2012 Recorder’s Corner

December 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Hope you have done your Christmas shopping; if not, you have Black Friday and that usually gets out a crowd.  I am not going anywhere, but I know lot of folks who are going shopping.  Happy shopping, if you are going.

I try to make a minor mistake in all my articles so the fact checkers will have something to tell me about.  Last month I placed the Veterans Day Parade on November 10th instead of November 3rd.  That got me some attention!  No, really.  That was an honest mistake, I assure you.  If anyone thought I knew what I was talking about, I obviously didn’t!

December starts with our Foster Kids Christmas Party on the first Monday [December 3rd].  This is always a fun time, with a visit from Santa Claus and hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone. It’s gonna be a great party, and we all should see it at least once!  This party puts Shriners and their Ladies in a Christmas mood.  The children love it and we love to have them there!  Then the next week, we have officer elections at December Stated Meeting on December 11th.  Come on out and vote!

And, don’t forget our Annual Nobility Christmas Party on Thursday the 13th.  The Rider High School Orchestra always plays for the party, and they present great Christmas Music each and every time.  This group is a Wichita Falls treasure, and we are fortunate to have them perform for us year after year.  By the way, Rider High School is in the football playoffs, and most of the orchestra kids are also in band;  so with any luck, they will still be playing football by then.  Good luck Rider!! We haven’t had a state championship football team here in many years. Maybe this is it!

Thanks for being a Shriner and have a Happy New Year and a Blessed Christmas!

 In  the Faith
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder



 November 2012

Hope October is treating you well. It’s been rather warm for the most part of the first two weeks, but I doubt even Cathy Stockton is keeping her swimming regimen. Water is staying too cold except for the bravest [or dumbest].

We gave out Membership Milestone pins at the October Stated Meeting. Many members were unable to attend, so we will mail them, but I wanted to mention Noble Albert Ayer, a 65-year member who came to the meeting to receive the honor. Congratulations, Albert! Also worthy of note, Nobles Lee Miks and Gene Penrod were on hand to receive their 50 Year Pins. Congratulations to them and all recipients. We appreciate you!

We had the Dead Cow Cookin’ last weekend, and the predicted rain made for slim participants, but we all had fun, anyway. A big THANK YOU to the workers who gave up their Saturday to stage this event! Then on Sunday many of us gathered in the Oasis to watch the Cowboys grind out an exciting and disappointing loss to the Baltimore Ravens. It was fun to watch, but that last field goal would have made it better, if it had only been good! Oh well. The Oasis is open for all the Cowboys games, and everyone is invited. I know most of you own a TV, but the camaraderie makes things better. Come on out!

On a more serious note, I will read the list of members who must be suspended for non payment of dues in December at the November Stated Meeting. We do this one month early so other members will have an opportunity to encourage them to stay with us. The difference between Maskat having a plus or minus year in Membership usually hinges on the members we must suspend for not paying their dues. We must retain our members to grow! We ordinarily bring in enough new Nobles to balance the Nobles who pass away, but suspended memberships cause us to lose ground! Please help us retain the Members we have!

November Stated Meeting is on the 13th• Hope to see you there, but I need to remind you that the Veterans Day Parade is November 10th. We have many Units who participate in this Parade, because Shriners are a patriotic bunch who love a good parade. As sometimes happens, the Veterans Day Parade falls on the Marine Corps Birthday this year. So Semper Fi to all my Marine Corps comrades in arms. Just be grateful we are alive to celebrate! Happy Thanksgiving to all, and

Thanks for being a Shriner!

In The Faith,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder


October 2012

First performance of the Maskat Shrine Circus is tonight, so I am late with this article. Luckily,
Billy B. builds a delay into the deadline for laggards like me! Hope we have a profitable circus!
We can use the money. As you know, purchasing your circus tickets goes straight to Maskat’s
profit, according to our contract with the circus producer. So if you have not bought your tickets,
you can still do so. Our budget will appreciate it!

Jennifer and I just returned from an anniversary [47 years] Med Cruise to ports in Spain, France,
Italy, Turkey, and Greece. It was the trip of a lifetime, and it may take that long to pay for it. But
it was enjoyable and informative, despite the frantic pace. Not much time aboard the boat, just
tour after tour of some of the wonders of the world most Americans have never seen.
Breathtaking ruins of a civilization dating five or more centuries before Christ. They actually
had running water and sewers back then! My grandparents didn’t have those conveniences most
of their lives.

