Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Odd Fellowship is envisioned as a big tent. So long as one is a person of good moral character, with the qualities inherent in friendship, love and truth – other things are supposed to be irrelevant such as the person’s religious or philosophical beliefs, their business, their politics, their race, national origin, gender, sexual identity, disability, or socioeconomic status. Here’s an article written by one of the founders of DMC, Past Grand Master Rick Boyles, which deals with the interesting issue of socioeconomic status and Odd Fellowship.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Money is the Root of… Both Good & Evil…
Money is the root of all evil, or so the saying goes. Right wing icon Ayn Rand altered the expression with her famous words – “Money is the Root of all good”. As is my normal vantage point, I believe both views are appropriate – because conversely those with money may be imbued with goodness, and those without money may be consumed by evil and hatred. So then, it shows that money is nothing but a tool, a symbol, a token of one’s monetary worth solely. But, in reality, money is nothing more than the current rate of exchange otherwise we might all still be engaged in barter, as in earlier times.
Our order if it works as it was originally intended is supposed to be blind to such matters, and yet, it’s a hard thing to do. We have Odd Fellow events that cost hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars, and we seem to judge Odd Fellow members based upon their level of attendance to such events. When I was Grand Master, members would confide in me that they could not afford to attend an event or purchase some part of a uniform or go to some other expense. I could feel their embarrassment, and somehow I felt the need to allay this type of feeling. To be precise, no member is required to attend any Odd Fellow event they don’t want to attend. It’s easily demonstrated that many members never venture outside their own lodges. Central events, such as Grand Lodge Sessions, are really only attended by a very small fraction of our order. In our state, only approximately 5% of all members attend our annual sessions. Of course, expense is not the only reason for this, as many members still have jobs or other commitments which interfere with such an event that may consume up to a week of a member’s precious time off. The fact that some members can afford to give of their time or their money to attend such events says nothing more than that and is not a reflection on those who can’t attend. And yet, I can easily detect a bit of regret or even resentment by those who are unable to attend.
I believe that one of the secrets to the Odd Fellows future survival is to make events more accessible, fiscally and in matters of convenience. How can we do this? It’s no secret that many lodges pay for their members to attend sessions, but what about those who have jobs or other commitments, or belong to lodges that can’t support their members? As we become more technologically advanced, we need to make our events more inclusive. We have members such as Grand Warden Mel Astrahan who commit events to film, which is one step; it may be just a minor additional step to make these events interactive, just as our Board of Directors often have had members attend via Skype. If we want to advance into a new age, we have to recognize that eventually there will not necessarily be many centralized events but rather many opportunities for many more members to attend via remote access.
Some of us within our order have taken to judging members mainly on their level of wealth, though how we even know this is hard to fathom. Some of us look at an automobile and judge the driver to be poor if it has years on it, yet some of the wealthiest people I know either have no cars or drive an older one. In the real world many public figures have declared bankruptcy while driving fancy cars, and living the so-called high life. Others look at residences as emblems of self-worth, and while they may indeed be impressive, they are also no real measure of self worth. To me, what is most important is what will you think on when you are on your own deathbed, your extravagant home, or your personal relationships? It seems to be no contest. In fact, money generally tends to dilute one’s view of what is most important in life which is genuine human interaction. Money can be a wonderful tool but if one uses it to merely construct one’s own Xanadu (to paraphrase Coleridge), then it is merely a construct to isolation. Of course, there are many classic works, both books and movies that bear this out.
This is not my own extremist view, but rather the prevalent view in almost all religions. This also explains the downfall of many lodge settings, the fraternal basis upon which most benevolent groups are based. Many Odd Fellow lodges were mainstays to members’ existence years ago, but now they are only casual destinations, with little or no import to the members. In fact, a survey 100 years ago to your members would have emphasized the necessity of the lodges, while today that necessity has pretty much vanished entirely. While some wealthy may act like they don’t even see the rationale for a poor member to join a lodge, the poor or hungry member may see the lodge as some small bit of possible joy, some shred of dignity in an otherwise hobbled existence, what 100 years ago was a home away for most members from their dire state of life. Clearly, we can’t sustain members in their daily lives, but if we are announcing that only rich people are welcome, only wealthy people can run for positions, only retired people with little or no life remaining should feel the need to join than surely our order is doomed. We can’t expect our order to survive by just pandering to the rich, which is actually anathema to our original ideals. This is not negative thinking. It is negative thinking directly at those who want nothing more than to command the universe by virtue of owning it. Of course, this never happens and is its own form of self delusion.
