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The Working Tools of a Convivial Freemason

(To be presented at a Festive Board).

“I now present the working tools of a Convivial Freemason.

They are:
· The Fork
· The Knife, and
· The Tumbler

The FORK is an implement that enables even the most inexperienced Freemason to secure, at times by reaching across the table, the delicate and succulent morsels that adorn our Festive Board to delight the eye and stimulate the jaded appetite. This implement is used to convey these morsels to that aperture which has been specifically designed to receive them, and which reduces all nutriment to a common level. The Fork should always be used when partaking of Peas, which, if conveyed to the mouth with the assistance of the knife, often prove very elusive.

The KNIFE, when properly ground and sharpened, is used to reduce all crude matter to a regular form, and assists us to dissect the anatomy of even the most venerable Rooster. The KNIFE teaches us to cut off no more than we can chew, and to limit our desires in every station of life, so that rising to eminence by merit we may live respected, and die regretted.

The TUMBLER enables us to ascertain and determine, with accuracy and precision, the quantity of liquor we find conducive to the preservation of genial joviality. As all TUMBLERS have not that mark upon them, commonly known as the Pretty, the skilful Craftsman will measure his tot with the aid of the two or three finger rule. The TUMBLER will only hold a certain amount of liquor without detriment to its surroundings, and it teaches us that we should ascertain, and never exceed, the limits of our own internal economy.

As we are met here this evening as Speculative, as well as Energetic and Operative, Convivial Freemasons, we also apply these tools to our morals.

In this sense the FORK teaches us that we should not always sit down and await what we desire in life, but reach out, secure and retain it, profiting by our opportunities and assimilating the knowledge gained through our experiences. Nor should we forget that the little things in life should be looked after, lest they elude our grasp and are lost beyond recall. As the prongs of the FORK are all equal and mutually assist one another, being joined together in one compact structure, so we as Freemasons should stand together and practise those four qualifications that cannot be too strongly recommended to your notice:
· Straightforwardness in our dealings with one another.
· Sympathy for the failings of a Brother.
· Good Temper in our differences and opinions.
· And Fidelity to the sacred Tie that binds us together.

The KNIFE teaches us the value of assiduity, and the patience to cope with the many problems that confront us, so we are taught to take care of our mental and corporeal faculties.

The TUMBLER teaches us the importance of moderation and temperance. As it has no graduated scale by which to measure its varying contents, the user must exercise his judgement as to the quantity of liquor he pours therein. As the TUMBLER will only hold a limited quantity without detriment to its surroundings so we should estimate our capacity so as not to confuse our mental and physical equilibrium. As the perfect TUMBLER always rings true, be it empty or full, so the perfect Convivial Freemason should always ring true after labour at the Festive Board. A cracked TUMBLER is despised and rejected by all.

Thus the Working Tools of a Convivial Freemason teach us to bear in mind and practise the cardinal virtues of Temperance and Prudence, so that when we are summonsed to rise and drink the Tyler’s Toast, having partaken of the good things provided by a bounteous Providence for our enjoyment, we may depart homeward with the gratifying testimony of a contented mind, a clear brain, and equal poise.”

With grateful acknowledgement to W Bro Graham Grainger, who generously presented the Lodge with a ceremonial set of these Working Tools.

It is the Tradition of the Lodge that Immediate Past Masters present these Working Tools to newly Installed Masters at the Festive Board of the next meeting following their installation. Some Past Masters have been known to present them to the Ladies at Ladies’ nights.