Saturday, May 12, 2007

Official Visit – Owl’s Head Chapter #35

On April 11th, we had our Official Visit to Owl’s Head Chapter. Owl’s Head Chapter normally meets in Mansonville; however, their hall is too small to accommodate a large group so the Official Visit was held at the IOOF Hall in Knowlton. They were also celebrating their 60th Birthday. Sister Mary Bailey, P.M., who is a Charter Member received a wonderful tribute and then was presented with her 60-year pin. I also presented a certificate to the Chapter’s Marshal, Sister Elaine Young, along with my special gold Thistle pin. Sister Elaine is a relatively new member, just 2 years, and when I had her escorted to the East, you could tell that she thought she had done something wrong. She was very surprised, and I think pleased, to be recognized in this way. I think that this is an excellent way to pay tribute to the members who give so much to our Order.

Once again, I was honoured with a special ceremony by being escorted around to all the Star Points. I was given a beautiful basket of flowers, and then each Star Point presented me with a sprig of heather, which is one of my chosen flowers this year, with a donation attached to it for my Special Project.

This evening I chose to speak about Unconditional Love and told a story about a woman with cancer and how her faithful dog help to bring her back from the brink of death. After the meeting, the Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron signed my Bible and more pictures were taken. After the meeting we all enjoyed a delicious meal and lots of fellowship before making our way home.

Chapter Talk - A Great Dog Story (About unconditional Love)

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. One of these days I’m going to make it to your actual meeting place. Tonight I want to tell you a great dog story about unconditional Love.

How many of you have pets? If you do, you will understand how much they become a part of your family. Like children, they want your undying attention, and like teenagers, they talk back (especially cats). I have a cat named Peanut (who is constantly talking back to me!) and a schnauzer named Heidi. Peanut pretty much ignores me unless she wants a treat (that’s when she usually yells at me). She’ll wrap herself around my feat until I practically trip over her. Heidi, however, is a different story. She is always happy, unless there is a thunder storm. Then she needs to be cuddled like a baby. She is always happy to see me, even if I’ve just come in from taking the garbage out! When she sees that I’m tired or not feeling well, she will bring me several of her toys and come and sit on me and actually gives me a hug. If I ignore her, she usually throws those same toys at me until I start to play with her. All she knows is unconditional love.

A friend at work sent me this story. For those of you who don’t have pets, it’s just another “dog tail”, but for any of you who do have pets, I think you will like it, and might even relate to it. I think you’ll like it even if you don't have pets, and you may even decide you need one!

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named 'Lucky.' Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this fact; she was just sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary's dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him. The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable, until finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love. Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day.

It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-fee. Lucky? He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.

The moral of this story is … live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget that the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They (the people & animals) are the ones that care for and love us.

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 gavel is the one presented to me by my sister, Sister Heather and my mom 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.

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