Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year and to Auld Land Syne

Have you ever been at a New Year's celebration and at the stroke of midnight the party goers break out in singing Auld Lang Syne? Have you notice that many didn't know the words to the song and even fewer people knew what they mean?

Poet/Lyricist Brother Robert Burns modified a traditional Scottish folk song that became an internationally known song in 1788.

The lyrics of Auld Lang Syne consist of five verses. The words literally translate from Old Scottish meaning 'Old Long Ago'. I think its about reminiscing or reflecting about old times. In Minnesota I think it's very fitting that we usually will conclude a Table Lodge with all participants in holding hands and singing a few verses. I'm always touched by the lyrics in the song "We'll take a cup of kindness yet." To me that symbolizes our current friendship.

I am always touched as I gaze into the faces of all my Brothers and friends as we sing that phrase.

So on the New Years Eve I raise my glass and think of you. Happy New Year Brother!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy St. John the Evangelist Day

In a few hours here in Minnesota and the Northern Latitudes we are entering the dark days of Winter. December 21st, 2010 is the day with the least amount of daylight. This day is called the Winter Solstice also known as the First Day of Winter.

For us as Free Masons the Winter Solstice is known to us as St.John the Evangelist Day. It is a day that we all celebrate world wide.

Early this morning we also are going to experience an Lunar Eclipse. A Lunar Eclipse is when the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon. When this occurs the Earths shadow covers all or part of the moon.

Tonite is going to be an extreely rare moment. For the last time the Lunar Eclipse occurred on the Winter Solstice was 12-21-1632 or 372 years ago.

Watching the eclipse is perfectly safe . You dont need any special equipment or telescopes.
Here in Minnesota Mother Nature is finishing up with another snow strom so I will not be able to view it, but I encourage you to go out and gaze to the heavens and enjoy the sights.......
and take a moment to remember all those Free Masons where so ever disbursed.

The table of information below comes from the U.S. Naval Observatory the experts in these matters. It is a time table of Lunar Eclipse.

Total Eclipse of the Moon

o ' o '
W093 16, N44 58

Central Standard Time

Azimuth Altitude
h m o o
Moonrise 2010 Dec 20 16:02 54.9 ----
Moon enters penumbra 2010 Dec 20 23:27.7 157.4 67.3
Moon enters umbra 2010 Dec 21 00:32.3 195.7 67.9
Moon enters totality 2010 Dec 21 01:40.4 228.6 61.5
Middle of eclipse 2010 Dec 21 02:17.0 240.8 56.3
Moon leaves totality 2010 Dec 21 02:53.6 250.5 50.5
Moon leaves umbra 2010 Dec 21 04:01.7 264.6 39.1
Moon leaves penumbra 2010 Dec 21 05:06.1 275.5 28.0
Moonset 2010 Dec 21 08:06 304.0 ----

oh ya dont get Moon burn from all those Moon Beams.........enjoy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Tea Party Free Masons!

Today is a day for all Free Masons to celebrate....The Boston Tea Party. I have found an article by Brother Edward Cair of California. I found this to be a very enjoyable story. I hope you too will raise your cup in honor of this great American moment and I consider today a Masonic day.If you see me be sure to stop me and Ill buy you a cup of coffee and we can enjoy the moment together.

Amazingly, no one knew who dumped the tea!
Two thousand people stood on Griffin’s Wharf and watched the Boston Tea Party. The crowd was silent as sixty men dumped 340 chests of tea into the salt water. Some of them put lampblack or paint on their faces. Some came wrapped in blankets. They called themselves “Mohawks”. (Most of the participants actually were not disguised.)

The crews of the tea ships were ordered below. No resistance was made. Some of the crew even helped unload the tea.

The Governor’s Cadet Corps were guarding the tea ships. They never lifted a musket and stood away from the crowd because these people had not forgot-ten the Boston Massacre.

It took three hours and all done in silence and order. No damage was done to the ships. The decks were swept clean. No “Mohawk” would keep any of the tea.

The three tea ships were in range of a 60-gun British warship. The entire Tea Party could have been blown out of the water. It would have meant firing on the crowd as well as the people in buildings near the wharf. No shot was fired.

The British Admiral watched from the upstairs window of a house nearby. When the “Mohawks” had completed their task they marched under his window. The Admiral opened the window and shouted, “Tomorrow you’ll still have to pay the piper! “.

No trial of the “Mohawks” was ever made in Boston. One man in the crowd said he would be a witness provided they would take him to London 3,000 miles away. He was never taken to London. Governor Hutchinson said that if he held a trial in Boston the members of the jury would turn out to be the “Mohawks” or their friends.

