Page 5 FROM THE GRAND MASTER A year's worth of blessings By Speed Hallman Grand Master ■ see HALLMAN, page 7 A n old-timer said to me one night after a meeting, "Every time you go to lodge you get a blessing." I haven't totaled the number of meetings I've attended so far, but the blessings are o the charts. is year I've talked about time, and how quickly sand races through the hourglass, and how every minute is precious. Today I'm struck by how rapidly a year passes. at big lap around the sun seems to take less and less time with each rotation. And so it has been this year, as I prepare to hand the Grand Master's jewel to my immensely capable successor. I had the opportunity to observe Grand Masters at work as I moved through the o!cer line and I was familiar with the Grand Master's duties. But this year I've experienced a great deal of Masonic serendipity and I received blessings I didn't anticipate. Some examples: #Shaking the hands of brethren who survived Pearl Harbor, landed at Normandy Beach and endured the Bataan Death March; #Signing a petition for the son of an incoming lodge master just before the father's installation, and watching the son present it to his newly installed father in the East; #Hanging out with the brethren frying shrimp and oysters at Manteo Lodge before our district meeting, eating way too much, and loving it. Repeating the experience with &ounder and hush puppies before a meeting at Hanks Lodge, and loving it; #Heading home from a meeting in Raleigh, being passed by a truck and getting a big thumbs-up out of the passenger window. When I got home I had a Facebook message: "I believe I just passed you on US-1, Most Worshipful. I was the one in the work truck;" #Seeing my Eagle Lodge brethren working tirelessly and giving generously to prepare for the Grand Lodge installation; #Riding at the front of a 22-mile tractor parade, and attending a tractor pull with a group from our Children's Home; #Getting a call from a brother who knew I was on the road late at night, just to ask how I was doing and how far I was from home; #Talking with the Tyler while we waited to alarm the door at every lodge that received me; #Helping with degrees in a 90,000 square- foot railroad shop, at the bottom of a quarry, on a battleship and in the George Washington Masonic National Memorial; #Working in the kitchen with members of omasville Lodge, who handed out 1,900 hot dogs to townspeople on Memorial Day and returning for the third degree of one of those brethren a month later; #Planting two dogwood trees in God's Half Acre at Oxford with members of Andrew Jackson Lodge; #Attending the Friday afternoon Wine Down at WhiteStone and realizing it would be a great place to spend my golden years; #Watching members of Clemmons and West Bend lodges give 10 new bikes to cham- pion elementary school readers through the Bikes for Books program; #Giving blood at the 29th annual Masonic Blood Drive in Statesville, one of the largest one-day drives in the country, and meeting brethren who love serving their community and practicing their Masonry; #Attending Cherokee and Montgomery lodges, the westernmost lodges in the state; visiting Blue Ridge Lodge, the highest in the state; touring that beautiful corner of North Carolina and zipping all over Hiwassee Lake on an aptly named Bullet boat. anks, WBs Derek, Rory and Dave; #Attending Kilwinning Lodge the day Susan and I moved back home, experiencing instant brotherhood and nding an excellent traveling companion for this year. anks, WB Pete; #And stopping for an ice cream cone at Pee Dee Orchards on an eastbound trip and nding fresh peaches at my back door when I got home. anks, WB Chesley. Every Grand Master will have his own chronicle of the high points and grace notes that enriched his year. ese are just a few of mine. I also encountered a phenomenon every Grand Master experiences. ere is a tremen- dous amount of respect for the o!ce and love for the fraternity. It is powerful, it is pervasive and it is immensely humbling. I've experienced an incredible outpouring of brotherly love and friendship and I've met Masons who are living their obligations and serving with freedom, fervency and zeal. To those Masons and to those of like mind I say: To have been elected by men like you to serve as the 165th Grand Master of the great state of North Carolina is the highest achievement I can imagine, and, with one eye on that hour- glass, I've done my best to help you build our beloved fraternity, and prepare to hand it to the next generation better and stronger that it was before. Some thoughts for your consideration: #Good men who want what Masonry oers are all around us. ey just don't know who we are. Live your Masonry in your community. Be active, be visible and check your lodge's curb appeal. Good men will nd you. #Be mindful of numbers and watch membership trends, but be more concerned about the quality of men on your lodge rolls than the quantity. I'd rather have 10,000 Masons than 100,000 members. #How many good men does your lodge lose after the rst degree? Or in the rst three years? Ask them, ask yourself, ask your lodge, why? #I've heard too many NPD horror stories. Make every eort to contact men before excluding them. Find out what's going on in their lives and ask how you can help. It's the right way to treat a brother. It's also good lodge management. Remember the adage that keeping a current customer is easier than recruiting a new one. e brother who doesn't respond to notices may have moved to a nursing home, or he may be embarrassed that he can't pay his dues. He is a brother. Find out. #Have you heard the old saying that some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing? e price of Masonry is what you pay to carry a dues card. What is Masonry's value in your life? I'm writing this before our Annual Communication, when we'll "Today I'm struck by how rapidly a year passes. That big lap around the sun seems to take less and less time with each rotation."

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