The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross



  by Runette Allgood
Georgia Preceptor Phi, Gainesville
From The Torch, April, 1991
NOTE: Runette first gave this talk at a chapter meeting, and later at a Founder's Day Banquet

Since this was the year for my chapter to choose its program, I decided to write a testimonial to what Beta Sigma Phi has meant to me for the past 23 years and five months.

Upon coming to Gainesville, Georgia from Athens, Georgia in 1955, I became a teacher in a first grade class at Candler Street School in the Gainesville city school system. Immediately, I became very fond of the two second grade teachers there, Ladye Brown and Kathryn Green. School had just opened, and the three of us were chatting in the hall. (Teachers actually had time to visit then.)

Kathryn said to Ladye, "I think she'll do, don't you?" I thought they were really silly, talking in tongues like that. Not long after, though, I received an invitation to attend a party at Hazel Jackson's house.., then another party at Dot Mauldin's house.. . then a third at the Avion, the first and only hotel and restaurant Gainesville had for a long time.

All the Greek sororities and societies I knew of then were college-affiliated, so I was really naive about the whole situation. But suddenly, it all began to dawn on me. This was an organization that I needed. The love and caring among the members was so evident.

Thus followed the pledge training and the pride in becoming a full-fledged member. Little did I realize that 426 meetings later I would still be active! Imagine sitting through all those programs, reflecting on all the rituals and Founder's Day programs. I have repeated the Opening and Closing Rituals over 400 times, taken part in many service projects and ways and means projects, served as an officer and entertained so many times.., and still, twice a month, there is a twinge of excitement when I'm getting ready to go to the sorority meeting. It must be a great organization to have endured through all these years.

Perhaps I can tell you what sorority means to me best by our rituals:
". . . more tolerance for our fellow beings through a better understanding of them . . ."

If I knew you and you knew me
If both of us could clearly see
And with an inner sight divine--
The meaning of your heart and mine
Our thoughts would pleasantly agree--
If I knew you and you knew me.
". . . a deeper appreciation of the cultural and finer things of life. . ."

On so many occasions, my horizons have been broadened, my appreciation extended, and my interests and ideas heightened through experiences shared with members of this organization.

". . . a determination to give the best that is in us to our sorority. . ." This, to me, can be summed up with these words: "The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon -- but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher."

A determination to assume the responsibility of being a member in good standing is certainly evident by our presence tonight and all the many, many other nights, when it might have been easier to just prop up the feet and stretch out at home.

These three statutes in the ritual that open our meetings -- tolerance, appreciation and determination -- are powerful attributes to possess. Also, our closing ritual has many words that, when held apart, are mind-boggling and heart-rending when analyzed:

"Follow the good, the true, and the beautiful . . .
Guiding torch of wisdom . . .
Souls illuminated with God's wisdom . . .
Assume the task of lighting the path or road with skill and grace for those who follow us . . .
Clearness of vision . . .
Sweetness of spirit . . .
Earnestness of purpose . . ."

Take any one of those phrases, and you will discover within a tremendous commitment to life and living.

As you take time to diagnose the words and meanings here, it is astounding to realize what content they hold, and as we repeat these in unison at our meetings, we probably do not truly realize the impact of them.

But without a doubt, the strength, contentment, joy, love, satisfaction and responsibility and innumerable other sensations are subconsciously contained in our minds and hearts. Thus, we endure.

In thinking about all these thoughts and reflections on the years, the joys, sorrows, tribulations, anxieties and thrills have all been around to make me feel the true meaning of Beta Sigma Phi -- FRIENDS!

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