The North Carolina Mason

September/October 2009

North Carolina Mason

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The Mason NORTH CAROLINA Official Publication of e Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina Volume 134 Number 5 Oxford, North Carolina September/October 2009 see BOTTOM LINE, page 2 see GRAND LODGE, page 4 The BoTTom Line By Dan C. Rice Grand Master Jobs and entitlements At Oxford Orphanage, every child eight years old or older had a job that they worked at six days a week for at least four hours a day during the school year and at least eight hours a day during the summer. Yes, the Masons subsidized the Home with their generous gifts so that we could live better than our efforts alone could have provided, but there was no free ride for us orphans because we all had to work. My first job at the Orphanage was to pick up trash all over the campus. is was not really a very hard job, but we did it every day except Sunday. Our fourth grade teacher, Miss Ellie Parrish, was in charge of us garbage-picker-uppers. She was a middle-aged old maid who barked instructions to us boys and carried a switch for enforcement. All of us were afraid of her, and we all called her either Hawkeye or Ellie Gooch behind her back. She was a tough old lady and required all of us children to use good man- ners everywhere. She always held us to the highest standards. In the summer, if we finished picking up trash early, we were allowed to go to the library where they read us stories. In my mind's eye, I can still see the group of 25 little eight- or nine-year-old boys listening intently to Uncle Remus' Tales. I still laugh when I think about Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox and the briar patch. We were also allowed to swim for an hour every day in the summer. Over all, the life of a trash-picker-upper was pretty good. When I started the fourth grade, I had Hawkeye Parrish for a teacher. I had only been to school for a few months prior to arriving at the Orphanage in March 1959. I was finishing up the third grade, and I was way behind everyone else academi- cally. ey probably should have failed me. Instead, they passed me on to Miss Parrish who took me on as a project. She kept me in every recess and worked with me one-on-one. She was a very hard teacher who would cut you no slack at all. She piled extra homework on me and even made me do extra stuff on the weekends. I hated her for singling me out and making me do so much extra work. During that winter, we had a deep snow fall, and all of us boys would sneak and snowball any teacher that we could. I packed an ice ball really tight and hit Miss Parrish in the eye. at is one of only two times that I ever remember seeing her cry. She never found out who did it, so I escaped her wrath, But, I have felt like a dog for doing it for almost 50 years. By the end of the fourth grade, I was making good grades and had caught up with my classmates. It took me a long time to realize that Miss Parrish loved us children enough to make us use good manners and to do our best in school and at work. Miss Parrish lived her final days at the Methodist Retirement Home in Durham. I had a chance to visit and tell her that I had finally realized that she had loved us enough to be willing to stand up to us orphans. I let her know that I realized what she had done for me. I told her that I loved her for what she had done, and that was the second time I saw her cry. She has been dead for many years, but the memories of her are still very much alive in all of us orphans that worked on her garbage detail. e life lesson here is that with enough time and wisdom, you may realize that you actually love the person you were sure you hated. My next job was to work on the Orphanage farm. at job was really hard work but had a huge amount of variety. I liked it. In the spring, we helped plant vegetables. In the summer, we would use a hoe to clean up around the corn and other vegetables. We grew green beans, butter beans, corn, okra, strawberries, squash, cucum- bers, sweet potatoes, and watermelons. We were also in charge of the muscadine vines (a poor man's grapes), the apple orchard, and the pecan trees. We raised enough food to feed 320 children and 80 adults year-round. is is where I was first exposed to that wonderful creature called a mule. e Orphanage had a pair of mules that they used for different jobs. ey are great creatures, and later in life, I have met people who had all the characteristics of a good mule. ey were hard workers but stubborn and con- trary as all get out. e farm boys were also in charge of the hogs on campus. We had to shuck enough dry corn to feed them. We also had to transport and feed the hogs the slop from the din- ing room. In the late fall, we had to assist in killing and dressing enough hogs to provide meat for everyone for the next year. is was always an adventure and ended with all of us getting some "cracklins." e farm boys worked in the fields during the hottest days of the year. We were allowed a short break in the morning and in the afternoon. ere was a creek that ran through the Orphan- age farm that had been gradually dammed by the boys that had lived there since the 1850s when St. Johns College first opened. Over time, a respectable dam had been engineered, and the creek backed up and formed a pretty good place to swim and it became the legendary Ole' Swimming Hole. It served us boys well on those hot summer days and was extremely refreshing. e only thing we had to drink when we worked in the fields was water from the ousand Dollar Spring at the back of the farm. One of the boys was designated as the "waterboy." His job was to walk from boy to boy in the fields giving them dippers of water from a bucket. When the bucket was empty, the water boy would walk to the spring and fill it up and walk back and start giving the boys water. e job of being the waterboy was a pie job and was really sought after by all of us boys. I got to be