In one respect, George Mason was a different kind of father. He never lied to his children. He never pretended that Santa Claus brought the presents that lay under a decorated fir tree on Christmas Eve. He did not pretend that a bunny had laid the colored eggs that his children enjoyed at Easter time. He always told them the truth, even when the truth was unpleasant or even painful.
His wife Lois did not exactly share his feelings. In particular, when one of the children misbehaved, she would have liked to invent some imaginary monster that would grievously harm her wayward progeny if he continued to be naughty. Nevertheless, out of respect for her husband, she never strayed from the truth.
The wedding of George and Lois took place on April 13, 1923. The following January, their home was gladdened by the birth of a baby girl. Then on April 13, 1925, Richard was born.
All of Richard’s siblings enjoyed perfect health throughout their lives, but Richard had a heart condition from his birth. As time went on, his health gradually deteriorated. It was evident that he would eventually need an operation.
George was well-to-do. He was a successful businessman and had plenty of savings – enough to cover the cost of the operation. So he told the surgeon to operate whenever he considered it advisable.
In 1929, a financial crisis swept the country. The stock market crashed, and George’s bank was forced to close. Moreover, his company became insolvent and closed its doors. George was penniless and had no work.
Poverty changed the lives of the children, and they sometimes complained. George never comforted them with lies. He never told them that everything would be all right. In a simple fashion, he honestly explained that they had become poor and could no longer buy the fine things that they used to enjoy. He suggested that they pray to the Lord and ask Him to help them.
In 1930, Richard’s condition became critical. George no longer could pay for the operation. However, Albert Harding, the surgeon, took his Hippocratic Oath seriously. The operation was necessary to save the life of the boy, so he decided to perform the operation, even though he had little hope of profiting from his labors. The operation was scheduled for August 30 at 2:00 P.M.
Richard was only five years old. When he heard his parents and the doctor talking about the operation, he did not understand what an operation was, but he knew that it was something serious.
When he asked his father about it, George explained in a simple fashion that the doctor was going to try to save his life. He suggested that Richard ask the Lord to help the doctor.
Richard asked his father whether he would stay with him when the doctor tried to save his life. After George secured the consent of the surgeon, George promised to do as Richard requested.
In the meantime, George had been looking for work, but jobs were scarce. Finally, he saw a light at the end of the tunnel. A local firm named Romney’s had survived the crash, and one of its executives decided to retire. Considering the current state of the economy, the pay was excellent. George applied for the position, as did many others.
By August 29, Mr. Romney had decided that only three applicants possessed the necessary qualifications, and he noticed that the qualifications of George were superior to those of his two rivals. He sent notes to the three applicants asking them to meet with him. To George’s dismay, the time of the meeting coincided exactly with his son’s operation: August 30 at 2:00 P.M.
George was tempted to attend the meeting, and his wife encouraged him to do so. However, he could not disappoint his son. So he sadly sent a note to Mr. Romney in which he explained the situation and excused himself.
Mr. Romney was displeased. He had a suspicious temperament, and he wondered whether George was telling the truth. So he sent Donald Carter, one of his coworkers, to the hospital at 1:00 P.M. to see if the operation was really taking place.
Donald talked with George and the surgeon and satisfied himself that George was telling the truth. He liked children, so he also chatted with Richard. He noticed how calmly Richard was facing the coming ordeal, and complimented him for his fearless bravery.
In reply, Richard said that he did not have to be afraid because his father was going to be with him.
After Mr. Romney’s meeting with the other two applicants had come to an end, Donald told his boss everything that he had learned at the hospital.
Mr. Romney had occasionally dealt with untrustworthy associates, so his first concern was to find someone on whom he could depend. When he learned about the confidence that George inspired in his son, he concluded that George was absolutely trustworthy and immediately decided to hire him.
The operation was successful, and the kind surgeon eventually received his pay. Richard still had to be careful. When he attended school, he could not take part in strenuous sports, and he was classified 4F during World War II. However, he did not have any serious problems for a long time.
At the age of 22, Richard married. His wife bore a healthy baby girl the following year, but the mother died in childbirth.
The shock was too much for Richard. He suffered heart failure and died. George, who was now a widower, cared for the baby. Her name was Christine.
When Christine was seven years old, a pair of armed burglars entered the residence of George at night. Christine was a light sleeper. When she heard people moving about in the front room, she was alarmed. She ran to her grandfather’s room and woke him up.
When the burglars realized that they had been discovered, they pulled out their guns and commanded George and Christine to sit down on the sofa. They threatened to shoot the child if George did not tell them where his valuables were. Of course, George cooperated with them.
While one of the burglars guarded George and Christine, the other burglar fetched the valuables. However, as they were about to leave, the police arrived. One of George’s neighbors had heard suspicious sounds and called the local authorities.
A gun battle ensued. Both burglars were seriously wounded, and one of the policemen was shot in the leg. In addition, a stray bullet wounded Christine in the shoulder. She emitted a scream, brushed away a few tears, and calmly took hold of her grandfather’s hand.
After the fight was over, the policemen expressed amazement at Christine’s courage. In reply, Christine said that she had nothing to fear because her grandfather was with her.