After the Tea Party, Governor Hutchinson himself was withdrawn to London “for consulta-tion”. He never returned. Instead the King and Ministry sent General Gage as a new military Gover-nor and gave him full discretion to find evidence for a trial of those responsible for the Boston Tea Party. Parliament closed down the port of Boston, cut off the trade, and sent in 10,000 troops to oc-cupy a town of 20,000 people. The new military Governor with his full discretion never found suf-ficient evidence in Boston and the Ministers to the King in London never pressed charges.

Benjamin Franklin, a Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania, was in London at the time. He called the Boston Tea Party “an act of violent in-justice”. A group of London merchants wanted to pay twice the value of the tea in order to keep trade open. Franklin offered to pay for the tea himself or raise the money in Boston.

“Though the mischief was the act of persons unknown, yet as probably they cannot be found, or brought to answer for it, there seems to be some reasonable claim on the society at large in which it happened.”

Once Parliament closed down the port of Boston no one ever paid for the tea. Parliament took the tax off tea, but the East India Tea Company was never able to sell tea in America. The Tea Act that had given them a monopoly could not protect them.

Many years later, Sir Winston Churchill—Prime Minister, Historian and Freemason—commented on the Tea Act of Parliament that had given the East India Company a monopoly on tea. Brother Churchill called it “a fatal blunder”.

The Tea Act put a small tax on the East India Tea. It was actually cheap tea that had been stored in warehouses in England. However, the East India Tea Company was bankrupt, so Parliament gave them a monopoly. Tea was to be sold by the Consignees (tea agents) of the one company. This gave the Con-signees a tea monopoly in their area. Keeping the small tax on tea would just prove that Parliament still had the power to tax. But . . . it didn’t work!

In New York, Philadelphia and Charleston, the Consignees for the tea resigned their Commissions at the request of the Sons of Liberty. With no Con-signees to pay the tax and sign for the tea, the East India Company tea ships had to turn around and sail back to England with their cheap tea.

But Boston was different! The Consignees would not resign. Two sons of the Governor and a son-in-law were Consignees. When the Governor’s family is in the tea business the ships cannot leave the harbor.

The Tea Act stated that tea “remaining twenty days unloaded” was subject to seizure by the Customs House and sold for nonpayment of duties. Once the tea was in the Governor’s hands, he could dispose of it secretly to local merchants. When Governor Hutchinson again refused to let the tea ships go on the night before December 17th, (the 16th was the end of the 20 day limit for unloading), the “Mohawks” seated in the balcony at the Old South Meeting Hall took matters into their own hands.

There never would have been a Tea Party if the ships could have left before December 17th. Several of the Brothers of the St. Andrews Lodge did their part in trying to turn the tea ships around.

Brother William Molineux acted as spokesman for the Sons of Liberty. He and Brother Joseph Warren led a crowd of 300 from the Liberty Tree to the Customs House to confront the Consignees. Would these tea agents resign and send the tea ships back to England? The Governor’s sons refused and moved to Fort William under military protection. Just three years before Brother Molineux and Brother James Otis (St. John’s Lodge) had led a crowd of a thousand patriots to confront the Gover-nor’s sons who were importing tea and hiding it in a warehouse against the nonimportation agree-ments. In that tea business, the Hutchinsons sur-rendered the tea and the money for the tea they had already sold. Brother James Otis was the Mason who gave us the saying “Taxation without represen-tation is Tyranny!”.

Brother John Hancock was the Colonel for the Governor’s Cadet Corps who guarded the tea ships. The night before the Tea Party he was aboard the tea ships inspecting his troops. Both he and Brother Joseph Warren had served as Orators at the Com-memoration of those who had died at the Boston Massacre.

Brother John Hancock was the richest merchant in New England. He served as Moderator for a mass Town Meeting of 5,000 who voted to turn the tea ships around. He was a member of the Committee of Selectmen, who were the leading tradesmen of Boston, who met with the Governor and the tea Consignees to try to convince them to let the ships go.

Brother John Rowe was the owner of one of the tea ships, the Eleanor. He was also a Selectman anc promised to use his influence with the Governor tc return the tea ships and the tea to England. Brothel Rowe was the Grand Master of the St. John’s Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (Moderns). In his diary he called the dumping of the tea “a disastrous affair”.

On the day before the Tea Party, Brother Joseph Warren met with Brother John Rowe in a concern for his “ship and cargo”. Brother Warren was tht Grand Master of the Grand Lodge (Ancients) Brother Warren also went to the Customs House with the owner of the tea ship, Dartmouth. All exits to the harbor were blocked. By law the Customs Officials cannot release the ship unless the Con signees unloaded the tea and paid the tax. The next day the Customs Officials were to seize the tea according to law.

In the final appeal to the Governor by the Select-men, Covernor Hutchinson offered to give the tea ship Dartmouth military escort to Castle Island and Fort William where his sons, as Consignees, would unload the tea and pay the tax. The owner of the Dartmouth did not want to move his ship with the help of a 60-gun warship.

