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Masonic News & Views -- Handlin' Haints
October 24, 2011
Greetings Brother,

It's been a long time since I've been into the woods out back of the CowChows after dark. Fortunately, the CowChows Spook Light has been calm for quite some time and I've had no reason to venture into the woods at night. Someday I hope to learn to leave well enough alone.

I had the pleasure and privilege of spending time this weekend with some of the finest and most committed men ever to walk the planet. I don't know how I came to be welcomed by these men, but I thank God and hope they never come to realize their mistake every day. During the course of the weekend I had the special privilege of sitting down to converse with one of our most distinguished and elderly gents. In fact, to call him an ancient wouldn't be far off and I don't think he'd mind.

As it happened, this event took place in Joplin, Missouri and as you may know Joplin is famous for its own Spook Light. Naturally, the conversation eventually came around to that topic and I told my friend of my past adventures in the woods out back of the CowChows. When I told him of waking up in the woods wearing nothing but a tutu, ballet slippers and a peacock fan headdress I was afraid we were going to lose him.

Eventually, he recovered and when he'd caught his breath he explained to me that I simply didn't know how to "handle them haints." He said, "What ya got to understand about haints is that they come in just as many flavors as people do. Some are quiet and you'll never know they're there; some can be plum mean; others are like Casper and they just want to be noticed and loved; but, mostly they're just bored and tryin' to have a little fun. The mistake people make is in trying to get rid of them. You cain't get rid of them, so what you got to do is show them that you neither fear them nor mean them harm."

"How do you do that," I asked as I slid to the edge of my chair.

"Well," he said, "it's easy you see. Haints value symbols just like we do. And, one of the most powerful symbols to a haint is a bag of bones. Alls you got to do is get you a bag of bones and go out into them woods. You just walk out into them woods as bold as you please and you shake that bag of bones and you chant to them haints:
Come on haints, I got ya a bag of bones
Jawbones, fingerbones, funnybones and wishbones.
No need to moan or groan or cry upon your headstone.
Come on haints, I got ya a bag of bones."

"But, where am I supposed to get jawbones and fingerbones," I asked beginning to wonder if he was pulling my leg."

"Aaah," he said, "it don't matter what kind of bones they are. It's the gesture and the symbolism of the bones that matters to the haints. It's like a peace offering and it works every time, guaranteed."

As luck would have it, when I got home that evening the Lady BG had fixed fried chicken for supper. I was ravenous after the long trip home, and before I knew it I was staring at a platter of chicken bones in the middle of the kitchen table. As I sat there staring the chant came into my mind, and then out of the corner of my eye I could've sworn I saw a flicker of light in the woods out back. I swallowed hard and wondered if I'd have the nerve.

A few minutes later I stepped off the back porch of the CowChows, a flashlight in one hand and a bag of chicken bones in the other. As I stepped into the dark woods the bag of bones began to shake. I tried to shine the flashlight beam on it but it was shaking too. The flickering spook light had grown brighter and cast dancing shadows through the skeletal trees. I took a deep breath and tried to steel myself.

I stepped off on the left foot, held the bag out in front of me and began shaking it, and then began the chant:
"Come on haints, I got ya a bag of bones
Jawbones, fingerbones, funnybones and wishbones.
No need to moan or groan or cry upon your headstone...."

I hadn't even finished the chant when I heard a twig snap off to my right. I froze in my tracks. I held my breath and waited. Then, just ahead of me I heard a sound like...sniffing. I shined the beam of my flashlight hoping at once to see something and nothing. What I saw was more terrifying than any spook could have ever been. Apparently, fried chicken bones are an excellent bait for black bears.

I took off running in the opposite direction. I heard the snap of branches and rustle of leaves behind me as the bear took up the chase. I heard screaming and then realized it was me. The beam from my flashlight skidded and careened through the woods ahead of me. I saw the lights of the CowChows through the trees, but I could hear the huffing pants of the bear as he closed the distance. Finally, I realized I still had the bag of chicken bones in my hand and I threw it off to my left. I broke from the woods and sprinted toward the lights of the house. I could no longer hear the bear and as I drew nearer to safety I glanced over my shoulder to see if he was still in pursuit.

The bear was gone but in that split second of distraction I'd misjudged the opening in the fence. I ran headlong into the old wire fence that runs along the back of the property. It gave a little, like a taught rubber band, before slapping me to the ground and knocking any remaining breath from my lungs.

While I lay there bleeding, groaning, gasping for air and hoping the ability to move would soon return to my limbs, one thought kept running through my mind, "Come on haints, I am a bag of bones..."

Fraternally yours,

Tim Couch


Now, on with the news........................

Monday, October 24, 2011: Willard Lodge No. 620 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 3rd Degree of Freemasonry. One, possibly two, candidates will be presented for the sublime degree of Master Mason. Dinner at 6:00 and Lodge will be duly Opened thereafter. All Master Masons are invited in.

