St Andrews Cork Lodge
Cork Lodges are a "fun" or "side" degree in Freemasonry. Membership is open to all Master Masons in good standing. Our sole aim (more or less) is to raise money for children's charities. As with any lodge, we also want to have loads of fun in so doing, and imbibe, a bit. Actually, rather a lot. Hic! (Haec hoc for the scholars out there...)
The tradition of cork lodges is a long and noble one, or so we would have you believe. Our origins are lost in the mists of time, but seem to come from the era of Noah and the great flood. The "flavour" of the meeting is distinctly nautical, and all lodge officers have naval titles - the Master, for example, is referred to as the Admiral, the treasurer is called the purser and so on. It's a rather affectionate parody of RAM.
As well as partaking in the occasional drop of liquid refreshment, we also get to wear hats during the meeting - the only degree where hat wearing is compulsory. (KTs might disagree, but we get to choose our head-gear - and the sillier, the better!)
The Cork Degree
You may climb the Mason's Ladder till you reach the highest point
And in toiling slowly upwards rack yourself in every joint
But I venture to inform you - if you've reached to thirty-three
The best of all the bunch is what is called the Cork Degree.
You ask me what it means? Well, Sirs, it means just what it says
You can booze yourself to blazes through a hundred happy days
You may stop your dinner or your tea and sell your knife and fork
But you mus'nt venture out of doors without your Mason's Cork.
It's a circle and the centre that it holds is Fellowship
There are many signs and tokens which you may well give the slip
So long as you do not forget that the Cork, to have its due,
Must have safely in its centre what it seldom lacks - a screw.
For that means the bottle's open, and the drinks are going round
And the Corkites are delighted with the whiskeys gurgling sound
As it cluck clucks in Friendship's name and flows right merrily
And thus maintains the glories of the Almighty Cork Degree.
Then when heads are getting muzzy and when eyes are getting faint
And you're free to fight you're damndest with a devil or a Saint
If some kindly Christain Soul enquires how many moons you see
You may bet your empty tumbler he's got the Cork Degree.