The Story of an Apron
By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey
Photo Credit: Michele Balke
‘There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home.’ -John Stewart Mill
Have you ever gone to a meeting and been shocked at the condition of the aprons sitting in the cabinet? Sometimes you stand there and wonder how the Council could have let their property get in such a sorry state. The colors are faded, there are spots on them, and some of the apron strings have broken and have been tied together. Maybe that Council is struggling to make ends meet, and needs a quiet helping hand from a Companion. Maybe there was a fire or a flood which left those stains. Or maybe age and use have left their mark!
If you look at the tools of a new workman they’re bright and shiny. Even the box itself is brand new. There’s not a scratch or a nick on them. The blades are sharp, straight, and true. Everything in the toolbox is in its place, ready to be used. There is no rust, no wear marks, no sweat stains on anything. He has every tools know to man in the back of his truck,ready to go.
When an experienced workman shows up on the job, he’s got an old toolbox he probably made himself. In it are some old saws and hammers, some drills, a rusty trowel, or a well-worn shovel. Not a sight to inspire confidence!
But think again. For those old, beat-up tools earned those stripes of knowledge! That trowel may look rusty, and the handle worn out, but the edges are clean and bright. The saw’s teeth have been newly sharpen, even though there’s tape on the handle. The hammer’s handle may have been replaced a time or two, but it was broken while being USED. And the experience the Craftsman brings will get the job done better and faster than you’d expect.
That old Companion shuffling in to the Council late, because he couldn’t get up those stairs as fast as you, sitting there with an old, battered apron, just might have been the backbone of your Council long before you were around. The things he saw years ago are still in his head, ready to be called back when needed. While you’re regaling your friends with the things you’ll do “in the future” he’s recalling what he did in the past.
And what he did enables you to be here now. So work hard now, using the tools of an experienced Craftsman, to prepare for the new Companions of the future.