The North Carolina Mason

May/June 2010

North Carolina Mason

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NORTH CAROLINA Volume 135 Number 3 The Mason Official Publication of Te Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina Oxford, North Carolina May/June 2010 Unanimity steps up to offer shelter By Ric Carter EDENTON — Bud Sowers and John Bond have several things in common. Both are masters of Ma- sonic lodges here — Sowers of Unanimity 7 AF & AM, Bond of John R. Page 13 PHA. Tey were both in the military in their younger days. Bud in the Ma- rines and John in the Army. “I was fresh out of boot camp, ’54, Paris Island, get- ting ready to go to Korea,” Sowers recalls. “Me and this other fella, Youngblood, he’s black and I’m white. We’re walking down this street in South Carolina, a police car pulls up says, ‘You can’t be with that man.’” He was so angry he went to the police station to complain. “Similar thing happened to me in Louisiana in ’65, Fort Polk,” remembers Bond. “Me and this white friend left post together to go to town. Went to this night spot.” Bond was not welcome due to his col- or and accompanying a white friend. He was man enough to defend his country, but not share a table in a night spot. Both recall those moments today as well as the frustration with such intolerance. In the early morning hours of April 9, a storm line moved through Edenton producing down burst straight-line winds that brought down trees and dam- aged several building in town. Sustaining the worst damage was John R. Page Lodge’s home, the last re- maining fraternal lodge among a half-dozen built by blacks here between 1885 and 1927. Te building was blown off its foundation and lost part of its roof. Sower was called about the storm damage in the early morning hours, found that it was not his lodge that was damaged, but the Prince Hall lodge just four blocks up the street. Soon, he was on the phone with District Dep- uty Grand Master Jim Carr and District Deputy Grand Lecturer Mickey Spruill. Tey discussed the matter and began calling around to lodge members. On Saturday morning, they were at Unanim- ity Lodge meeting with members of Page Lodge to see what they could do to help. They offered to lend their facilities until Page Lodge could get back on their feet. Te invitation was accepted, and use has already Edenton Masters John Bond, left, and Bud Sowers discuss Unanimity’s master’s chair. see SHELTER, page 5 John R. Page 13 PHA suffered dire damage when blown off its foundation in an April 9 storm. They are just four blocks from Unanimity 7. Above, Joe Lineberry checks one of his bluebird boxes behind Care Center. Below, Eunice the brown- headed nuthatch watches Joe at the front door. Life’s little pleasures, brought to you by Joe By Ric Carter GREENSBORO — Yes, his work offers pleasure to many folks, often becoming a topic of cheerful conversation in the din- ing room at WhiteStone. His labors offer solace to animals who have suffered at the hands of mankind’s chemical infatuations. But, truthfully, Joe Lineberry will very likely confess to you that he does it all for his own joy. Lineberry could easily be known as the Birdman of WhiteStone where he maintains a bluebird box trail around the perimeter of our retirement home. “I’ve been messing with bluebirds ever since I was a kid. My dad got me interested in it,” says Joe. “When I was a kid, my dad had some bird boxes around the house. After reading about DDT, I started helping bluebirds. I picked it up more when I retired.” THE BOTTOM LINE Do you deserve the title Master Mason? By William L. Dill Grand Master During my years before being elected grand master I often asked myself, “Am I a Master Mason?” “Am I living my life as a Master Mason?” After being elected Grand Master I have told myself everyday that I am a Master Mason. And then I asked, “Am I deserving of the Title?” Tis simple question has driven me to ensure I am deserving of the title Master Mason. We are assured by each brother that we came to our fraternity of our own free will and accord, drawn by a desire for knowledge. Kneeling at our sacred altar we were asked, “What do you most desire?” Because of this, I believe being a Master Mason is a very personal commitment. In order to answer truly, “Am I deserving of the title of Master Mason?” a man must be in full possession of the knowledge of what a Mason is required to know. Tat knowledge must be per- sonal. It is, therefore, evident we must try to develop ourselves at the very outset of our Masonic career. Before going further, let us decide that Masonry is something that does not come to us by the conferring of degrees alone or by the accumulation of Masonic honors. A grand master may be no more a Mason than an Apprentice. Te quality of a Master Ma- son is determined by his knowledge of himself (the end and aim of Masonry) and the application of that knowledge towards the advancement of those with whom he comes in daily contact. Such a man would be in fact, a Mason under any other name. Te power to choose is given to each candidate for Masonry. Will he choose to evolve upward along the more difficult path- way of scientific and moral knowledge, or will he choose the easy pathway and become just a member with a dues card? Te three degrees of blue lodge Masonry cover a period of time. Tis time includes a man’s initiation into life and his ulti- mate dissolution at death, together with a reference to another life hereafter. One must study this period of time to discover what a Mason must know to deserve the title Master Mason. We trace the pathway of man through his mortal existence. We discover man emerging from childhood to manhood, or from ignorance to understanding. He is uneducated. He lacks understanding. He is eager for work. He fearlessly explores the highways and byways of creed, doctrine, and dogma, in order to reason upon the various beliefs that enter into the formula of life and matter, and the more complex problem — man himself. Te question and answer should receive the most earnest and reverent attention of every Mason, for depending on his ability to delve into and solve this problem is he able to construct an edifice that can truly be said to be Masonic, built according to the plans of the Great Architect of the Universe. As we advance, we have a vivid picture presented to us of life. Below our feet is the checkered floor, white and black, represent- ing good and evil side by side, yet so strongly in contrast that even a dull sight can easily discern the difference. Te checkering is constant. It would be very difficult to walk across the floor with- out touching some part of either the white or black, yet there is no other way to go, for the skirting represents the limit of all things. Terefore, the inference is that so long as we are on the earth there is no escape from contacts with evil elements. We must pursue our journey regardless of all obstacles. Again, before proceeding, remember to keep in mind that the whole work of Masonry is individual, and it is your mentality that is being refined for the ordeal that you will be later called upon to pass through. We, however, arrive at a conclusion that Masonry is dealing with something far more subtle and elusive than appears on the surface — something that is behind the symbols and allegories given to us in our lodges. It is, therefore, the business of every Craftsman to be able to enter upon the work of his degree with a full knowledge of what is required of him, and unless he is building on a sure foundation, he should pause and become familiar with every factor with which he may have to deal, lest he discover that his progress is retarded by insufficient knowledge of the dangers along the way. Our ritual says that no one but the Master Mason is allowed to enter the Sanctum Sanctorum. If, therefore, the masters have found that you have also become the master of the inner temple of your own being, it is part of your wages that you should acquire all the benefits that result from the fruits of your labor. You have discovered the point within the circle, the point from which a Mason cannot err. Tese are the Mysteries, which Masonry tries to teach by al- legory and symbol. A Mason who is endowed with the desire to advance, will each night before he sleeps ask himself, “Have I been a true builder, and can I truly say that I have gained a step that will help me to my ultimate goal — knowledge of myself?” Tese thoughts I give for what they are worth, with the hope that they will help each and every one of you to decide the ques- tion yea or nay, “Am I deserving of the title Master Mason?” Joe maintains about 22 bluebird boxes these days. Joe says, “Tat keeps me busy, I’ve been doing that since I retired about 20 years ago.” Joe was raised in Greensboro and spent his working life as a pipefitter with Lorillard for 33 years. He retired to Long Beach, NC for a few years, but eventually found his way back home to Greensboro. The Revolution 552 member moved into the Masonic and Eastern Star Home (now WhiteStone) in September 2001. He very soon talked to the Home’s groundskeeper about his see BIRDS, page 4 Ric Car ter photos Ric Car ter photos

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