A Tribute to Some Men Who Have Made Me

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
L. Scott Niccum, 33°

Larry Niccum
I have been strangely quiet for some time now. I have tried to make posts giving props to men who have made an impact in my life to make me a better man and Mason. In the past year, we have struggled with quite a bit of heartache in our household losing my father Larry Niccum, my father-in-law Robert Westover, and Ill Joe Ethridge, 33rd Degree.  All three of these men have had such a profound effect on my life and have molded me into the person I have become. 

While I have struggled with moving forward, I kept wondering how I could give these men the credit they deserve, which I doubt I could. As is too often the case, I toyed with the idea of just putting off writing anything because I just didn't want to face the fact that three men who meant so much to me were gone.  Strange as it is, it took the kind words of my mother (Joe's widow) and Joe. They both told me without words, “If you want others to know about these men, then you know what to do.” I am reminded of the many times Joe would come into my work for his newspaper and quote a bit of ritual and respond to me, “Is it just pretty words or a way of life?” and smack with his paper and say, “I’ll see ya tomorrow.” 

Robert Westover
The ritual which we as Masons recite in our Degrees is not just part of our ceremonies but the road map of our lives, if we choose. In the last few years, I have begun to learn the lectures for our Degrees and a better way to point out the road map the Grand Warden has laid out for us and how these men have already shown me. 

Ritual is something we as Masons all know. Whether it’s our favorite we love to hear or give, or one we remember from our Degrees. My question to all of you that have heard the words: Are they just pretty words, or do you use them to navigate your life with all mankind? 

Keep your eyes open for a breakdown of some lectures and how it may make some men be better Masons which I hope will make three men I love very proud.

We are all products of what we have been exposed to. These three have made a difference in my life. Who has made a difference in yours?


L. Scott Niccum, 33° is a member and Past Master Greenup Lodge No. 125 (IL) and a plural member of Hutton Lodge No. 698 (IL).  He is a member of the Valley of Danville, and is Past Thrice Potent Master of the Danville Lodge of Perfection.  He also serves as the Eastern Illinois Area Coordinator for the IL CHIP Program for the Grand Lodge of Illinois A. F. & A. M. and is the Traveling Degrees Chairman for Valley of Danville.  Scott and his wife Marie live in Charleston, Illinois.

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