The North Carolina Mason

November/December 2020

North Carolina Mason

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November/December 2020 The North Carolina Mason Page 5 From the Grand master Whence came you? By R. David Wicker Jr. Grand Master O ver the past seven years, I have advanced through the line of Grand Lodge Officers. During that time, I have contemplated what I would say in my first article to e North Carolina Mason. I have asked myself, "What could I possibly have to say that would be of any interest to our Craft?" I recall going to the Grand Lodge Annual Communication for the very first time in 2003, holding the proxy for our Junior Warden. I recall watching as the Grand Master and his officers presided over that Communication and I thought, "What great men we have leading our craft." In all honesty, that is not how I saw myself then, nor do I see myself that way today. To be frank, I have always been just a simple Blue Lodge Mason. In the summer of 2013, I was preparing to give the ird Degree Lecture at the raising of WB Kevin Otis, administrator of the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford. After lunch, just before the degree work began, Deputy Grand Master Dalton Mayo and Past Grand Master Gene Jernigan walked up to me. DGM Mayo asked if he could have a brief word with me. e three of us stepped to the side and DGM Mayo said he would like for me to be his appointment as Junior Grand Steward. My first reaction was to look around. I was certain that he had to be talking to someone else. Since my appointment, it has been my privilege to visit lodges across this great state and to meet some of our brothers for the first time. On those occasions, I have often been asked who I was and how I came to be a Grand Lodge Officer. Today there are 371 lodges and approxi- mately 35,000 Masons in North Carolina. It is unlikely that I will have the opportunity to visit each lodge or to meet every brother. erefore, I will take the direction of my good friend and much respected brother, Grand Master Shaun Bradshaw, to use this first article to share my story and answer the question that has often been asked of me: "Whence came you?" I grew up in Greensboro. My parents worked hard to support me and my two sisters. My father worked at a factory, my mother as the secretary of an elementary school. It was in a small house on Potomac Drive where our parents first instilled in their children the values and work ethics they have today. Growing up, my sisters and I always attended public schools. I graduated from James B. Dudley High School in 1978, my sisters from Southeast Guilford High School. It was in high school at the age of 17 when I started dating Susan, now my wife of 38 years. After high school, I graduated from Univer- sity of North Carolina-Greensboro, married Susan and moved to Durham to attend law school at North Carolina Central University. After graduating from law school in 1985, Susan and I decided to remain in Durham. She was working in health care and I started my law practice. Growing up, I knew nothing of Freema- sonry. My father was not a Mason. None of his four brothers were Masons. To the best of my knowledge, none of the fathers of any of my friends were Masons. In fact, I have no independent recollection of having ever seen a Masonic lodge while I was growing up. In the early years of my law practice, I had a couple of clients who spoke of having a child at some place called the Oxford Orphanage, but I didn't know anything about it. Susan and I have an interest in old houses. In the late 1990s, we bought an old house on College Street in Oxford. Like all old houses, ours needed a lot of work before it was in suit- able condition for us to move in. One Saturday morning in late June, I was at the house doing some painting in preparation of our move. It was already hot and I had the windows open to let in a little breeze. As I worked, I was interrupted by the noise of some kind of parade going up College Street. I watched in amazement as horses and motorcycles and little race cars proceeded past my house. I had never heard of St. John's Day and knew nothing about a parade. I continued watching from the second-floor room where I had been painting. I was amazed as the parade continued for more than two hours. At the time, I had no idea where they were going or why. It was entertaining but I had to get back to painting. I never walked up the street to see where the parade ended. In the weeks that followed, I learned that the parade was a part of the St. John's Day celebration at the Masonic Home for Children. at, my brothers, was my introduction to Freemasonry. Not long after, I mentioned the parade to Archie Smith, a friend and lawyer with whom I had practiced law. At the time, I did not know Archie was a Mason. It was Archie who told me about the work being done at the children's home. Over the next several months, Archie continued to talk with me about the home and about Masonry. It was through those discus- sions and out of my respect for Archie that I came to petition Oak Grove Lodge. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to get to know and observe many Grand Lodge Officers. Although their skill sets varied greatly, each of our paths to becoming Grand Master has been very similar. at path is one of service. After being raised in 1999, when my lodge was open, I tried to be there. If there was degree work, I wanted to have an active speaking part. When my lodge had no one to deliver the lectures, I learned them. After learning the lectures, several brothers in my District encouraged me to become certified, which I did even before I was Master. After becoming certified, WB Dicky Lyon recommended me to be the DDGL. While serving as DDGL, I was asked if I would be willing to serve on the Board of Custodians. While serving on the Board of Custodians, I was asked by Grand Master Ledford to fill an unexpired term of a brother who had been serving on the Board of Directors of WhiteS- tone. After my term as DDGL, I was appointed DDGM. While I was DDGM and on the WhiteStone Board, I was asked to serve on the Committee for Masonic Jurisprudence. At some point along this line, I apparently came to PGM Mayo's attention. My brothers, this is the one constant that I have seen in every Grand Lodge Officer, both past and present. ey have been willing to freely give of their time, their talent and their energy; not for their own glory, not because they wanted an appointment to a Board or Committee, not because they wanted a title, but because they wanted to serve this Grand Jurisdiction. Not one Grand Lodge Officer that I have ■ see WICKER, page 9

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