Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
We all know that once your name winds up on a company’s mailing list (or email list) it seems like the name kind of stays on that list forever. The other day when I checked the incoming mail at the Lodge, I saw yet another example of this aphorism.
Nestled in the Davis Lodge’s inbox was a letter from a company addressed to “Bud Carey” at the Lodge. For a moment I hesitated because I had not heard or seen Bud’s name for over a decade. Bud, in fact, was a member of the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge, but he had passed away close to twenty years ago. I imagine we will all – eventually – enter the realm of postal and/or electronic immortality. Unless these companies purge their lists every decade or so, we all will continue to receive those letters or emails soliciting insurance, or selling that new product, or advising who to vote for.
But I choose not to go there. I would rather not forget Bud Carey. I would rather remember Bud and what he contributed to our human condition during the time he spent on this earth. I remember Bud as one of the “old-timers” – long-time members of the Odd Fellows who were guiding our Lodge during the years when I first became a member. In 2004 (when I joined the Order), the Lodge was quite small – less than 25 members, and many of them not active. Just a handful of years earlier, Odd Fellowship had changed when, in 1999, membership in Odd Fellows Lodges had opened to women and the first female members were initiated. That happened at the turn of the century. Just a few years before that – around 1996 – the Lodge had opened its doors to potential members who wanted to be more visible and more active in the community. This was a sea change for our Lodge, and quite a few members resisted anything that would divert the Lodge from simply meeting and reading passages from the ritual. New and younger, more dynamic and community-oriented members were invited into the Lodge notwithstanding this resistance. Most of the “old-timers” were happy with the status quo and didn’t want to rock the IOOF boat. New members meant change, and change was anathema to the status quo. I was one of those newcomers.
One member from the group of old-timers, however, broke away from the status quo, and was open to the changes that would come from a new crop of younger, more progressive members. And that was Bud Carey. He recognized that continuing the status quo was a recipe for the slow demise of our Lodge. Opening up to a new generation of members was the recipe for growth. Bud convinced his colleagues that they shouldn’t fear the changes that would be made by the newcomers. And it proves the adage that one person can make a difference.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California