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Did I ever tell you, my Dad is a Mason? Yes, he is. Dad led by example. He was punctual, he worked hard, he did the best he could by his family, he went to church, and he lived a life of service. Was he the perfect man? No, but he did the best he could with what he had.

In our house if you wanted Dad’s attention, you were helping him with whatever he was doing, planting the red and white petunias which always surrounded our house, sweeping up after a project, or running for a tool. You could count on Dad, he was reliable, and perhaps a cynical person would say predictable. There was more than work around the house. There was the annual block party which he would hang the pennants and lights high in the trees and utility poles. There was the neighbor, Bob, who was always fiddling with his car, dad would help. Then there were the ladies from the retirement complex on Richmond Road who he would give a ride to church on Sunday. Hmm, Mrs. Schaumburg would make the best Rum Balls at Christmas. Dad didn’t like it when we ate them on our way to church. Yes, and he was at church on the work days too.

Dad was an installer for the phone company when we still had hard wired phones. He worked in every office and probably half the homes on the east side. He would come home at the end of the day and tell stories of the people he met throughout the day. Not so much the homes, offices or phone systems, but it was the people. In a less politically correct world, he would imitate their accents and mannerisms and often times describe the food the housewife was preparing for supper that day. Since he met so many people throughout his life, he could not go to the store, theater or even a school band concert without him running into someone he knew from working in their home or office.

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Time marched on, neighbors moved, the neighborhood stopped doing block parties, church ladies passed on or moved away, the kids grew up. Dad retired and was looking for something to do with his time. He would literally “Work for Food”. He put up a notice at the local senior center. He would do small jobs and you would either prepare a meal for him or send him home with a frozen dish for later as payment. He would replace a switch, fix a hinge or any of a thousand jobs that many people cannot do or afford to have done. He eventually had too much work and a stuffed freezer; he finally had to turn down both jobs and meals.

Dad remarried and married into grandkids, he was in seventh heaven. His youngest grandson was entering his teen years; Dad was retired and had some time to spend with a child who needed someone reliable in his life. No Dad was not at a point where he was playing sports with his grandson but they would spend time in the workshop discussing the world as the grandson knew it and refurbishing tired and broken bicycles which were then donated to the police department.
Dad worked hard, did the best he could, his friends could count on him and he was an active Mason for more than 50 years. A few years ago he was grumbling that younger guys wouldn’t speak up and do their work so fast he couldn’t hear them. It had been a long time since had been able to hear well.

Sadly time has been harsh on Dad. He no longer drives, he doesn’t walk very well, and his memory has suffered, he has outlived his brother and sister, and most of his friends. He still gets up every morning and does the best he can with what he has.

Did I tell you my Dad is a Mason? He has lived a life of service.