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From the South

By Andrew Hawes — Jr. Warden

June is a month that I’ve always associated with good things. I was married in June. My wife’s birthday, Flag Day, Father’s Day, and now Juneteenth are all in June, as is a lesser known holiday, Paul Bunyan day! It’s early summer, so the weather isn’t TOO hot, but the rains of spring are mainly behind us, and so it’s a sunny, warm, and happy month. I recall going on camping trips with my family in Junes past, enjoying the fresh greenery on the trees and the sunlight filtering through the leaves out of a beautiful clear blue sky.

As Masons, we have reason to celebrate June as well – Saint John the Baptist was born in June- or so we celebrate with the Feast of St. John, which we will be holding this year on June 18th! We will hold a festive board, with seven courses and seven firing of the cannon – make sure you let me know before then if you would like to attend, as we are preparing the feast for an exact head count, and you won’t want to participate in the firing of the cannons without partaking of the feast – not if you plan to be able to still be able to sit in your chair by the end of the meal! This year, we’re trying something a bit different – we’ll be offering a “Masonic Family Shuttle Service” home after the feast! If you don’t have a designated driver to pick you up when we’re finished, and live too far away to walk home, please ensure that you provide your address to me when you RSVP, and let me know that you would like a ride home after the meal, and we will confirm whether we can accommodate you- we may run out of space or time for everyone, so please try to arrange a pickup if you can, but we wanted to offer this option for those of you who would like to attend, and don’t have a way home after – we can drive home up to 5 at a time with our minivan!

The feast of St. John the Baptist is an interesting one, because it’s a celebration of his birth, and not his death – most saint’s feast days are to commemorate the day of their passing into their eternal life – the “dies natalis” – to this rule there are only two notable exceptions, John the Baptist, and the Virgin Mary. The feast has been celebrated by some famous people over the years- for example, Johann Sebastian Bach composed three church cantatas for the feast! Traditionally, the feast would fall on June 24th, but we’ve moved it a week earlier this year- the 18th of June also has some historic significance, as it was the day when Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo in 1815, the day in 1928 that Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly in an airplane across the Atlantic (a feat she repeated a few years later in her famous solo flight across that same ocean,) and the date in 1983 when Sally Ride was the first American woman to reach outer space!

June is also when they play tennis at Wimbleton, when the summer solstice (the longest day of the year) occurs, and originally had only 29 days in it! Julius Caesar added the 30th day to the month as part of creating his “Julian Calendar” back in 45 BC by his edict – but just like columns in architecture, we are indebted to the Greeks for it, as it was actually designed with the air of Greek mathematicians and astronomers! That calendar was the predominant calendar for most of the Western world for more than 1600 years, until being eventually replaced for most of the world by the Gregorian calendar promulgated by Pope Gregory XIII to adjust the Julian calendar’s drift against the solar year.

That’s all I have for this month – enjoy your first month of Summer!"

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