The normally sleepy sidewalks and streets swell with people and cars all waiting for their plates of chopped barbecue pork, brunswick stew, light bread, pickles and sweet tea.
Inside the John W. Akin Masonic Lodge, the pace is anything but leisurely as a human assembly line dishes out more than 475 plates of Southern comfort food. Photos of Masons past — all the way back to 1908 when the Lodge was chartered — watch as hungry customers cram their faces with the spicy delights.
This is the 44th year the Masons have served the feast, Lodge secretary Harry Worthington noted, and each time the proceeds go back to help those in need.
“All the proceeds are divided among funding for a children’s home in Macon and help for local people who need a hand,” he said.
Worthington recalled a situation a few years back where a young child in the community developed diabetes and was too young to be able to know if her blood sugar was dropping too low or going too high. She needed a dog that would alert someone 45 minutes before a meter could detect it. The Masons heard about the family’s need and donated more than $18,000 to purchase the dog.
By 5 p.m., a steady stream of customers came through the door of the old Lodge hall. Worthington seemed to know them all on a first-name basis.
“You know, we say the purpose of the Masons is to enhance your own life,” he said. “Events like this enhances everyone’s life.”