We have more Football in the Oasis in October. It’s a great way to fellowship with Nobles and
Ladies at Maskat. If you have never been, don’t let that stop you. If you like football, washer
pitching and/or visiting, bring a covered dish and come on out, and bring the kids. This is one of
the new things instituted by Past Potentate Terry Martin, and Potentate Poney Thompson thinks
it is worth continuing. Even folks not particularly interested in Dallas Cowboy Football come
out and have fun.

The Dead Cow Cook Off, a sanctioned barbecue cook off, will take place Friday and Saturday,
October 12th and 13th, at the Maskat property on Hatton Road. It will be a Unit Fundraiser for
the Shotgun Unit and the Provost Guard. If you want to enter a cooking team or be a judge at the
event, contact Maskat Temple for more information ASAP.

Our Fall Ceremonial will take place on October 27th. If you know a Master Mason who needs to
be a Shriner, call Conner McCaslin at Maskat  (940-766-4511) for a petition. It is not too early to
start thinking about Membership. Membership continues to be our most pervasive problem. We
lose a few members every year to deaths, demits, and suspensions. We can’t control the number
of deaths we have, and if a man has made up his mind to demit you probably cannot change that.
Suspended members, however, can often be persuaded to pay their dues and stay aboard. We
have a list in the office of the Nobles who must be suspended for NPD [nonpayment of dues] on
or before December 31. It is a short list this year, and I will read it at the October meeting. Come
by and look at the list. If you recognize a Noble on the list, many times personal contact will
work to convince him to stay in the Shrine. The only other positive way to affect our bottom line
is to bring in new members. Only the Nobility can help with that! So it’s really up to us.

Because of the relatively short list of potential suspensions, we have an opportunity to have a
positive growth year in 2012. If you know a possible Shriner out there, encourage them to sign

There has never been a better time to become a Shriner! All a Master Mason has to do is buy a
Fez. Out initiation fee for 2012 is zero! We can’t make it any easier than that, financially. Get
out to Blue Lodge and see if you can get a man interested in becoming a part ofthe World’s
Greatest Philanthropy.

Thanks for being a Shriner!

In The Faith,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder



September 2012

September 1st  is just around the corner, and that day starts one busy month at Maskat.  Starting with Units Council on September 5th, we go from darkness to light in a hurry.  We have not met since June, so we have some catching up to do.

Lots of things will be covered at Units Council, and that is why each Unit is supposed to have a representative at that meeting.  The Divan meets right across the hall at the same time, so we have ample opportunity for communication between the two bodies.  That is when the Stated Meeting Agenda is set, and different immediate and ongoing projects are discussed at that time.  It is an important meeting, and several interested Shriners come just so they will be aware of upcoming events.

Stated Meeting is the next Tuesday, September 11th. We have a meal at 6:30, followed immediately by a business meeting.  The Maskat Shrine Circus is the next week, on September 18th and 19th.  This is one of our important fraternal fundraisers. The money we make from the circus and other fraternal fundraisers keep our doors open. And, more importantly, they allow us to pay our bills without raising our dues.  We have had two very successful charitable fundraisers in 2012, with the Hospital Benefit Golf Tournament and the Oil Bowl Football Game.  Both events benefit the Shriners Hospitals, but Maskat retains none of the money.  Another major fraternal fundraiser, the Shrinefest, did not make any money because the gate receipts were less than the cost of production!  So we really need to make up some lost revenue with the circus.

Our other major fraternal fundraiser is the ATV Raffle.  Maskat is raffling chances to win a Polaris ATV in October.  Only three hundred chances will be sold at a hundred dollars a ticket.  this is a huge [seats six] four wheel drive ATV, perfect for the deer lease or just four wheeling in general.  If you have not bought a ticket, you may purchase one [or more] at the Maskat Office.  Just call for details!

