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From the South

By J. Rafisura — Junior Warden

Brethren, As the summer draws to an end, we now enter to the beginning of the end, Fall. Thank God, fire season will soon be over. Our thoughts are with those who labored tirelessly to fight the inferno and to those who were affected by this seemingly annual threat.

Seasons change and with it, comes unique challenges as well as opportunities. Life indeed is checkered with ups and downs, highs and lows, blacks and whites and not to mention the gray areas in between. In order to continue to flourish we need to be able to adapt and assimilate. Much like our ancient fraternity, we have managed to evolve and adapt, and at the same time, preserve traditions. It’s amazing how we were able to do a pivot, make adjustments and still do what we used to do for centuries. Having the Feasts of Holy Saints John, for example. During the pandemic, we have done it virtually and it turned out very well. We were still able to partake our meals, load and fire our “cannons”, invite guests/speakers and so forth. All the elements of the tradition were there, with an added twist of being virtual and not knowing what the other participants are wearing below their waist! Last year’s Annual Communication was done virtually too! Did I mention that the voting was also done electronically! Amazing!

On September 18, I had the pleasure to attend the Past Master’s Roll Call – in-person. It was attended by about 20 or so PMs and brothers. As usual, everyone enjoyed Uncle Roy’s breaded chicken breast and Les’ calorie-filled apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top! There was a lot of reminiscing and storytelling that happened. While listening to their colorful stories and the history of our lodge, I felt like I was standing on the shoulders of the giants, breaking bread with Past Masters who had their terms as Masters of the Lodge dating back as far as before I was born. I was seated next to WB Alex Von Stade who was the sitting SW during the time when I was raised as a Master Mason. Eventually, he became the Master and Past Master and to this day, he continues to show up during officer’s instructions to help in any way he can. Such devotion to the craft! To my right was WB Edward Matraia, whom I consider as one of my mentors, the co-signer in my Scottish Rite application (with the late Fred Kao), and one of my first dear friends in Masonry. When I first attended Crow Canyon’s stated dinner, my application to become a Mason was still pending. During that night, Ed came to my table and slammed a mug (with the S&Q and CCL’s name on it) in front of me. ”I have no doubt that you will be a Mason!”, he said. And so, I became one. Ed had been a Mason for 48 years and had been a Lodge Master 2-3 times. The joke on the table was, whenever you had been a Lodge Master multiple times, that’s because you could not get it right the first time. However, everybody in that table knows that it was the dedication and willingness to serve that made these Masons exceptional. They chose to be in the officer’s line and labored until they were seated in that Oriental chair.

God-willing, when my time comes to lead the lodge (in about 2 years), I will have the honor to present Ed his 50-year pin as a Mason! We both are looking forward to it and you are all invited, as well as to any other events!

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