by Anura Guruge
1. Free 2014 weekend — June 17, 2014.
2. Strawbery Banke I
>> — May 12, 2014.
3. Homage to Ol’ Union Jack
>> — May 12, 2014.
++++ Search ‘Strawbery’ or ‘Portsmouth’ for MANY other related posts >>>>
We went to Strawbery Banke this morning since it was “New Hampshire’s Birthday” weekend at the Banke and N.H. residents got to enjoy this deletable GEM of an historical site for no-charge. It was our second trip to Strawbery Banke in 7 weeks. It has now become a family favorite.
We got to the Banke around 10:30 am — which is pretty good for me, on a Sunday, given that our target ETA was 10 am. We took a 12 year old from Alton with us since she doesn’t get to go to Portsmouth much. As I was getting to the Visitor Center I saw quite a few ‘high-order’ Freemasons, in their finest regalia, and with their leather aprons neatly folded in their hands, leaving the Banke. Also saw 3 pipers leaving. Appears I somehow missed a bit of piping — which is a crying shame because live bagpipe music always perks me up, no end. I had to find out what the ‘Masons’ were doing there. I had to check with three volunteers before I could piece together the story. They all told me that it was “St. John’s Day” but none of the three could elucidate which of the many “Johns” it was. I knew it wasn’t MY Pope St. John XXIII. His feast day is in October. I guess I really didn’t think too hard about it. It was the Baptist. I like the Baptist. Seems a cool dude with his animal skins and commitment to poverty etc. I haven’t still worked out how he ended up with the sort-end of the stick so to speak.
As soon as I got home — and we spent the whole day in delightful Portsmouth — I had to look it up. This is what I found. I wished I had a chance to chat with some of the Masons. Of course I know a few Masons. There are some here in Alton. I can’t be a Mason — for obvious reasons. But, that is OK. We used to go to the Masonic Lodge in Alton, every month, for their wonderful breakfast. We even used to take guests and neighbours. But, now that I can’t eat all those pancakes we try not to attend. Probably should go. Very nice bunch of people.
Anyway this is what I found re. what happened in Portsmouth today. The “William Pitt Tavern” is in Strawbery Banke — it in the 1700s was the headquarters of the Masons. Hence the symbolism.