Following the conclusion of the circus, several lucky Nobles and their Ladies are going to Las Vega on the Potentate’s Trip September 20-23rd.  Or at least, they all hope to be lucky!.  Then, on September 28 and 29th, the Provost Guard hosts the Annual Fall Invitational here in Wichita Falls.  I am not mentioning October until October.  There are activities galore that month too!

Thanks for being a Shriner!

In The Faith,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder


August 2012

Hope everyone is having a wonderful, cool, delightful summer.  It is a bit cooler, on average, than last summer, thank goodness, but still hot.  Not as dry, but we are still under water rationing because of lake levels, but ya’ll know that.  We have lost some members since our June meeting, two of them close friends of mine as well as brothers.  Mike Voigt and Bill Morgan, both of whom I have known since my first week in the shrine, passed away in July.  Mike was a Clown and Bill was in the Drum Corps.  Both were veterans. Knowing they passed from here to their Eternal Reward makes it easier, but I will miss them, as will we all.  My condolences to Connie and Audrey and families.

I just returned from the Imperial Shrine Convention of Shriner’s International on July 6th, and it was every bit as hot in Charlotte, North Carolina as it is here!  Representing Maskat were Poney Thompson, Potentate, Mark Reed, Chief Rabban, and John Tunnell, Recorder.  Past Potentate Terry Huff attends each year as a Representative for the Colorado [ Hospital] Corporation.  He attends “on his own nickel”, and cannot vote on Iowa [Fraternal] Legislation.  He is recovering from a recent illness, and did not know whether or not he could attend for a while, but he made it.  His brother in law, Tommy Murdoch, passed away while he was gone and he and Janey were forced to cut the trip short and return home. Glad to see them in Charlotte and sorry they had to leave unexpectedly.

The Reps voted unanimously to grant a charter to Agila Shriners in Mindinao, Philipines.  You may recall that they were granted a “dispensation” in Denver last year to form a Shrine Temple locally.

Since we have no official activities during August, we make up for the vacation in September.  Our next functions are Divan/ Units Council on Wednesday, September 5th, and Stated Meeting the next Tuesday, September 11th.  The Shrine Circus is the next week on September 18 and 19, and we leave for the Potentate’s Trip to Las Vegas the next day, September 20th.  The Provost Guard holds the Fall Invitational starting the next Friday, September 28th, so September is already basically full!

Thank you for being a Shriner!

In The Faith,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder


(No July Article)


June 2012

Here it is June.  If this publication happens on schedule, you probably won’t have an opportunity to read it before we go to Tyler for TSA.  Jennifer and I went to Los Tres Amigos with the Wild Fez Unit to plan stuff for the Hospitality Room the other night, and they have some great ideas for fun stuff to do at the hotel.  After we got through, Jennifer said she realized we weren’t the young people in the Shrine anymore!  These guys are energetic and ready to work for Maskat.  We only have forty Nobles and lots of Ladies going to TSA, but the hotel is full.  Maybe nobody will complain about the noise from the Hospitality Room, since the hotel is full of Maskat people!

Shrinefest is this weekend!  The deadline for articles is Thursday, so I can’t give you anything but a prediction.  I predict we’ll have a great Shrinefest!  The artists are great, we just need a crowd to make it profitable.  The weather is supposed to be perfect, so if heat was what cost us a crowd the two previous Shrinefests, we should be in great shape.

We come home from Tyler and TSA, catch our breath, and have the Oil Bowl Game the next Saturday Night.  That’s another function we have to hope and pray for good weather.  Too much heat or a rain will make people stay away in droves.  From now on, the Oil Bowl makes money for the Shrine Hospitals, so come on our and support your favorite Shrine Charity! June 9th is the date for the Oil Bowl, but we have a week of preparation in which we feed the players, have an Oil Bowl Banquet and pick an Oil Bowl Queen. When you watch the Oil Bowl Band at halftime, remember these young [and old] musicians are donating their time and talent to help draw a crowd to the game.  Ably directed by Noble Rodney Bennett, Olney High School Band Director, they never fail to be entertaining and musical.  Every one of them is a volunteer!

Don’t say there’s nothing to do in the Shrine!  Just look at the monthly calendar in the back of the Wildcat, pick something out and participate!  We’ll be glad to have you, and you’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for being a Shriner!