Think on what you might consider if you were actually on your own deathbed. It will inevitably happen. I have been at people’s sides when they have had a philosophical reawakening when it was far beyond too late. There is little or no doubt the thing that you would not recall would be money. Rather, it would be the friends you may have been blessed with, and the good times you may have had. In this era where money seems a weapon, and little else, if we truly want to save our order we need to look at those who are perhaps less fortunate and see the world through their eyes. For those of you who profess to be religious – Jesus Christ says “‘Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God”. Rich people tend to define this statement as being mythical to those times. Other religions have similar passages. For those of you who profess to be great definers of our order – The IRS says “To be exempt under Internal Revenue Code (IRC), a fraternal beneficiary society, order, or association must meet the following requirements: … It must provide for the payment of life, sick, accident or other benefits to the members of such society, order, or association or their dependents. Mar 23, 2016.” Rich people like to re-define this statement by disputing whether or not we are even fraternal. Of course, if we no longer feel like helping our fellow man we are clearly not being fraternal in its core definition.
So we have lost Odd Fellow members and continue to lose members because many of us have forgotten or neglected to remember the basic parameters of our order. If we allow only those with money to run for office, we ignore the reality around us. If we allow only those with money to be members, we are ignorant of the tent cities that surround us. Just as we now almost all logically decry prejudice of race, sexual orientation, and moral precept, we must also accept the lowly as well as the wealthy among us. If we don’t we are really only hastening our own demise. I often ask Odd Fellow members what happens to our order when they leave the order, and they invariably respond – who cares? If we truly love our fraternal and benevolent order, then we should care that it continues on without us.
In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles
In 2017, the City of Davis will celebrate its Centennial – 100 years as a California City, having formed as “Davisville” in 1917 – and the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge will participate in the year-long ceremony. The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge has played a significant role in the history of Davis. In fact, the first “Mayor” of Davis was a member of the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge. John B. Anderson was the 127th signatory in the register of all members of the Lodge.
John B. Anderson served on the Board of Trustees, the City of Davis’s first form of city government, from 4/20/1917 to 11/20/1917. Anderson served as President of the Board, akin to the Mayor, in 1917. He ran the Davisville Cash Store until 1910. He also helped found the Bank of Davis, which was located at the corner of 2nd and G Streets in downtown Davis. While the site has not housed a bank since 1971, the two-story Anderson Bank Building, named for John Anderson, remains in its original site. John B. Anderson, along with his brother A. Gordon Anderson, operated the Anderson Ranch (located on today’sAnderson Road, which is named for the family) and a number of businesses in the City of Davis. Davis Ace, aka Davis Lumber & Hardware, which today is run by John’s grandniece, Jennifer Anderson, has been in the Anderson family for more than 100 years.
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge actually predated the formation of the City of Davis. The Lodge was chartered in April of 1870. In those days, it was called the “Yolo Lodge” because the City of Davis had not yet been created. The first Lodge Hall was on G Street, which at the time, was the heart of the town. The current Odd Fellows Lodge was built in 1955 and is located on 2nd Street.
Dear Odd Fellows,
If you have all your Davis Odd Fellows Lodge #169 degrees (Initiatory Degree, Degree of Friendship, Degree of Love, and Degree of Truth) then you are eligible to take the next step in Odd Fellowship by joining Davis Encampment #21. I’m pleased to say that the Davis Encampment is offering a Degree Night where you can earn all three degrees in the Encampment (Patriarchal Degree, Golden Rule Degree, and Royal Purple Degree) in one evening. It’s a rare opportunity and it’s coming up on Wednesday, March 1, starting at 7 p.m. in the Upper Hall of the Lodge.
Davis Encampment #21 was instituted in 1955 (over 60 years ago). There are only 11 active Encampments in the State of California. We are fortunate to have one in Davis. Currently, we have 35 members*, led in 2017 by Chief Patriarch Tony Pruitt. Tony has assigned me to be the Degree Captain on March 1. We are one of the two largest Encampments in California and we are a very active Encampment. We have adopted the mission of providing financial help to children from low income Davis families so that they can have a summer camp or other summer experience. We provide the families with subsidies and scholarships for this purpose. We have provided this community service for many years now for a large number of children. The Davis Encampment meets once each month immediately following the Odd Fellows Lodge Saturday breakfast meeting. Dues are $45 per year; there is no additional fee to obtain the degrees.
