Monday, 15 October 2012

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking...

Several months ago, my dad asked me to attend a Freemason Ladies' Festival with him. He asked if as the President's Lady, I'd mind delivering a speech.
I said, "Yes, not a problem, dad."
The weeks flew by and the weekend was upon us. Until last week, I think it's fair to sum up my knowledge of all things Freemasonry as nil.
Several members of my family were in attendance as well as about 50 complete strangers. I like both a challenge and the chance to get involved in new situations, so I was more than happy to be there and be part of something completely different. My lack of research, however, was to come back to bite me.
It really was a great weekend, spent in the early autumn sunshine when such weather feels like you've cheated nature in some way by avoiding October winds and lashing rain. The two days were filled with good food, fantastic company and enough alcohol to quench anyone's thirst. Not knowing what to expect of the weekend, I had no preconceived ideas. I was given a very warm welcome by the North Star Lodge and the other guests, and would like to thank them for their friendliness and encouragement.
My big moment came when I stood up to give my speech. It seemed to go without incident and they laughed in the right places. Relieved it was over, I was able once more to down some wine without having to worry about slurring and making a fool of myself. Or so I thought.
This was where my lack of fact-finding prior to the event took more of a chunk than a bite out of me.
"Ready for the first dance with your dad?" asked the Toastmaster.
"My what?" I asked.
"Can you waltz?" my dad asked.
"No," I said.
I didn't stand a chance. Following three embarrassing sweeps of the dance floor, I asked, "Can't I just do the speech again? That was less humiliating."
Not to worry, I think only about 50 people were watching.

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