The North Carolina Mason

March/April 2011

North Carolina Mason

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NORTH CAROLINA Volume 136 Number 2 The Mason Official Publication of Te Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina Oxford, North Carolina Getting stewed in Salisbury More than 50 years in, more popular than ever By Ric Carter SALISBURY — If there’s one month that needs man to create a bright spot, it’s February. Many find this trailing arm of winter the bleakest of times; wet, cold, dank; piling on to our already winter beaten psyches. It is a time we often need to force ourselves to buck up and have fun in the face of nature’s insulting season. Perhaps that played some part in the decision by Floyd Burton and other members of Andrew Jackson 576 to have a lodge fund- raiser back in February 1958. It is doubtful they had any idea of what a tradition they started that first year. Tey made two pots of Brunswick stew and turned it into $790 to spend on charity. In the more than 50 years since then, the town of Salisbury has embraced the lodge’s Annual Brunswick Stew as a com- munity tradition looked forward to by hundreds. Each year, on the last Tursday of February, the lodge draws a packed din- ning hall and a line of cars picking up pints of the homebrew at the drive-through. Tings have changed over the years, and certainly grown. In The Stew makes for stirring moments of a conversation. 2011, they cooked 16 pots of stew. Tose pots are different sizes, but they average about 50 gallons each. Tey sold 800 gallons this year, serving more than 5,000 customers on the day of the stew. As you can imagine, cooking that much stew takes some time and planning. Each participant has their own job. Tere are scoo- pers, stirrers, packers, baggers, tasters, ticket takers, transporters, handers, servers, bussers, mixers, preparers, and on and on. One person does nothing but mix herbs and spices. Every one of them claims that they have the best job in the project. From the results, they must be right. Te project begins early with cleaning and ordering sup- plies. Tis year that meant 750 pounds of chicken, 450 pounds beef, 450 pounds pork, 1,110 pounds potatoes, 150 pounds car- rots, 200 pounds celery, 150 pounds onions, 100 pounds rice, and 328 gallons of canned tomatoes, peas, corn, lima beans. No, doing the math will not likely give you the taste of which the lodge is so proud. According to Dennis Sims, “Over the years, the actual recipe has been passed down from cook to cook. Only a few have it (ac- tually only three who are active), and we don’t share.” On Tuesday night before the Tursday serving, several vol- unteers cut meat for the stew. A crew comes in to clean and set the pots. It takes four men just to lift the 50 gallon cast iron pots into place. On Wednesday, all the fresh vegetables are cleaned, chopped, Stew crew readies a pot for a second batch. Kitchen crew fills pint cups for to-go fans. see STEW, page 5 Demers points kids toward history By Ric Carter APEX — A gift can come cloaked as an en- emy. A few years ago, John Demers, a member of Millbrook 97 in Raleigh, would have told you his extended, serious illness was a curse. Today, he knows it for the gift of time that it was. Te sickness knocked him out of work for two years. Happily, surgery last June has helped him recover. Tat enforced down time gave a chance for his creative side to flour- ish. Demers enjoyed writing when he was younger. He found that pleasure again while ill. John Demers had a history in movies, mostly in acting and produc- ing short corporate films. His kids showed an interest in following in his footsteps, but Demers could not find a vehicle he thought suitable for his own children. Demers says, “Our entertainment John Demers sitting at the Rusty Bucket, a central location of his kids’ show. THE BOTTOM LINE Thoughts from Westwood… and an opportunity at Oxford By Lewis R. Ledford Grand Master As I write this column, the “March Madness” of the NCAA basketball tournament is in full swing. So it is perhaps fitting that I use some quotes from the late John Wooden, the famed UCLA men’s basketball coach, known to some as the Wizard from Westwood. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” “Never mistake activity for achievement.” “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” “It’s about what is correct, not who is correct.” “Tings turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.” “It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.” “Happiness begins when selfishness ends.” “Sports do not build character, they reveal it.” “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” “When you’re through learning, you’re through.” “Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be thankful. Conceit is self-given; be careful.” “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” Initially, I had only planned to reference the, “Failing to pre- pare is preparing to fail” quote. However, as I began to reread these, they began to resonate in similar fashion to a number of the teachings of Freemasonry. I hope you will also enjoy reflecting on how these can relate to advancing our fraternity. In terms of planning, as we began to prepare for the new Ma- sonic year, the Grand Lodge officers met for a facilitated discus- sion in early November. We discussed many issues. I would like to share a brief listing of the issues that we decided should be among our priorities: • Service/Mission — Is there anything more important to our fraternity than the basic tenets? Regardless of the many endeav- ors and activities that claim our attention, let’s remember from whence we came. • The We vs They Mentality — Seemingly, in any organization or grouping, whether it is work, church, and even families, it is so easy for competing interests to develop. It remains vitally impor- tant for there to be unity in purpose and actions in both the local lodges and Grand Lodge officers. • New Membership Recruitment and Training — Are we set- ting the example and making good men aware of Freemasonry? Are we providing the training at all levels to insure success? • Leadership Development, young and old — Wilkerson College and the Wardens Boot Camps are positive examples, but with more than 360 lodges, how can we provide more sup- port for our leadership? • Technology — Are we staying well informed with efficient and effective use of technology? • Communication — From printed materials, to electronic and social media, to videos, to interpersonal communications, are we meeting the demand? • Marketing — It is a topic that we infrequently discuss when we talk about our beloved fraternity. Are we making our good work and its benefits known in our communities? see BOTTOM LINE, page 2 for young people is too laser beamed. It’s targeted for certain demographics, Careful eyes will spot Demers’ ring in the show. certain people. Te lessons being taught are nega- tive.” He believed programming could succeed by showing young people making the right choices, rather than the standard sitcom method of laugh- ing at them making the wrong decisions and then laughing their way to the better decision. see KIDS, page 4 March/April 2011 Ric Car ter photos

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