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Eva's Garden Dedicated to Lodge Secretary Eva Baugh

For several weeks in late March and early April 2023, members of the Pascagoula Elks Lodge 1120 House Committee's Beautification Sub-Committee planned a surprise for long-time Lodge Secretary Eva Baugh. There has always been a flower garden along the sidewalk to the west of the main entrance to the Lodge and over the years, shrubs have been planted, trimmed, and later removed from the east side. A couple of years ago, Lodge Secretary Eva Baugh and her granddaughter Peyton, whom Eva affectionately calls Monk, last planted and maintained the west gardens.

As things often go, the gardens were maintained for several years and then when Eva was diagnosed with cancer, the gardens took a back seat to her health. The Lodge rallied behind Eva in her quest to become cancer-free, holding various fundraisers and offering many, many prayers of healing. But, the gardens suffered from the lack of attention from the Lodge.

In March, a committee was formed to restore the west flower beds and create a new flower bed on the east side of the Lounge entrance as well. From the beginning, the intent was to dedicate the new gardens to Eva, but secrecy was demanded! Of course, as Eva continued her duties as Lodge Secretary, she gave many of those volunteers an evil eye and commented that she could not believe that the flowers that she and Monk had planted had been removed. Oh, so little did she know what was to come.

In the middle of the planning and planting, tornadoes struck North Mississippi, and many of those same volunteers restoring the flowerbeds went to Rolling Fork to cook for the disaster relief assistance team and the Cajun Navy Ground Force. This necessitated a slight delay in the completion of the project.

Finally, the project was finished and Eva missed the Lodge Meeting on Thursday, April 20. That was ripe for word of mouth to be spread about the upcoming dedication, for you see, Eva is one of the administrators of the Lodge's Facebook page and would have seen any public announcement.

Sunday, April 22, 2023, came and Eva's daughter, Melissa, lured Eva out on the promise to take her to eat. But turn after turn didn't lead them to the restaurant that Eva wanted to go to, and she became irritated - until the corner was turned onto Krebs Ave and there was a group of about 70 friends, family, and Lodge family members in front of the Lodge. Eva was confused, she had not been made aware of anything going on at the Lodge.

To say the least, she was surprised by the dedication of the gardens. Esteemed Leading Knight Jason Darden began the ceremony by introducing the dedication. Dobbs Dennis provided the invocation and blessing of the gardens. Past Exalted Ruler Ed Neuman spoke about Eva being the "Wildflower of the Lodge" and about Eva's dedication and importance to the Lodge and its members. Finally, Marc Turner spoke about how the Lodge began a tradition with its trip to Rolling Fork of collecting a bit of debris from each disaster relief trip to place in the garden.

After the ceremony, a fellowship meal was held in the hall. Eva continues to maintain her dignity and smile though the battle against cancer has built into a fury. We love, you Eva, and we hope that you love your garden that will always remain in our hearts as our love for you will never end.


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