In The Faith,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder


May 2012

The Merry Month of May is upon us, and it is going to be busy!  We start with the OG Trip to the Shreveport Shrine Hospital on the first weekend, and end with the TSA Allstate Shrine Convention in Tyler on the last day of the month and the first three days of June.  Something happening all the time, and not a month for slackers!

OG Bruce Urban will serve libations and food all the way to Shreveport and back.  Our mission is to let him walk from Wichita Falls to Louisiana.  We try to get the New Nobles to attend this trip their first year as Shriners.  It gives them a first hand feel for what the Shrine Fraternity is really all about [the Hospitals,] and an opportunity to bond with other Maskat Members.  I have missed a few OG Trips, but I try to go every year.

We have Stated Meeting May 8th, and the next Sunday, May 13th, is our first annual Mother’s Day Brunch at Maskat.  Sponsored by the Legion of Honor and the Divan, it is meant to honor all mothers involved in Maskat.  It is scheduled for 11:00am to 2:00pm at the Temple. Ya’ll come, and bring your Mother, or any Mother you want to honor on Mother’s Day! You will find more info on this and other events elsewhere in the publication.

May 19th brings us to Shrinefest.  This is our major Fraternal Fundraiser for the year.  Sometimes it is very successful, and sometimes it doesn’t raise the necessary funds, but it is always a fun weekend.  We need volunteers [manpower and womanpower] to make this event successful.  If you have never worked this event, now is a great time to start.  We have three great country music bands to entertain us, and all we need is a big crowd and you!

Looking behind, if you haven’t been to the Masonic History Month at the Museum of North Texas, it is too late! Scheduled for April, this may be an annual event, depending on the interest.  And ahead to June, directly following TSA Allstate Convention the first weekend, we have the Oil Bowl Football Classic scheduled for June 9th at Memorial Stadium.  This is our first year to try to do it as a Hospital Benefit, and we are excited about the change.  Imperial Sir Jerry Gantt and his Lady Lisa will attend the Oil Bowl Banquet and the Oil Bowl, and Past Potentate Bob Hamblin’s Committee is attending Stated Meetings in Oklahoma City, Muskogee, and Tulsa to try to “drum up interest,” by spreading the message that all proceeds benefit the Shriner’s Hospitals For Children.

Have fun on life’s journey, do good work and be kind and forgiving of others. As always, thanks for being a Shriner!

 In The Faith,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder


April 2012

April already!  Thanks for your prayers and concern, and I am ready to pronounce my back surgery a success.  I discovered this sort of surgery is slower to heal than anything else I have had to date, and I get impatient with the restrictions imposed by the doctor, but he did tell me it would be a protracted convalescence, so I knew that going in.  Just like to hurry it up a little! My bride Jennifer made it through her ordeal with breast cancer with flying colors, and things around here are getting back to normal, whatever that may be.

We learned at stated meeting in March that Jane Hill, wife of past Illustrious Sir Gary Hill, was to have surgery for ovarian cancer that Friday.  She did fine in surgery, is recuperating at home, and will start chemotherapy in a few days.  Please keep her in your prayers.  Past Potentate Terry Huff is on the road to Galveston for the Hospital Board Meeting at this writing for the first time since his liver problems were diagnosed in November.  His doctor released him to resume his usual schedule, and we are blessed to have him on the road again, representing Maskat with the Galveston Hospital Board!   Go get ‘em, Terry!

The IHOP Pancake Day, held to benefit Shriner’s Hospitals on February 28th, was a financial success for our Hospital System, thanks to IHOP’s nationwide and our local IHOPs on Southwest Parkway and Broad Street.  Past Potentate Gary Hill spearheaded the effort locally, and the Nobility of Maskat Temple was present at both locations to greet the public and thank them for their donations.  In Wichita Falls, more than $5,000 was raised in one day, thanks to our Nobles, P.P. Gary Hill, and a very generous public.

April is Masonic History Month at the North Texas Museum on Indiana.  We have several members gathering Masonic and Maskat Memorabilia for this display.  April also brings our annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 6th at Maskat Shrine.  We sponsor this event for our own children and grandchildren and any other youngster you want to sponsor.  It is controlled mayhem, with kids everywhere!  We serve them hotdogs and hamburgers and hunt Easter eggs.  It is always a fun time for kids young and old.  We also have our annual Shrine Hospital Benefit Golf Tournament on April 28th.  All the proceeds from this event go to our Shrine Hospitals for Children, so dust off your golf clubs and come on out.  Details are in the Wildcat, and you can call the office for further information.

