[Here’s a little article I first published in the DMC Newsletter back on September 20, 2014. It’s important to remember that our fraternal order began its life in the pubs of England where the members laughed, sang, told tales, drank ale, and had a good time. Let’s not forget to have some fun in our fraternal lives. Ultimately, it will attract and encourage new members to join. After all, if you’re not having a good time as a member of your fraternity, why are you an Odd Fellow? And if you aren’t having a good time, how can you hope to attract new Odd Fellows to your Lodge?]
Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
You never know what you will find when you rummage through old boxes. Well, looking through some old boxes at my Davis Lodge the other day, I came across a card dated 1946 (now, almost 80 years ago) that a Noble Grand had printed. This Noble Grand – by the name of J. Osborn Brink – had served in Monrovia Lodge #330. I did a little research in a wonderful book by Frank Christy entitled “California Odd Fellowship” and found that this Lodge was instituted in 1887 in Monrovia, Los Angeles County. In 1935 Temple Lodge #398, at Temple City, consolidated with Monrovia #330. Regrettably, in 1966, Monrovia #330 surrendered its charter and is no more. But this Past Grand of Monrovia #330 had printed a small card which contained the following few words, which that Noble Grand entitled “Odd”:
“An Odd Fellow is a fellow who was odd until he became an Odd Fellow. Yes, before he became an Odd Fellow, he was just an odd fellow, a fellow who is odd. You see, an odd fellow ceases to be odd when he became an Odd Fellow. Or does he?
When you are looking for an Odd Fellow, do not be deceived by taking a fellow who is odd for an Odd Fellow. An Odd Fellow is no longer odd when he becomes an Odd Fellow.
It would be quite odd for an Odd Fellow to mistake an odd fellow for an Odd Fellow, for odd fellows are just odd fellows until they become Odd Fellows.
I am looking for you to be less odd when you become an Odd Fellow. And when all odd fellows cease to be odd by becoming Odd Fellows, then it will be really odd to see a fellow who is not an Odd Fellow.
Brother, the odds are against you if you are not an Odd Fellow.”
I got quite a chuckle out of this little refrain from the pen of Brother J. Osborn Brink. I imagine he used his little card as a recruiting tool, and one day one of the members of Davis Lodge picked up that card in the 1940’s and it found its way into a box and ultimately, into my hands, so I could share it with all of you. It reminded me that Odd Fellows of the last generation, and the generation before that one, and the generation before that were not Dour Fellows. They were not Joyless Fellows, or Sad Fellows, or Stern Fellows, or Severe Fellows, or Gloomy Fellows. They were fraternal members who knew how to laugh, have a good time, and have some fun.
If we are dour, joyless, sad, stern, severe, or gloomy our Lodges will be dour, joyless, sad, stern, severe, and gloomy. That won’t retain members, and that certainly won’t attract members.
So, let’s all endeavor to have some fun and enjoy our “oddness”. And in memory of Brother J. Osborn Brink, and all the fun-loving Odd Fellows of past generations, I have been inspired to compose the following “Ode” which I call:
HAVING FUN WITH ODDNESS
You may think it odd
That I wish to trod
The venerable sod
You may even think me a clod
That I purport to prod
And give a hearty nod
In truth, I don’t mean to be a lightning rod
And I don’t wish to ride roughshod
But from Cape Cod to Riyadh
There is oddness.
Here in our own community
I speak to you with alacrity
About a certain commodity
That transcends our heredity.
Do you sense a bit of rigidity?
A touch of liquidity and fluidity?
A certain turbidity and morbidity?
Or just a taste of acidity?
I offer it with validity
And a fair amount of timidity
Assuming a certain absurdity
It’s all about our oddity.
For I am a futuristic mod
By no means an Olympic god
I trust the instincts of my bod
And support oddness.
It’s far heavier than a monkey pod
It’s much lighter than a hot rod
Its tastes better than a boiled cod
Let’s all hear it for oddness.
So, don’t report me to the Mossad
Don’t spit in my direction with a wad
Instead, lift your glass of Pernod
And toast the oddness.
Have fun with your oddness.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.)
Jurisdiction of California
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