waterboy only once because on one of my trips to the spring I stopped to play in the creek. en I realized I should have been back with the water so I just dipped some out of the creek and carried it back. Somehow they knew what I had done, and I was fired as a water boy. When there was not anything productive for us farm boys to do, they had us shuck corn, clean up the pastures with swing blades and bush axes, and rake leaves. Every fall, the Orphanage would buy several boxcar loads of coal to put up for the winter. Every coal bin on campus was filled to the brim when the coal cars came in. e Orphanage had only a couple of days to get the box cars unloaded, or they would have had to pay extra. e train dropped the cars up town in Oxford, and the Orphanage used every available vehicle to move coal. ere was an ample supply of free labor as the farm boys were always available. ey stationed several of us at the boxcars and several of the other boys at each building with a coal bin. e adults drove the vehicles, and the farm boys shoveled coal. ere was an old black man named Doc Laws who worked as a laborer on the Orphanage farms for many, many years. I'm not sure why he was called Doc because he had no formal education and could not read or write at all. He was a tremendous worker and was endowed with a huge amount of common sense. He was a small wiry man in his late sixties at that time. All the Orphanage boys loved picking at Doc, and he loved picking back at them. For those of you who do not know it, there is a shovel made especially for shoveling coal. e coal shovels ac- tually come in different sizes because coal is extremely heavy and hard to shovel. When Doc arrived to start shoveling coal with us, farm boys he picked out one of the middle sized shovels and went to work. Several of us boys started harassing him because we were using a bigger shovel than Doc. He just smiled and kept working. Two hours later all of us boys were gasping for breath and were worn slap out. Doc just kept on working with his smaller shovel and only smiled at us. at was a life lesson for all of us boys. Life as an Orphanage farm boy had no idle time but the variety of tasks made it fun. My third job at the Orphanage was working in the chicken house. e Orphanage raised chickens both for eggs and for meat. ey had several thousand chickens in suspended cages where the Amendment Scoreboard Group 1 Reiterate catechism requirement ............. Passed Group 2 Define certain floor work ............................ Passed Group 3 Detail NPD procedure ................................. Passed Group 4 Limited alcohol usage ....................................Failed Group 5 Allow EA and FC funerals ........................... Passed Group 6 BGP meeting schedule ................................. Passed Group 7 Annual meeting updates ............................. Passed Group 8 Record keeping requirements .................... Passed Group 9 Add background check ..................................Failed 222 nd Annual Communication held in Winston-Salem Grand Lodge is peaceful and historic By Ric Carter WINSTON-SALEM — On Friday, September 25, the 222 nd Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina saw a larger than usual open- ing morning crowd. When Grand Master Dan C. Rice dropped the gavel to open, more than 300 lodges were represented among an estimated 1,000 people. Without a major contentious vote this year, many had expected a smaller crowd. ey were wrong. What we got was a group which was happy with the low tension event. Grand Master Rice presided over a talkative, relaxed crowd that seemed happy to face a quiet event that did not try to make his- tory. But, get a little history they did. ey saw William L. Dill elected to become our next grand master. ey saw the first contingent of Prince Hall Masons (more than 60) join us, and heard the first address of a Prince Hall Grand Master to our Annual Communication. e business sessions for the Annual Communication were held at the Grand Pavilion of the Embassy Suites here in down- town Winston-Salem. Grand Lodge officials began arriving at the headquarters hotels on Wednesday so as to be present and ready for the committee meet- ings that were to begin at 9:00 a.m. on ursday morning. e Committee on Finance and Board of General Pur- poses had their final meet- ings before bringing business before the membership. e Board of General Purposes voted on various nominations and appointments from Dep- uty Grand Master William L. Dill. It was BGP's next to last meeting with Grand Master Rice, the last being just before Grand Lodge officer installa- tion in November. Jurispru- dence had their last confer- Grand Master Rice presided. ence before bringing amendments to the delegates. Appeals held hearings for men asking for permission to return to the fraternity after losing their membership and to review all actions and trials by the judge advocate. e Board of Custodians and Committee on Miscellaneous Publications and other committees met before the general session. ere was a training session for lodge sec- retaries on ursday afternoon to help them learn more about MORI, the computer database for tracking membership informa- tion and lodge finances. ursday night, Grand Master Rice hosted a banquet for his guests at the Annual Communication. e formal opening began at 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning. e opening procession was led by the state and United States flags and the banner of the Grand Lodge. e color guard was fur- nished by North Carolina's Sojourners. Officials and guests then marched in led by Grand Marshal Doug Caudle. First came the district deputy grand masters and grand lecturers who were taken to reserved seating on either side of the ceremonial lodge floor. Credentials are needed for voting. Grand Master Fitch addressed the Communication. Most voting at Annual Communication was by show of hands. Ric Car ter photos

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