O.G. Trip is scheduled the first weekend in May, and the Shrinefest is on May 19th this year, for those of you looking ahead to Maskat events.  Texas Shrine Association All State Convention starts May 31 in Tyler, Texas, and our Annual Shrine Hospital Benefit Oil Bowl is June 9th at Memorial Stadium.  This is our first year for the Oil Bowl to be a Shrine Hospital Benefit, and we are expecting great support.  The Chairman for the Oil Bowl event is Past Potentate Gary Hill.

Have fun on life’s journey, do good work and be kind and forgiving of others. Thanks for being a Shriner!

 In The Faith,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder


March 2012

When you receive this communication, it will be March!  So many February Festivities are still ahead of us, like the Stated Meeting and Potentate’s Ball.  I have to start my column early because I may not feel much like doing one after Stated Meeting, which is a Ladies Night [Valentine’s Day, you know]. It falls four days after back surgery for me, and Doctor Clavenna says I can’t go to that!  Potentate’s Ball on the 25th will probably be okay, though.  Wish me luck and a blessing.  I have a splendid surgeon and a great family and personal support group, but happy thoughts from friends help us get through tough times!

We are off to a great year here at Maskat.  We had a wonderful “changing of the guard” and installation in January, with only one major malfunction that I noticed, and it was my fault! P.P. Gary Hill did a great job as M.C., and Installing Officer, and the awards were presented without a hitch. But I dropped the ball and neglected to order Illustrious Sir Terry Martin’s Plaque to mount his retiring gavel upon. Ouch!  P.P. Treasurer Greg Stockton, who was supposed to present the plaque, covered up for me with his usual fast thinking, and only a few folks noticed.  But I owe Terry an apology anyway.  I’m sorry, Illustrious Sir.  My head was obviously elsewhere!

The Super Bowl was a fantastic celebration at Maskat.  If you missed it, you missed a real party.  Not many of us had a whole lot to celebrate, with the Cowboys out of the running, but it was fun to watch Jeff Browning.  The dishes we brought to share were an eclectic assemblage of gastronomic delights, and we had tons of nonperishable foods donated to the food bank.  In case you have not heard or do not care, the Giants won.  I had a great conversation with one of our oldest members, Noble John Hatler of Graham.  He made the drive by himself, won a football pot, and got home safely.  That’s an accomplishment of sorts for anyone, but John is 95 years young and lives in Graham!  I want to grow up to be just like him!

If you were there you were bound to notice the projection screen and our new sound system.  It was the brainchild of HP&P Charles Dean, with the assistance of outgoing Fez Prez and Membership Chairman Jeff Gainer, Incoming Fez Prez Scott McNeely and their crew.  It is an excellent addition to our meeting room.  The best news of all is that it cost the operating budget nothing!  It was a grass roots effort spearheaded by HP&P Charles Dean, construction by the Wild Fez Unit, and contributions by various anonymous Nobles.  Just shows what you can do when you see a need and fill it!

Your Divan traveled to Dallas last weekend for the TSA Divan Midwinter Meeting.  It was interesting and informative, with five of the Imperial Divan present [including Imperial Potentate Mike Severe] and participating.  Plus Past Imperial Potentate and SHC Chairman Doug Maxwell was in attendance to give a “State of the Hospitals” report.  As always, increasing membership is our greatest overriding concern.  Our Illustrious Sir Poney Thompson has committed our Temple to the goal of a gain in overall membership in 2012.  It is ambitious, but realistic.  We can do it with the three R’s: Retaining of current members, Reinstating former members and Recruiting of Blue Lodge Masons who should be Shriners!  Of course, it always helps if we do not have too many visits from the Black Camel. So Nobles, please try not to die this year.  We need you.

Have fun on life’s journey, do good work, and be kind and forgiving of others.  For those interested in a timeline, I am writing these sentences starting my second week of recovery from surgery.  It still hurts some, but yesterday, suddenly it was enough better that I knew I did the right thing.  With friends and family prayers and concerns, a great physician, and the Great Physician pulling for me, life is good! Thanks for being a Shriner!

