Work To Do
"I want some Masonic work to do!" announced the newly raised Master Mason. "I don't think I should be a member of this great fraternity and stand around idle."
"That is very praiseworthy," responded the Old Past Master. "What would you like to do?"
"Well, I don't know exactly. Maybe I could help in building a new Temple. Perhaps I could do some research work and write a book. Maybe there is room for me in some great Masonic educational work."
"You aim high," answered the Old Past Master. "Such work is not always easy to find."
"It's all I have been able to find," answered the first speaker.
"That is because your eyes are not yet opened to the light," answered the Old Past Master. "Masonic work is everywhere. It lies around loose ready to be done. You find it here in lodge, at home, on the street, everywhere."
"Oh, you mean charity. Well, I give according to my pocket-book," was the answer.
"I do mean charity, but not pocketbook charity," answered the Old Past Master. "Masonic charity neither begins nor ends with money."
"I wish you would explain what you mean. I don't understand...."
"I will very gladly explain. Do you see Brother Eggleston over there?"
"The old man with the ear-horn?"
"Exactly. He is eighty-two years of age. He is very hard of hearing. He is also extremely fond of being talked to. It's a hard job to tell him anything. You have to shout. Yet Brother Eggleston always has some one talking to him at refreshment and in the anteroom."
"Just behind him is Brother Palinski. He doesn't speak very good English. He isn't very rich. He is very shy. Yet he is a member of this lodge and a good one. Have you met his acquaintance? You need not answer. I am not inquiring what you have done, but just suggesting to you that he feels more at home and more Masonic when his brethren do not let him sit alone and unspoken to, because he is foreign, different, hard to talk to."
"Jimmy is the Tiler of this lodge. He works pretty hard, does Jimmy. You and I and a hundred other fellows take off our aprons and drop them where we sit when lodge is closed. Jimmy has to gather them up and fold them neatly in the box. Jimmy has charge of the clothing and the jewels and locks up the charter in the safe. Jimmy has to be here early and leaves late. He doesn't get paid very heavily for his work. Sometimes some brother stays and helps Jimmy do his work. Jimmy is always happy when he, too, can get out in time to hop into some one's car and get taken part way home."
"Do you run an automobile? Somewhere within half a mile of you live two or three or four old Masons who find walking hard and street cars uncomfortable. They love their lodge, but they do not always come when it rains, because it is hard on their old bones to walk or take the trolley. Sometimes some brother thinks of them and calls for them and takes them home. The brother who does this rarely thinks he has done anything except afford transportation, but you have to be an old man and have a young one pay you a little attention to know how it makes their old hearts sing. I am an old man, and I know, although I have a car and a son to call for me, yet I like attention; I like to think some one doesn't think I am on the shelf. I like your asking me questions. I like to feel that I am some use to Masonry, even now."
"You give, you inform me, according to your pocketbook. You smoke I observe, very good cigars. At Roberts avenue and Upshur street is a children's hospital. In it are many little children. Some of them belong to Master Masons. Not all of their parents can get there every day, or bring a toy to while away a tedious hour every time they come. The price of two of those cigars would make a Mason's child happy for a week."
"Last month there died a Mason of this lodge, who left a wife and five children. He left plenty of insurance. His wife doesn't have to go to work. She can support herself and her children very easily. No lodge action was necessary. But what a place for Masonic work! Those children now have no Daddy. They have problems only Daddy could solve. No one can jump in and become a Daddy to them, but some Mason might try to ease that awful empty feeling, with his presence and his interest."
"Wilkins, of this lodge, works at the electrical trade. He makes things with his hands; anything, everything. But mostly he makes wireless sets; a little radio apparatus that isn't expensive, but is better than can be bought for a few dollars. He puts in most of his evenings making them. The lodge supplies the material. The little sets go to the State Home for the Blind. I wonder sometimes, if the little head pieces do not speak Masonic words to those who listen to them so gratefully."
"Do you know Filbert? Poor Filbert; it's an open secret. That's Filbert, over there with the young face and the snow white hair. He had an accident. It took a year for his strength to come back. His mind never was quite right, and isn't now. He loves to come to lodge. He isn't very bright, any more. He is just a watchman now, who used to be a bookkeeper. Filbert has an eighteen year old boy, putting himself through college. He has to work at odd times and nights and Sundays. He does everything he can; waits on table, cuts grass, runs errands, paints fences, anything. You might give him a job now and then; I think it would be regarded as work on your Master's Piece by the great Architect."
"Oh, I hope it would... but what you have done for me just now, I know is work on your Master's Piece!" stammered the young Mason. "Indeed, my eyes were not open, but I... I begin to see the light!"