By sean mcmahon
T he weekend was beautiful for those who spent most of the time outdoors—with the exception of a good part of the crowd present for the last 15 minutes of the dedication and setting of the cornerstone at the new Pioneers Medical Center east of Meeker.
I have always been interested in the history of the Masons and their ties to the Holy Grail (Christ’s chalice from the Last Supper) and cornerstones. For centuries the Masons have been the entity that lays these landmark plates into the lower levels of buildings all over towns and cities, large and small, all over the planet.
I do not know how many there are in Meeker, but a fair number of the older buildings in Meeker and Rangely bear cornerstones, and I had always kind of wondered how they got there.
Meeker Masonic Lodge No. 80, AF&AM, laid the cornerstone on Saturday afternoon at the new Pioneers Medical Center in front of a crowd of roughly 300 people.
The ceremony was led by the top Mason in the state of Colorado—Most Worshipful Brother Dexter D. Koons, the Grand Master of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Colorado. The rest of the ceremony passed back and forth between state Masonic officials and local Masonic officials, following ancient rules and traditions dating back many centuries.
Eventually, Meeker Mason Chuck Mills set the cornerstone in masterful manner, entombing a time capsule behind the stone in all of 10 minutes, getting the cement where it needed to go on all four sides of the stone, packing it in firmly. Mills was quick, capable and seemed to get it all right for the cornerstone to remain in place for at many decades to come.
The Masons in attendance put on a good show. They looked sharp in their black coats, their white tool belts and many wearing their jewels/chains of office.
They showed that the Masons are not dying off, as has been stated in some small and some not-so-small towns, and they should be proud of their appearance, their ceremony and their future.
They added tremendously to a celebration of the new Pioneers Medical Center, a facility that all Meekerites should be proud of for its new services, the facility itself and the safer, more comfortable interior and exterior—now, and, more importantly, for many years to come.
Those at the Meeker Healthcare Foundation have had the foresight to act now to build the new Pioneers Medical Center, and those who work at the hospital should be darned proud of the new and improved and expanded facility.
And the Walbridge Wing is almost homey and attractive enough to make me want to move in a little early.
A job well done, folks.
Unfortunately, also scheduled for Saturday afternoon/evening from 4 to 6 p.m. was the Buford School Fish Fry, put on annually by the White River Community Association to raise money for the historic Buford School’s upkeep and restoration.
Roughly 200 people took part in the fish fry, where the star of the show was at least 200 pounds of white fish caught a couple months ago during a fishing derby for white fish in the White River.
I thought of myself as a decent fisherman who grew up in Colorado, but until I returned to the state roughly two and half years ago, I had never heard of or caught a white fish.
I must have been fishing in non-white fish waters in other parts of the state.
But the white fish were, for the third straight year, really good food. A couple of the smaller pieces I had were mildly bony, but the bones could easily be taken out and disposed of, which left some pretty darned good fish.
The only thing as good as the fish was the wide assortment of cornbreads, salads, etc., and my favorite of all, which was a polenta with jalapenos. It was warm, but not hot, and it was just perfect for an accompaniment to the fish.
But likely the highlight of the annual fish fry was the dessert table. Every time you walked by the table, there was something new and diet-crashing.
There were huckleberries in a sauce I ate by itself and other folks put over their cornbread. There was a chocolate layer cake to die for, and my favorite, which was a single-level carrot cake without nuts. There was also a carrot cake with nuts, but my favorite prevailed. There were brownies, pies, peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies, etc.—all delicious and often decadent.
It was a great spring feast, and, unlike the festivities earlier in the afternoon at the hospital, the good, sunny weather held on until the end.