The North Carolina Mason

November/December 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 6 Oxford, North Carolina November/December 2009 see BOTTOM LINE, page 4 see CATHEY, page 2 The BoTTom Line By Dan C. Rice Grand Master The holidays — Orphanage style Ric Carter informed me last week that this would be my last article for e North Carolina Mason as grand master. He also told me that it would probably be mailed just about the time that Brother Billy Dill is installed as grand master. is year has been a wonderful experience for me. I want to thank the brothers all across the state who have gone out of their way to make sure that my visits in their lodges have been both fun and exciting. I was treated as if I were something special everywhere by everyone. e food that was served at the meetings was great and the respect that was always shown the office of grand master was amazing. e Brothers across the state made every meeting special. We got to laugh at every meeting, and we dealt with the hard issues without any contention or division. I am grateful for the way the brothers handled the tough things in 2009. Two brothers drove me all over the state. Steve Lynch and Don Kehler spent many a late night driving us home from a meeting. ese were special times, and a unique lasting bond of deep friendship was formed between the three of us. I need to thank Walt Clapp and all the staff at the Grand Lodge. ey have made my year as grand master extremely easy and have always been there when I needed help which was on a regular basis. Ric Carter has been so gracious and willing to edit my simple scribbles about life into something that can actually be printed. e ladies at the Grand Lodge were amazing helping Debbie and me with all the preparations for the Grand Lodge Annual Communication and the GL ladies luncheon. We know that events do not just happen and that it takes a bunch of work, and we are very grateful for their help. A thank you is in order for all the DDGMs and DDGLs who served and helped me during this year. I also wanted to thank all the brothers who served on the Grand Lodge boards and com- missions. A huge amount of work goes on behind the scenes at the Grand Lodge with brothers committing huge amounts of time on behalf of our beloved fraternity. I also wanted to publicly thank my wife, Debbie, for all the help she has given me this year. She has kept me on track and has supported me completely. She took on my installation and the Annual Communication social events as a personal project, and it allowed me to be able to focus just on Grand Lodge business. Last but certainly foremost; I wanted to thank God for all his blessings. I have had a good peaceful year as grand master. At the Annual Communication, I heard several brothers mention that there was a great peaceful spirit among the brothers present. I don't believe that it was an accident. God certainly has a keen sense of humor when he allowed a boy from Oxford Orphanage, to 50 years later, serve as grand master. One of the great honors and privileges that I have had this year is to be able to share stories about my life at Oxford Or- phanage with you in e North Carolina Mason. I certainly used the I word too much, but it was not because I had any visions of personal grandeur of any kind. Instead, it was because I am not smart enough to write anything in third person. I hope you have enjoyed hearing stories about real children at the Masonic Home for Children who you have helped survive in this very tough world. Most of them have left Oxford Orphanage better off than when they arrived. e Masons and the Orphanage did not save them all, but it certainly tried, and it did save most of them. Your efforts at Oxford would have been a success had you only saved one child from the tragedy of a bad life. To me and to all the children of Oxford Orphanage, the Masons will always be bigger than life. If you are tired of Orphanage stories, stop here and move on to another article in the paper. Otherwise, here are some of my memories of anksgiving and Christmas under the oaks. My first anksgiving at the orphanage was one of mixed emo- tions. We got the day off from work on our regular jobs, but we still had our daily chores to do before breakfast. After breakfast we had to put on our Sunday clothes and get ready for the anks- giving service in the Orphanage chapel. Our Sunday clothes were usually rough spun wool that itched something terrible but would not wear out. All the local preachers, regardless of their denomi- nation, came together and put on the Community anksgiving service. I was never quite sure why it was done at orphanage cha- pel, but every year the community came together at the Orphan- age and worshipped as a group. On anksgiving, there was no division based on a particular creed. Instead, the day was set