Monday, October 24, 2011: Springfield Chapter No. 15 RAM will vote on changes to the By-Laws during the Regular Convocation.
This meeting will also be the Official Visit of Steven C. Monrotus, Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of the State of Missouri.
Dinner will be hosted by the Social Order of the Beauceant Ladies to recognize the Past Commanders of St. John's Commandery No. 20. All members are encouraged to attend.
Dinner at 6:00 and Regular Convocation at 7:00 PM.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011: Billings Lodge No. 379 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 1st Degree of Freemasonry. Bradley Wayne Porterfield, who has been duly elected, will be presented for initiation into the mysteries of Freemasonry. Refreshments at 6:00 PM and Lodge will be Duly Opened at 6:30 PM. Your attendance and help is greatly appreciated.

Thursday, October 27, 2011: Forsyth Lodge No. 453 will host a Regional School of Ritual Instruction conducted by RWB Tim Couch, Region 'F' Grand Lecturer. Refreshments will be served at 6:15 PM and instruction will begin at 6:30 PM. Instruction will include Opening on all three degrees, Balloting on a Petition, Receiving Distinguished Guests, and Closing the Lodge. All Master Masons are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Friday & Saturday, November 4 & 5, 2011: The Fall York Rite Festival takes place this weekend. Friday night sign-in from 5:30 PM. Degrees start at 6:30 PM until approximately 10:30 PM. There will be a break in the work for light refreshments.
Saturday sign-in and breakfast at 7:00 AM. Degrees start at 8:00 AM until Noon. Lunch will be served by the ladies of the Social Order of the Beauceant (as a fundraiser for the Ladies.) Work will resume at 1:00 PM until approximately 3:30 PM.
All York Rite Masons are encouraged to attend. Contact any York Rite Mason for information and a petition to join the York Rite Bodies.

Saturday, November 5, 2011: Henderson Lodge No. 477 will host a Conceal Carry Firearms License class to be conducted by WB Jim Watson. For more information contact Mike Smith at 417-753-4360 or msmith"at"hendersonlodge477.org

Friday, November 11, 2011: MWB John Hess, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of the State of Missouri will hold an Area/Town Hall Meeting at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 505 South Byers in Joplin, MO at 7:00 PM. All Missouri Freemasons are encouraged to attend.

Saturday, November 12, 2011: MWB John Hess, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of the State of Missouri will hold an Area/Town Hall Meeting at the Gate of the Temple Lodge building, 1700 North Boonville in Springfield, MO, beginning with breakfast at 8:00. All Missouri Freemasons are encouraged to attend.

Thursday, November 17, 2011: Henderson Lodge No. 477 will have the privilege of honoring a Brother with 67 years of Masonic service. Dinner will be ready at 6:30 and Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:30 PM.
Henderson Lodge No. 477 meets at 127 East Center Street in Rogersville, MO.

Saturday, November 19, 2011: There will be a C2A (Chance-to-Advance) one-day class at the Gate of the Temple Lodge building, 1700 North Boonville in Springfield, MO. Breakfast will be ready by 7:00; Registration will begin at 7:00 AM and Lodge will be duly Opened at 8:00 AM. This C2A will be hosted by Solomon Lodge No. 271, A.F.& A.M.

Monday, November 28, 2011: York Rite Bodies Years of Service Recognition Dinner will be hosted by the ladies of the Social Order of the Beauceant. Dinner will be served at 6:00 and all members are invited.
The Regular meeting of all York Rite Bodies will begin at 7:00 PM.

Monday, December 12, 2011: Date Change - The December meeting of Springfield Chapter No. 15 Royal Arch Masons, Zabud Council No. 25 Cryptic Masons, and St. John's Commandery No. 20 Knights Templar has been moved to December 12 to avoid any conflicts with Christmas and Holiday plans. The meeting will begin at 7:00 PM.
In January the schedule will return to 7:00 PM on the 4th Monday of each month at the Masonic-York Rite building located at 1930 West Catalpa Street in Springfield, MO. All York Rite Masons are encouraged to attend.

Saturday, February 4, 2012: RWB Robert C. Floyd, Grand Lecturer of Missouri Masons will conduct a School of Ritual Instruction and Regional Round Robin Ritual Competition at Monett Lodge No. 129. Lunch will be available at 11:30 AM and instruction will begin at 1:00 PM. All Missouri Master Masons are encouraged to attend.
The Monett Lodge building is located at 501 13th Street in Monett, MO.

Please Note: Due to acts of God and Government this year the date for the drawing for the new Chevy Camaro has been changed to March 17, 2012. Please help the Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin in their efforts to preserve and repair the beautiful Scottish Rite Cathedral in Joplin, MO. And, in helping preserve this piece of American history you could win a brand new Chevy Camaro. Tickets are just $50 each and only two thousand tickets will be offered. There will be cash prizes awarded, as well. For all the details on how you can help us preserve this beautiful and unique building please go to WWW.WIN-CAMARO.COM. or find us on Facebook and "LIKE" the page at Facebook.com/WinANewCamaro. We're a long way from our goal so please help spread the word. We truly appreciate your assistance. Thank you very much.

As you can see there's lots of Masonry going on in Missouri. See the links below to keep up with the latest or to submit information for your upcoming meeting.

For more news of upcoming events and special communications visit the Upcoming Masonic Events page on Masonsmart.com

For a calendar of Stated meetings for many of the Lodges and Masonic bodies visit the Masonic Calendar page on Masonsmart.com

For help locating a lodge building visit the Missouri Masonic Lodge Map page on Masonsmart.com

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