'Brother Mac' brought gift of caring

We called him "Brother Mac," though that was not his name. He came to visit our part-member family every month when I was a child living in Victorville, Calif. He was not someone you would notice without a prolonged search. He was shy, older and not a big man. He spoke a note above a whisper, and not many people listened.

One mid-autumn evening he came to visit when my sister, Jill, and I were outside playing. I was about 9 years old, and skateboarding was the rage. We had a pair of skates between us, and I had disassembled my "flying saucer," a toy I had made with wood, to use its wood. We had then nailed on the old skates to make skateboards.It was not a pretty sight. Brother Mac walked up, looked down at our four bleeding knees and asked what we were trying to prove.

We explained the basic principles of skateboarding to him, and he nodded his head slowly. His eyes narrowed, and he bit his lower lip. "About how long are these skateboard things?" he asked. Jill quickly drew a design in the sand, careful to point the tip just so, banana style, very cool.

Brother Mac helped us to our feet, and we went inside for our home teaching lesson. My father was rarely home, so it was just my mother and us five children. Brother Mac would stay awhile, and sometimes he would help my mom with a fix-up project my dad hadn't yet repaired.

Autumn chilled to winter, and Christmas morning came. Jill and I were surprised with very large packages from Brother Mac. We opened them to find two perfectly sculpted, sanded, stained and varnished pieces of hardwood for our skateboards. I traced the unusual outlines of the wood grain, fascinated. "I can't stand on this," I thought. "It's too beautiful."

Years after Brother Mac died, I found out that because of personal circumstances the only position he ever held in our ward was that of home teacher. I'm thankful our wise bishop and priesthood quorum leaders encouraged him to fulfill his calling well.

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