As a dozen of people began to unload from the boat the 50 year member began to issue orders “Get these people inside!” The old man said in a voice loud enough for all to hear. “Inside there are blankets and warm soup. You are safe now, come on in.”
The old Masonic temple had not seen so much activity in many years. It had been several decades since their town had such a disaster. The rains began a few days ago. Two days and many inches of rainwater later, the Rivers surrounding the town began to rise. The flood protections the city relied on for so many years began to give way and a wall of water brought a flood of biblical proportions. Within a blink of an eye, many long time residents became homeless or worse yet, were trapped in what used to be their homes.
Many lodge members, who themselves lost their homes and possessions, were volunteering to help the needy by cooking or setting up cots or carrying in supplies. They were there to help where needed, not only to help others, but also to keep their minds off all that they had lost.
The 50 year member saw another rescue boat come ashore in what was once the lodges parking lot. Through the driving rain, the old man saw an elderly lady who, by her appearance, was in a rough situation. Her clothes were soaked and clinging to her skin, while her unkempt hair was shading her hollow eyes. It appeared like she was in desperate need of help.
The boat captain told the 50 year member “This lady was trapped on the second floor of her home. Bless her heart” the captain said, “She told us the waters flooded her first floor and she spent all night climbing to the second floor of her home. She hadn’t been up there in years. Poor thing hasn’t had any food or water or her medication in almost a week. If there is a nurse here, she needs attention.“
The 50 year member smiled at the lady and gingerly took her by her shaking hand while slowly helping her out of the boat. “Come on dear, let’s get you inside and into some warm clothes. Some good hot soup will help fix you up!” The old lady smiled and exclaimed “Heavens! What a big beautiful building. Look at those big columns out front. Is this a library?” As they slowly walked to the steps of the building. The 50 year member laughed and said, “No dear, this is a Masonic temple.”
The old lady stopped in her tracks and with her now large eyes, a frightened look came over her face while her voice began to waiver “I…I…cannot go in there. My church has told me since I was a small girl this is where Satan lives. I learned in church, They sacrifice animals too.”
“Ma’am I can assure you Satan is not here, this is not his home. We do no sacrifices here. This is just a place where good men go, who learn the way in which we believe in living. Like, caring for each other, educating ourselves, treating ourselves and others as equals. Living how we wish to be treated, like we are doing right now, helping others in times of trouble.” The 50 year member continued “Even if Satan were to enter these doors he would soon leave because he would find no friends or allies here.“
“Look around you dear. Many of these people you see working here today are not just Freemasons; They are your friends, your neighbors, parents of classmates to your grandchildren. They may coach the local football team or even work at the grocery store where you frequent.”
“There is a good chance your doctor who cares for you or your pharmacist who gets your medication or even the policeman who puts his life on the line to protect you and I are members here. Freemasons and their families work and live in your town and every other small town or big city in this country."
"You can’t tell a Mason by his looks or the color of his skin, or even by his religion or where he worships his God. You may, however, be able to tell these men by the demeanor or behavior. Now let me ask you. If these men who help you live your every day life were so bad or evil enough to follow Satan, would they do all of those tasks to keep you healthy and live your life?”
The old man continued, “When you get to feeling better I’ll give you a tour of the building. I will hold nothing back and answer any questions you may have, but I need you to remember one more thing about these folks working here. Right now, many of these men and their families are in the same situation you are. I know of several of them who have lost their homes and their possessions in this awful flood. One of our Brothers is very upset because he is separated from his family. In all honesty, he doesn’t even know if they survived and instead of crying he is here helping others. Where is the evil in that? Maybe we should also ask ourselves how many of those churches who call me and my Brothers "Satan Worshippers", have used their sanctuaries as shelters. Several I have heard are locked up tight, leaving their members to fend for themselves while the so called clergy, who call us names, are nowhere to be found.”
The little lady, with her eyes now filled with tears, spoke in a shaky voice “I am so sorry I shouldn’t have judged any of you, since you were all so nice to rescue me from my terrible fate. I am a foolish old woman. I haven’t introduced myself. My name is Daisy.”
The old man smiled “Good to know you, Daisy. My name is John. Don’t worry, I take no offense. My main priority is making sure you are okay."As they climbed the buildings front steps Pudge walked down to meet them. The old man smiled. ”Daisy, this young man's name is Pudge. He will get you some warm food and something clean and dry to wear. I am going to ask the nurse to come by and see you in a bit. The old man spoke to Pudge over his shoulder as he returned to his post at the front of the building, "Pudge, when you get Daisy settled, can you help me find a place with some food for that puppy they just got in?”