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Masonic News & Views -- The Ventriloquist Snake
August 07, 2011
Greetings Brother,

Life has been a little fuzzy here at the CowChows lately. First, I'd like to apologize for not sending you a tale from the CowChows last week. I had a small accident and was suffering from a sprained typing pinkie, and a slight concussion. It was all the Lady BG's fault.

It began around mid-morning. The thin red line on the thermometer outside had crept past uncomfortable and into the range of barely tolerable. The birds, butterflies, bees, bears and bovines had all sought out shade or solace from the rising heat. The air was heavy and refused to move. Trees, shrubs and flowers held their breath and waited.

I stood at the window, looking out across the back yard and the woods beyond, watching the world slip into summer slumber and thankful that I had my own refuge from the heat. Movement at the base of a cedar tree caught my eye and I narrowed my focus to follow it. "Honey," I said, "I think there's a Black Rat Snake going under your little critter cabin out back."

"What! Where? I want to see. Where is he?"

But, by the time she got to the window the slender black tail had disappeared from view.

"Go get him. I want to see him. How big was he? I don't want him living under there. You need to take him to the church...."

I objected. I argued. I even refused. But eventually, I hiked up my shorts, donned my work boots, leather gloves and old straw hat, and went trudging across the yard and up the hill to the base of the tree. As I stepped up to the critter cabin I could hear the Lady BG at the window offering unfaltering encouragement and direction.

Ready to get this over with and get back inside where it was cool, I bent and plucked the cabin off the ground. The snake was there. He immediately coiled and I immediately stepped back. I set the cabin behind me and out of the way, and then I turned toward the window where the Lady BG stood waiting and I pointed at the snake.

"I can't see it," she said. "Pick it up where I can see it. I want to see how big it is."

I flatly refused, of course, but thankfully she couldn't hear me through the glass and I eventually stepped cautiously toward the snake. I've actually handled Black Rat snakes before and in truth I like them, as much as I like any snake but that's not much. I came in close with a stick and began trying to un-coil him and find his tail.

In my experience, a Black Rat snake won't strike unless he feels especially threatened, or is being poked at with a stick on a particularly warm day by an old sweaty guy in shorts and work boots and wearing a hat made of straw.

When the snake struck, I jumped back. Unfortunately, I had set the critter cabin behind me. One boot came down on the cabin; the other went up in the air, and then the world twirled around me as I tumbled down the hill, over a wall, through a multi-flora rose bush, and finally came to rest at the foot of the old maple tree. I lay there for a minute, waiting for the world to stop spinning. I heard a sound unlike anything I'd heard before and I looked back up the hill. The snake was raised up at the base of the cedar tree and was laughing. He wasn't just laughing; he was giggling hysterically. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, and the most amazing thing wasn't that he was laughing but that he was apparently throwing his voice because the laughter seemed to be coming from inside the house.

Fraternally yours,

Tim Couch

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

Monday, August 8, 2011: Central Crossing Lodge No. 674 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 1st Degree of Freemasonry. Three duly elected candidates will be presented for initiation into the mysteries of the Craft. Two of the candidates are currently serving in our military forces, and the third is their father. If you can make it Brother, this would be a good place to be tonight. All Freemasons are invited in. Dinner at 6:00 and Lodge will be duly Opened at 6:30 PM.
Central Crossing Lodge is located at Highway 39 South, Bridgeway Plaza, Shell Knob, Missouri 65747 (Look for the door next to the Subway restaurant).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011: Central Crossing Lodge No. 674 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 2nd Degree of Freemasonry. Four candidates will be presented for passage to the degree of Fellow Craft. Dinner at 6:00 and Lodge will be duly Opened at 6:30 PM.

Saturday, August 13, 2011: Central Crossing Lodge No. 674 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 3rd Degree of Freemasonry. At least three candidates will be presented for advancement to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Coffee and Donuts at 7:30 AM. Lodge will be duly Opened at 8:00 AM. All Master Masons are invited in.

Saturday, August 13, 2011: A One Day Scottish Rite Reunion will be held at the Pulaski County Shrine Club building located at 26920 Shrine Rd, Laquey, MO 65534. Breakfast will be ready by 7:00 and the degree ritual will begin at 8:00 AM. For more information visit the Valley of Joplin Web site or call the Valley office at (417) 623-3219.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011: Bolivar Lodge No. 195 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 3rd Degree of Freemasonry. Brothers Byron Bock and Eric Davey will be presented for advancement to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Lodge will be duly Opened at 6:30 PM. There should be some simple fare to prevent starvation for those of you who come straight from work.
Bolivar Lodge is located at 301 S. Killingsworth Ave, Bolivar, MO 65613.

Monday, August 22, 2011: Gate of the Temple Lodge No. 422 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 1st degree of Freemasonry. Lodge will be duly Opened at 6:00 PM and there will be nourishment following the work.

The Tri-County Scottish Rite Club cordially invites all Scottish Rite Masons and their family and friends to enjoy fun and fellowship at their regular meetings held on the third Thursday of each month. Tri-County meets at the Elks Lodge in Bolivar , MO. Social time at 6:30 PM; Dinner and meeting at 7:00. Yearly dues are just $5.
For directions and inquiries please call John Bennett at 417-328-8188 or Jackie Slagle at 417-376-2943.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011: Clintonville Lodge No. 482 will host a Regional School of Ritual Instruction to be conducted by RWB Tim Couch, Region 'F' Grand Lecturer. Refreshments will be ready at 6:30 PM and instruction will begin at 7:30 PM. All Master Masons are invited and encouraged to attend.

Saturday, August 27, 2011: Gate of the Temple Lodge No. 422 will host a Chance-to-Advance one day class at the Gate of the Temple Lodge building located at 1700 North Boonville in Springfield, MO. Breakfast at 6:30, Registration at 7:00 AM, Lodge will be duly Opened at 8:00 AM, and the day will wrap around 3:30 PM. All Master Masons are encouraged to attend.

Saturday, September 10, 2011: Charity Shoot for Kids sponsored by Solomon Lodge No. 271. Proceeds from this Sporting Clays Shoot will support McGregor and Bowerman Elementary Schools in Springfield, MO. The event will be held at Ozark Shooters Sports Complex in Branson, MO. Click here to open and print a registration form for this event. For more information contact Brother J.W. Gibbs at (417) 350-2700.

The Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin needs your help in preserving our beautiful Scottish Rite Cathedral. 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 building please go to WWW.WIN-CAMARO.COM. or visit and "LIKE" the page at While you're at it be sure and tell your friends. 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

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

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

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