aside to thank God for the blessings of the year. Oxford is located in Granville County, and the area has always been a farming community. Farmers know better than anyone else that their lives and livelihoods depend on God's blessings. No rain means no crops, and no crops means no money. Every year, the farmers gambled and put their seeds and fertilizer in the ground, and then they depended on God to make it grow. Some years things went well, and other years the crops failed. All of us Orphanage children were required to attend the anksgiving worship service in our itchy wool clothes. e service was usually divided up and done by different preachers. One preacher would pray, another would read the scripture, an- other would preach a sermon, and yet another would finally say the benediction. ere were usually some anksgiving hymns thrown in to make us all stand up and prevent us Orphanage boys from dozing off. All in all, it was usually a great service, and there was no walk back to the Orphanage. You see, in those days Sun- day school was held at the Orphanage Chapel and then we had to line up in two lines and we marched downtown to the church of the denomination that our family said we were from. at was a mile walk to church for most of us children and then a mile back after church. On anksgiving, we were blessed to worship at our own chapel. I was thankful for the shorter than usual anksgiv- ing service and no walk back. anksgiving lunch at the Orphanage was usually really good. Sometimes we had turkey and dressing. Other times we had ham. I remember ham most of the time because that was something that the Orphanage produced. We always had string beans, sweet potatoes, and a couple of other vegetables and pecan pie. For us orphans, it was a meal from heaven and we devoured all we could. We were usually free on the afternoon of anksgiving Day, and we would loaf. Many of us would play basketball, chase girls, or simply wander around the woods at the back of the Orphanage. When you had 320 brothers and sisters there was always enough boys to play ball with or plenty of girls to chase. Life was certainly not boring, and when you had free time, you made it count doing what you enjoyed most. anksgiving was one of those magical free days with no work and no school. I have always been grateful for anksgiving and the opportunity to say thanks to our Maker for his blessings. Even as a nine-year-old scared little boy whose life had completely blown up, I knew that things could be a lot worse for me. All I had to do was listen to the life stories of my Orphanage broth- ers and sisters. eir tragic lives were filled with heart wrenching stories of physical, mental, and sexual abuse. Several of them had even seen their fathers kill their mothers. Several had witnessed tragedies that would make anyone cry just to hear about. ese stories were not ever told to the general population of the home, but were shared one-on-one, when a friend could no longer car- ry his/her burden alone. Usually, this was done in a quiet place and with both the teller and the listener quietly sobbing with the gradual release of gigantic emotional burdens. I have seen the toughest Orphanage boys cry over the life tragedy of an Orphan- age brother or sister. ere was never shame in those tears, just the washing away of some great pain inflicted on a child. Some of those children were able to unhook from the emotional pain they brought with them to the Orphanage and just walk away from it. Other children could never get over what had happened and had to drag that emotional baggage with them all the way to their graves. My life was simpler because I was at the Orphanage due to the death of my mother. Death is a natural occurrence and can be understood by a child. e children that were at Oxford Since September 2006, the Department of De- fense has highlighted the military men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in our current conflicts. ey publicize them as "our American Heroes' stories." On October 7, omas Cathey, a member of Sonoma 472 and son of Past Grand Master Charles Cathey, was named one of those Heroes. You may read more and hear inter- views at . Here is the story of what got Tom on the list. For Army Colonel omas Cathey, April 10, 2007, started out like a typical day. Stationed in Baghdad, he was chief of a Military Transition Team, a group of U.S. soldiers serving as mili- tary advisors to an Iraqi Army Division. Togeth- er they had been run- ning cordon and search missions in Baghdad, setting up perimeters around small areas of the city and then searching within that area. "We had been conducting these missions since January. is was in April," Cathey said. "I thought it was just going to be another typical day in that area." But by 7:00 a.m. everything had changed. e Iraqi Army soldiers running