 In The Faith,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder


February 2012

Elected Officers were duly installed at the January Stated Meeting by P.P. Gary Hill.  They were all elected in December, and Illustrious Sir Poney Thompson succeeded Immediate Past Potentate Terry Martin as Potentate.  The installation was open to ladies and guests and was well attended.  An unannounced highlight was the Golden Fez and Fezzette awards.  These awards are presented annually by the Divan as recognition for outstanding work rendered for Maskat Temple.  Recipients were Sherry Blevins for the Fezzete and P.P. Gary Hill and Eric “Skip” Skipper for the Golden Fez.  As it happens sometimes, two Nobles did award winning work for Maskat Temple, and the Divan cannot choose one over the other.  Congratulations are in order for these hard working, dedicated people.

I went to Noble Tommy Hopson’s funeral in January, and it was a celebration of his life.  Tommy was a dear friend and brother and lived “by the Square” with everyone he met.  A genuine Christian and Mason in thought, word and deed, he will be missed.  My condolences go out to Lady Wanda and Tommy’s family.  I saw many friends I don’t see on a regular basis, which happens a lot at events of this nature.  I wish you all good health and fortune.

Many of you may recall from my November column that my bride Jennifer has breast cancer.  As an update, she is doing very well since living through chemotherapy.  She is presently undergoing radiation, which is a comparative walk in the park!  Thanks to all for your prayers and kindnesses.  She is on the road to recovery.

Don’t forget Super Bowl Sunday at Maskat Temple.  Everyone is asked to bring a couple of cans of food to cover their admission and a snack or covered dish to share.  We will have the usual fun and games, and everyone is welcome.  February 5th is the date, and you do not have to appreciate football to have a good time with friends!  Also in February is the Potentates Ball on the 25th.  Potentate Poney’s Lady Susie has chosen “wine and roses” for her theme and is making preparations for a great event.  Make your reservations and attend the festivities.

Have fun on life’s journey, and thanks for being a Shriner!

 In The Faith,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder


 January 2012

Wow! Where in the world did 2011 go? I know they say time flies when you’re having fun, but this is ridiculous.  The older one gets the faster it goes that’s for sure.  We elected officders at December Stated Meeting and will install them during the January Stated Meeting.  As most of you already know, our installation is traditionally an open meeting.  Potentate Martin will make a few presentations, and he will be presented some momentos of his year as Potentate.  There will be a formal changing of the guard, and the Potentate-elect, Poney Thompson, will assume the office and close the meeting.  So bring your Lady and enjoy the evening?

At the December Stated Meeting, Poney Thompson was elected Potentate; Mark Reed — Chief Rabban; Dru Landrum — Assistant Rabban; Charles Dean — High Priest and Prophet; Bruce Urban —  Oriental Guide; Greg Stockton — Treasurer; and John Tunnell — Recorder. All of the current line officers were elevated to the next office by vote of the Nobility.   Greg and I were allowed to remain as Treasurer and Recorder.

Oriental Guide-Elect Bruce Urban was chosen in the only contested election of the night.  He and Noble Calvin Carlton ran for that office.  These are two extremely capable men, and the Nobility chose to elect Bruce Urban.  Calvin Carlton will remain a dedicated Shriner and continue to work for the fraternity and the Shriners Hospitals.

In further voting, Potentate-Elect Poney Thompson and Chief Rabban-Elect Mark Reed were elected as Imperial Representatives in an unconte4sted election.  Nobles Mark Baker and Bil Yates were elected to replace Nobles Bob Hogue and Dave Corbett on the Financial Advisory Committee.  These are the Officers the Nobility elected to represent us in the ensuing year.  Please support them as they carry out the duties of their respective offices.  Remember, they are volunteers too!

Congratulations to Potentate Terry Martin and Lady Roma for a wonderful year! They approached every situation  with a positive, constructive attitude and had fun doing it.  Thank you, Terry and Roma for your hard work and success.  We all had a wonderful year!

Hope you and yours had a wonderful and blessed Christmas and enjoyed a happy and prosperous New Year!

In the Faith
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder