On April 18th, we had our Official Visit to Cookshire Chapter in Sawyerville. As it takes about 3 hours to drive to Sawyerville, I took the afternoon off work and met up with the Worthy Grand Patron, Brother Bill Winter and his wife, Sister Fabienne (our Grand Marshal), at my sister’s place (our Grand Martha, Heather MacDonald). We met up with a large group of members at the St. Hubert Restaurant in Magog and enjoyed a wonderful supper together before heading off to the meeting. As Cookshire Chapter meets above a bowling alley, there isn’t much room for us ladies to change into our long dresses, so we all changed in the washroom of the restaurant. It was funny seeing the faces of all the people in the restaurant as we came parading out of the washroom! It’s too bad my camera was in the car.
I had a wonderful time walking around the chapter before the meeting opened. The room was wonderfully decorated with Scottish Tea Towels, banners of tartan and the Scottish flag. After the Worthy Matron opened the chapter, she closed the Bible informally in order to bring in a special guest. In keeping with my Scottish theme, the Worthy Matron arranged to have a Scottish Dancer come to entertain us. Carolyn Lawry is a local 15 years old dancer from Coaticook. She has been dancing for 4 years and only competing for 2 years and has already won many, many competitions. She came at the beginning of the evening, as she is a student and had school the next morning. What a wonderful surprise it was, as I love Scottish dancing.
After the Bible was re-opened, I was honoured with another special ceremony. The Worthy Matron presented me with a vase in the shape of a thistle that belonged to her Mother-in-law. I was then taken to the four corners of the chapter where a poem was read, based on my four watchwords:
Some purple heather from this corner this evening,
Combines the hope and trust of faith supreme;
To us your deepest faith has unseen meaning,
God grant a life of happiness serene.
A spray of purple heather is my offering,
With all the memories of hope’s right,
To signify your queenly love and fervor,
Your hope to each adds joy and light.
My spray of purple heather is a token,
It could not have more meaning if ‘twere gold;
Whether in labour proud or service humble
Always your thoughts in peace unfold.
I offer you a spray of purple heather,
With just as deep a meaning as ‘twere blue;
It’s load of love and truth enhances,
Blending your courage with our precepts true.
After each poem was read, I was presented a spray of heather with a donation to my special project attached to it.
I also had the pleasure of presenting a Certificate of Appreciate and my gold Thistle pin to Sister Sharon Kirby for filling the station of Marshal, as well as presenting a Grand Representatives Commission to the State of Maine to Brother Richard Chagnon, husband to my Grand Electa, Sister Christiane Chagnon.
For my talk, I told a story about four candles called Faith, Hope, Peace and Love. For anyone who was at the Official Visit of Lachute Chapter, you will recognize this as the candle ceremony that they did in my honour, although slightly different. I thought, after this ceremony that I would have to do something different as my talk for Cookshire Chapter, but decided to go ahead with it anyways for the benefit of those who were not at Lachute Chapter’s meeting.
Chapter Talk - The Four Candles
Worthy Matron, Worthy Patron, WGP, GGCCM’s, all Distinguished Guests, Sisters & Brothers. Thank you Worthy Matron for the warm welcome this evening. As always, it is a pleasure to be here tonight. When I was Associate Grand Conductress, and I was starting to plan my theme, I was having a hard time trying to think of watchwords. I finally decided to use the words “Faith, Hope Peace and Love.” When talking with a friend at work, I mentioned to her that these were going to be my watchwords. She immediately sent me an email called The Four Candles. Although I had never, at that time, see it before, I have since seen around a few times, and I’m sure that many of you have also heard it Because it ties in with my watchwords, and for those who haven’t seen this email, I would like to read it tonight.
The Four Candles burned slowly. Their ambiance was so soft you could hear them speak. The first candle said, "I am Peace, but these days, nobody wants to keep me". Then Peace's flame slowly diminishes and goes out completely.
The second candle says, "I am Faith, but these days, I am no longer indispensable." Then Faith's flame slowly diminishes and goes out completely.
Sadly, the third candle spoke, "I am Love and I haven't the strength to stay lit any longer. People put me aside and don't understand my importance. They even forget to love those who are nearest to them." And waiting no longer, Love goes out completely.
Suddenly . . . A child enters the room and sees the three candles no longer burning. The child begins to cry, "Why are you not burning? You are supposed to stay lit until the end." Then the Fourth Candle spoke gently to the little boy, "Don't be afraid, for I am Hope, and while I still burn, we can re-light the other candles." With Shining eyes the child took the Candle of Hope and lit the other three candles.
Never let the Flame of Hope go out of your life. With Hope, no matter how bad things look and are, Peace, Faith and Love can Shine brightly in our lives. Don't let these candles go out in your life!
I want to thank you Worthy Matron, for allowing my Bible to rest on your Altar tonight. As you all know, this is the Bible that was presented to me by Sister Marion Loffelmann, P.G.M., at my Installation. She in turn received it from Sister Alta Fowler, P.G.M. At the end of the meeting, I would like you and the Worthy Patron to both sign it. The beautiful Bible marker was hand painted by Sister Louise Wilkinson, P.G.M. I hope everyone takes a chance to have a look. I also want to thank you Worthy Matron for using my gavel tonight. This is the gavel that was presented to me by my sister and my mother when I was installed as Worthy Matron of Friendship-Victoria Chapter. I would also ask that after the meeting the Chapter Officers and the Grand Officers remain for pictures.
Thank you again, Worthy Matron, for all your courtesies tonight and for your wonderful donation to my Special Project. It is very much appreciated.