During the 19 days prior to the Tea Party, Brother Paul Revere served with the North End Caucus Guard, who prevented the Consignees from unload-ing the tea, wanting it instead returned to England. The Consignees blamed the guard for not unloading; the tea and the guard blamed the Consignees for not returning the tea to England.

After the Tea Party, Brother Paul Revere mounted

his horse and carried the news to New York. Whe

a tea ship arrived there, the Consignees resigned an

the tea ship returned to England. The news was

taken to Philadelphia and beyond. There were no

more Consignees for the East India Tea Company

The English said that the Americans lost their taste for tea because they had a peculiar way of mix-ing it with salt water.

Order tea and you were a Tory. Order coffee an you were a Patriot!

America has been drinking coffee ever since.

Bro Edward Cair is a member of Southern Calilornia Research Lodge.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Selim Grotto

On December 4th I attended Selim Grotto's Officers Installation. Its special not only because my dear friends are active members in it, But because there are only two Grottos in Minnesota. The other is in Ela-Ala in Duluth. The Leadership is very willing to meet with any Masonic members who wish to start a Grotto in their part of Minnesota.
For those of you not familiar with the Grotto heres a little information you may like to know.
The official name is "The Mystic Order of the Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm of North America.It was formed in 1889 because many believed that the lodges had become too serious and that men would become better Masons if they mixed a little fun and social activity with the serious teachings.
To become a member of the Grotto you must be a Brother in good standing and remain in good standing.The Grotto does not confer Masonic degrees, but is intended to provide a blend of fun and remain Masonic in character.
They sponsor two great humanitarian projects; Cerebral Palsy Research,and Dental care for children with Special needs. I'm very proud to say I have participated in the Enchanted Lantern project. When you can help a child smile you make a positive impact on them forever.
Members of the Grotto wear a Black Fez with a red tassels and refer to themselves as Prophets.
Our very own Mike Wahl was the past Grand Monarch of North America in 1974-1975.

This is the full line of Officers for 2011. I think its pretty impressive the way that Selim is growing and building upon its great tradition.
Starting from the right of the photo is the man in the fez is Larry Jensen the Installing Marshall, Monarch Terry Rybarczyk, Todd Mayer,Dave Hansel, Lee Kielbock, John Antl, Bob Selden, Mark Moriarty, Scott Anderson. (I know I left some one out...Sorry Brothers)

This looks like a fun tradition for the in coming Monarch Terry Rybarcyk doesn't it?

My lodge Brother Richard Kachman. One of the Men and Brothers on this earth I have the most highest regards and respect for.I think were twins.....maybe not in looks unless you close your eyes.

I was invited to come and spend the evening and I even gave a little talk. I noticed none were sleeping when I finished.

It was a beautiful Minnesota Winter night.....We drove in a Snow Storm to get there. But when we walked it our coldness went away very quickly from all the Warm Smiles and hearts that greeted us.
The Room was very beautifully decorated for the holidays making it even more welcoming.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Red Wing #8 is a Special Place

Red Wing Lodge#8 is a special place for me especially at their December Stated meeting. There is nothing ordinary about it.
The Grand Master of Minnesota Masons John Cook came personally to install the Officers after a beautiful meal.
It was good to see that the lodge Officers had all the Chairs filled with willing and eager Officers.
There were Awards given out as well. This years Hiriam Award was given to Jr. Past Master Ethan Seaberg.Ethan may have protested, but I couldnt have been happier for him. Ethan is very deserving.

Visitors come from far and wide to spend the evening. Last night Lebanon Lodge of Shakopee, and Montgomery Lodge of St Paul brought many members. It was such a pleasure to have the dining room filled with voices and laughter.

Worshipful Brother Gary Thomas does most of the food preparation.He usually prepares Masonic dishes known to lodges across the world. Last night was his famous Maine Oyster Stew. You can't see all of the oysters because of my love for crackers.It is such a simple dish but the flavor is out of this world. The alternative dish was a out standing vegetation Curry. I had bowls of each. I'm not telling how many bowls either.

Gary always makes his famous Christmas Pudding for this meeting . I have several photos for get a good look at it for those not familiar with the dish.
This is a dish that is very dark in appearance from all the dark sugars used. Its filled with dried fruits, nuts and suet and maybe a touch of Brandy.It was topped off with a hard Sauce.
Since my Masonic Blog is turning into something you would find on the Food Network. I will not go into the complex flavors that this heavenly dish gave me.
We were given a big treat when the lights were turned down and the pudding was aflame with blue and purple flames.

There is nothing ordinary about the Brothers of Red Wing lodge. If you have an opporunity I highly recommend you go and share the experience.

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