From the Grand Master …
An allegory, with apologies to L . Frank Baum and Gregory Maguire
Once upon a time there was a quaint village by the sea. The people who lived there were gentle and happy, and very social. They loved getting together for banquets and festivals, and always governed themselves by all gathering in the town square to debate issues. One day they were hit with an incredible storm; it rained and rained and rained. The streets began to flood. Rubber boots were in high demand down at the local Mercantile and soon sold out. They got more in but there were some people who said “It’s just a little rain. That never hurt anybody.” But it wasn’t just a little rain. It was a lot of rain. And in addition, due to pollution in a neighboring area, it was acid rain. If it got in your boots it started to irritate your skin causing inflammation. It was autumn and with the cooler temperatures, wet feet led to chilblains. Most people got over these conditions by themselves or with the help of the town doctor, but it was suggested it would be better to prevent problems by keeping their feet dry. This was harder than it seemed. Mothers told their children to wear their rubber boots when out, and they did, but when they were playing and running around some invariably fell, or got their boots stuck in the mud. Even the careful occasionally got wet when their playmates ran past them and water splashed up and into their boots. Spray from passing wagons soaked those walking alongside the road. The fishers and outdoors enthusiasts had hip waders which allowed them to take over the essential work needed to feed and keep the townspeople safe.
On the west edge of town lived a delightful woman who had a skin condition that was severely affected by water. Even a little bit of water would cause necrosis of the skin. She dealt with this by wearing long dresses and a wide-brimmed hat whenever she went out. But since the village was by the sea, it was often damp, so she mostly stayed in her castle. She was actually very nice, but her appearance and isolation led to the townspeople fearing her. Her sister had a physical disability that made it difficult to stand. For short periods she could get by with special orthotic shoes, but she often used a wheelchair. Neither of these sisters ventured out during the storm, the one for obvious reasons, the other because the wheels of her chair sprayed water up onto her when they rolled. They lived on opposite sides of the town, but kept in touch by means of crystal balls in which they could see and talk to each other. Other people in town also had this technology but they didn’t use it much, and certainly not with these two marginalized persons.
The rain continued and the flood waters rose. The Mayor decreed that everyone who did not have hip waders must stay inside. The people did the best they could, but some had water pouring into their homes. There was much distress. Eventually the flood waters receded. And the Mercantile got in another shipment of rubber boots – enough for everybody. Hooray, everyone was protected and life could go back to normal. Alas, the rain intensified and the flood waters rose again. But the rubber boots kept everyone’s feet dry. That is, until the level of the flood waters rose above the tops of the boots!
Brethren, with high levels of COVID circulating in the community even the fully vaccinated still need to mask, physically distance and limit their social contacts. We all miss meeting in lodge but one of the things that Freemasons do is work for the betterment of society.
Stay safe and keep others safe too.
David J. Cameron