Blainscough Lodge No 8532 closed off their Masonic season in style with a visit from ‘Grizzly’s Rebels’, a team of fast-draw specialists and ‘Wild West’ enthusiasts.
After a short ceremony and a lecture about Masonic gloves, the brethren and their guests retired to the dining room.
After dinner, the master of Blainscough Lodge, Allan Farrington, gave a fascinating talk on many of the notable men in the history of the’ Wild West’ who were Freemasons.
There then followed a moving rendition of ‘The Lodge Room over Simpkins Store’ given by Joe Hall, which is reproduced below.
The Lodge Room Over Simpkins Store by Lawrence N Greenleaf.
The plainest Lodge room in the land was over Simpkins’ store,
Where Friendship Lodge had met each month for fifty’ years or more.
When o’er the earth the moon full-orbed, had cast her brightest beams,
The Brethren came from miles around on horseback and in teams,
And 0! what heavy grasp of hand, what welcome met them there,
As mingling with the waiting groups they slowly mount the stair,
Exchanging fragmentary news or prophecies of crop,
Until they reach the Tyler’s room and current topics drop,
To turn their thoughts to nobler themes they cherish and adore,
And which were heard on meeting night up over Simpkins’ Store.
To city eyes, a cheerless room, long usage had defaced,
The tell-tale lines of lath and beam on wall and ceiling traced.
The light from oil-fed lamps was dim and yellow in its hue,
The carpet once could pattern boast though now ’twas lost to view
The altar and the pedestals that marked the stations three,
The gate-post pillars topped with balls, the rude-carved Letter G,
Were village joiner’s clumsy work, with many things besides,
Where beauty’s lines were all effaced and ornament denied.
There could be left no lingering doubt if doubt there was before,
The plainest Lodge room in the land was over Simpkins’ Store.
While musing thus on outward form the meeting time drew near
And we had glimpse of inner life through watchful eye and ear.
When Lodge convened at gavel’s sound with officers in place,
We looked for strange, conglomerate work, but could no errors trace.
The more we saw the more we heard, the greater our amaze,
To find those country Brethren there so skilled in Masons’ ways.
But greater marvels were to come before the night was through,
Where unity was not mere name, but fell on hearts like dew
Where tenets had the mind imbued, and truths rich fruitage bore,
In plainest Lodge room in the land, up over Simpkins’ Store.
To hear the record of their acts was music to the ear
We sing of deeds unwritten which on angel’s scroll appear;
A widow’s case for our helpless ones Lodge funds were running low
A dozen Brethren sprang to feet and offers were not slow
Food, raiment things of needful sort while one gave load of wood,
Another shoes for little ones, for each gave what he could.
Then spoke the last ‘I haven’t things like these to give out then,
Some ready money may help out’; – and he laid down a ten.
Were Brother cast on darkest square upon life’s checkered floor
A beacon light to reach the white was over Simpkins’ Store.
Like scoffer who remained to pray, impressed by sight and sound,
The faded carpet ‘neath our feet was now like holy ground.
The walls that had such a dingy look turned celestial blue,
The ceiling changed to canopy where stars were shining through.
Bright tongues of flame from altar leaped, the G was vivid blaze,
All common things seemed glorified by heaven’s reflected rays.
0! wondrous transformation wrought through ministry of love
Behold the Lodge Room Beautiful! fair type of that above,
The vision fades – the lesson lives! and taught as ne’er before,
In the plainest Lodge room in the land-up over Simpkins’ Store.
The above is a true story reflected in a poem about a lodge which met in a room above a country store in Colorado, USA.
‘Grizzly’s team’ then gave a talk on the handguns in use in the wild west. There were descriptions of the rules of pistol duels and the different techniques of quick draw, before the fun began.
All those that wished were invited to take up arms against the men from ‘Grizzly’s Rebels’ in a series of duels. Truth be told, by the time the competition came around, most in the room were already pretty deaf from the noise of the demonstration. The professionals all tried their best to slow down enough to give the brethren a chance, but the reality is that had it been a real fight, the only Mason who might have survived was Peter Allan.
Grizzly’s Rebels use all their demonstrations as opportunities to raise funds for their chosen charities. This year they are supporting Guide Dogs for the Blind and John Farrington was pleased to be able to hand over £225, raised on the evening, for Grizzly’s Rebels to send to this very worthy cause.