This time of year in Alaska is absolutely beautiful. We are just starting to get our first touch of fall coloring in the leaves of the birch and aspens. The berry bushes that cling to the mountain sides are showing a brilliant red. Although, we don’t have the variety of coloring seen in the hardwood forest on the East Coast, I am partial to our change of season. The yellow and oranges of the deciduous trees contrast nicely with the dark green of our native spruce, while the floor of our forests are a beautiful crimson.
This was the scene that Beth and I experienced as we drove from our home Wednesday morning, up the George Parks Highway to Fairbanks, to participate in the Grand Master’s reception in District No. 1 and enjoy friendship and fellowship with the officers and members of Tanana Lodge No.3, Fairbanks Lodge No. 12, and North Pole Lodge No. 16. This event took place in the beautiful Fairbanks Masonic Center, which was remodeled from an existing church building two years ago.
The evening began with a great barbeque dinner consisting of pork ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and chicken, with all the fixings. The meal was prepared by Worshipful Brother Kevin McKinley’s lady Beth and friends. Thank you Beth for a wonderful meal. Before moving upstairs for opening of lodge and introduction of Grand Lodge officers, we all enjoyed ice cream and a cake decorated in my honor. The evening concluded with speeches from the assembled guests in an open session enjoyed by Masons, family, and friends.
This was the fourth time this year that a joint reception of the Grand Master was conducted with two or more lodges. The event was well received by all who were in attendance and promises to become a new Grand Lodge custom. Lodge was opened by WB Kevin McKinley, Worshipful Master of Tanana Lodge No. 3 sitting in the East. Kevin was joined in the East by WB Mike Leroux and WB Mickey Harper, the Worshipful Masters of Fairbanks Lodge No. 12 and North Pole Lodge No. 3 respectively.
The Masters presented me gifts from each of their lodges and I, in turn, gave each Master of copy of “American Freemasonry” by WB Mark Tabbert. It has been my custom this year to give a signed copy of Mark’s book to each Worshipful Master with the instruction to read it and bring back the information to their meetings as Masonic education.
All in all, it was a great visit and I extend my sincere thanks to all of the Fairbanks and North Pole Masons and their families.
This afternoon, Beth and I left Fairbanks and drove down to Tok on the Richardson and Alaska highways en route to Dawson City, Yukon Territory to visit with our Canadian Brethren in Yukon Lodge No. 45. The scenery along our drive was a duplicate of the day before and we marveled at the beauty of the forests, mountains, rivers, and lakes all around us. Alaska is truly a glorious State.