The first outing for “Masons Helping Children”, was this past week end May 16th and 17th. in Waxhaw, NC. Thanks to Jim Adams for the new signage in white with blue lettering atop the white tents. Our Board decided to take the word Charity out of our name as the word does not adequately describe all that Masons do. Jr Harward and a couple of helpers painted the display unit white and together, makes the pictures of the Children from Oxford, The Learning Center and Shrine Hospital stand out. (we will post pictures soon)
Our day started early on Saturday with Jr. Harward, Max Walker, Jim Adams, Mack Archer and myself setting up our booth in front of the Masonic Lodge of Waxhaw. The day started bright and the people came. We never know what or who to expect as we man this booth and there were the usual good comments about Masons. The Shrine Hospital, which, some asked if it was going to close, our answer was today it is business as usual and that seemed to please all who had questions.
The Learning Center is still the best kept secret and we really wanted to talk about it. Shortly before noon a lady walked up with her two children and stated that their family had just moved to the area from St.Louis and the two children were having a hard time in the transition. They felt they were behind in their work and getting worse, along with giving up. This family name and address has already been turned over to the Center.
We are still surprised with those who walk up and say thanks for what you do and hand us a dollar or two or five or in one case a twenty. There was one fellow who could not have been over 30 years old looking at the pictures of the Shrine Hospital. As I approached him he told me this beautiful story of how he and his wife and three children and taken on a foster child a 13 years old young girl.. The agency told them the young girl need a stable home so that she could be admitted to the hospital for spinal surgery and the family agreed. He talked about his ready made family and the unexpected challenges due to her age, environment, parents that did not want her, rebellion, all those thinks that a young family don’t need. I asked one of the children what it was like to have this new addition in her home and her remarks were slow in coming and with her father’s approval she looked at me and said, “It was nice”.
Most of you reading this know that the afternoon was pretty much over because of the rain. Teenagers stayed around eating hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy. But was pretty much over for us.
Sunday found overcast skies with a little sunshine. The crowd picked up and we again had the usual well wishers. Max Walker and Mack Archer talked to all their neighbors. The discussion in our booth and with the few Member of Waxhaw Lodge was the visit from the Grand Master on Thursday. Jr. made it clear that he planned to have our portable display unit ready to be used by Waxhaw Lodge during this visit.
Again clouds threatened the afternoon but not before we had a visit from an Angel. She is a four year old in a wheelchair who is paralyzed from the waste down. I won’t go into her medical problems, there were several of us in the booth space sitting and stand around when she and her mother entered our booth. It was lake a symphony as every man jumped up and looked and spoke to her and saw the radiant smile on that beautiful four year old face and the sweet wave of that small hand. I could have sworn there was a halo over her head, but I now believe it was the reflection of a tear that had somehow gotten in my eye.
The rains did come again on Sunday Afternoon and we dismantled and came home. As I reflect tonight on this week end, was it worth while, was it worth getting wet two days in a row? It was, you see if we were there for just one of the above, I would think it worth while. If Masons everywhere could see and hear what we see and hear, I think we would again be reminded of why we even exist. I believe that the Great Architect of the Universe gave us all we could handle this weekend.
Thanks to those who participated this week-end, Max Walker, Mack Archer, Bob Braswell, Jim Adams and Jr. Harward.