that morning's mission had encountered enemy fire before the sun was up, Cathey said. And the situation esca- lated from there. "We thought it was going to be a normal op- eration here," he said. "It was the first time that we'd had this volume of resistance for sure." Before long an Iraqi Army squad had radi- oed for reinforcements, and had taken protective cover in an abandoned building. "We are down to our last magazines. We are out of ammunition. We've got to have help now," they told Cathey again via radio. "ere was no time. ey were out of ammo. ere was no one else who could get them. So I made the decision to go get them," he said. e day's mission changed from a cordon and search mission to an extraction mission, he said. Cathey prepared a team of 14 soldiers in four ARCHER LODGE — We're accustomed to seeing lodges take a name from the town they call home. But in the case of the newly incorpo- rated Archer Lodge, it's this Johnston County town adopting its name from the Masonic lodge. According to Kati Knowland in a recent issue of Triangle East Magazine, "Archer Lodge, situ- ated just northwest of Clayton, is one of many small crossroads communities scattered across the Triangle East Area. With the tremendous growth in the area, it's probably not the only one that says it 'stopped growing tobacco and started growing houses,' as Mike Gordon, president of the Archer Lodge Community Center, puts it. "Gordon said that Archer Lodge, which is the general area surrounding the intersection of Wen- dell Road and Buffalo Road, was originally a farm- ing community. e area got its name from Ma- sonic lodge, Archer 165, which was [chartered] in December 1854. e original lodge was destroyed by Union forces [in Sherman's March to Raleigh] near the end of the Civil War, but was soon rebuilt. "en, in 1859, Archer Lodge Baptist Church was formed, originally sharing space with the lodge building. After 24 years, the church moved to its own building and was renamed White Oak Baptist Church. In 1959, the church dedicated its current home on the same spot. e church still stands and is an icon of the area." e Masonic lodge was located next door to Barnes Store is located next to the original site of Archer 165. Archer 165 is now situated near Corinth-Holder. Town adopts lodge's moniker the current landmark C. A. Barnes Store. A recent referendum in the community (418 of 725 votes cast) endorsed incorporating the community of about 3,400. e incorporated Ar- cher Lodge will cover about two square miles. "We can't stop change," said Carlton Vinson, who has helped direct the exploratory commit- tee. "We want to manage the change so we don't lose the character of the community." Incorpora- tion also reduces the possibility of being annexed by nearby towns of Clayton or Wendell. Archer 165 was originally located in Creach- ville, and is now located near the Corinth-Hold- er community. — Triangle East Magazine and the News and Observer DOD spotlights Sonoma's Cathey vehicles. While the Iraqi Army soldiers weren't far, Cathey knew getting to them was going to be difficult. ey would have to take narrow al- leyways to cross city blocks held by the enemy. "We did know that as soon as we left… and started down this alley that we would be sur- rounded 360 degrees, and we would be signifi- cantly outnumbered. But, we also knew that we couldn't sit and do nothing and take a chance on these soldiers being over- run by Al-Qaeda," Cathey said. "I knew it was going to be tough. But, we'd been in the country. We were sea- soned guys. We had a lot of confidence in each other," Cathey said. "I don't think we ever thought we couldn't do what we needed to do to get those soldiers out." e convoy set out, their vehicles moving cautiously forward down a narrow alley- way. At each intersection, they crossed they en- countered adversaries. A grenade exploded just feet from the left front tire of Cathey's vehicle, taking out the power steering. At a subsequent intersection, "as soon as our bumper touched the opening of the alleyway, it turned red with trac- ers," Cathey said, describing the dust trails some bullets leave behind to help the gunmen know where to aim. Seeing so many tracers was a sig- nal to Cathey that there were even more bullets on their way. "I thought we couldn't stop the mission, we couldn't turn around. We knew that what was behind us was worse," he said. "We kept pushing forward to find these Iraqi soldiers." But, as the convoy moved down the alleyway towards safety, Cathey saw another Iraqi soldier waving to him from inside another building. It was a second Iraqi Army squad that had also been forced to take cover. ere was no way to fit the other squad into their vehicles, Cathey said, so they used the ve- Col. Thomas L. Cathey Ric Car ter photos

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