And if you join the Encampment, you get to wear (if you wish) the much coveted purple and gold fez. In Odd Fellowship only members of the Encampment are permitted to wear the fez.
If YOU have your Odd Fellows degrees and are interested in joining the Encampment and receiving your Encampment Degrees on March 1, please e-mail me no later than next Thursday, February 23, and let me know and we will make arrangements to bring you into the Encampment fold.
F – H – C
Past Chief Patriarch
* Current Members of Davis Encampment #21:
Tony Pruitt, Chief Patriarch
Mary Superak, Senior Warden
Doug Hatton, Junior Warden
Joel Mandel, Scribe
Janis Rosenberg, Treasurer
Lea Rosenberg, Financial Scribe
Jim Cheney, High Priest
Robb White, Guide
Dave Rosenberg, First Watch
Kurt Roggli, Second Watch
Bob Bockwinkel, Third Watch
Sharla Cheney, Fourth Watch
Sheryl Cambron, Inside Sentinel
Dennis Corcoran, Outside Sentinel
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge #169 installed their officer for 2017 on the evening of January 21, 2017. The installing officials were Deputy Grand Master Dave Reed (far left in the photo) and Past Grand Master Dave Rosenberg (far right in the photo), both members of Davis Lodge #169. The elected officers of the Lodge are picture left to right: Financial Secretary Duff Devine, Treasurer Janis Rosenberg, Secretary Jim Smith, Noble Grand Stewart Savage, and Vice Grand James Bledsoe.
In addition to the elected officers, the appointed officers of the Lodge were installed. Appointed officers by the Noble Grand: Warden Richard Watson, Conductor Sharla Cheney, Right Supporter of the Noble Grand Dave Reed, Left Supporter of the Noble Grand Tony Pruitt, Chaplain David Cougevan, Inside Guardina Mary Parton, Outside Guardian Aaron Wedra, Right Scene Supporter Beth Dovi, Left Scene Supporter Bob Dovi, Musician Kurt Roggli, Color Bearer Matthew Elliott. Appointed officers by the Vice Grand: Right Supporter of the Vice Grand Dawn Coder, Left Supporter of the Vice Grand David Zavatson.
Over 70 members of the Davis Lodge, plus applicants and friends, attended the Installation Ceremony, and enjoyed a dinner of polenta pesto and bacon-wrapped chicken, rice and seasonal vegetables prepared by Lodge Catering. The Installation Ceremony dinner and entertainment was coordinated by 2016 Noble Grand Jean-Paul Montreuil and Roberta Savage.
The 2016 Noble Grand Jean-Paul Montreuil presented awards for service to the Lodge and the community in 2016. Over a dozen superlative members of the Lodge received Merit Jewels. In addition, major awards were given to exceptionally active members: the annual “Member of the Year” award was presented to Juelie and Kurt Roggli, the annual “Noble Grand’s Award” was presented to Janis Rosenberg, and the annual “Spirit Award” was presented to Ed Lewis.
After a winter holiday break Davis Odd Fellows Thursday Live! is back on February 2nd with an evening of Old Timey Americana music. Meredith Axelrod is back for her annual show at the hall. Opening the show will be Keith Cary with Tarek Isham
Meredith Axelrod is delightfully engaging and unassumingly comic. She envisions the limitless potential of early twentieth century music, whether it be Ragtime, Music Hall, Pop Standard, Boogie Woogie, Tin Pan Alley, String band, Jazz, Country, Blues or even Jug Band music, and embodies the spirit that brought the music into existence in the first place. Her vocal style is unusual, probably because she learned to sing by listening to how folks did it a century ago – through the medium of cylinders and 78-rpm records.
Opening the show will be Keith Cary with Tarek Isham. It’s always a pleasure when Keith Cary comes to the Hall alone or with another musician he’s introducing to us.
Keith Cary has played around the Davis and Winters area for many years. Keith plays steel guitar, mandolin, cello, string bass and harmonica, and builds many of the instruments he plays. Some of the groups he’s performed or recorded with are; Jolie Holland, Miss Lonely Hearts, John Tchicai, Devil Makes Three, The Cheap Suit Serenaders, and Axelrod, Cary and Foss. When not playing for an audience he builds and repairs musical instruments at his home in Winters.
Tarek Isham will join Cary on stage for this show. Isham found his musical voice while living in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, where music and creativity make daily and deep impressions. Four years ago, he moved back to Clyde Park, Montana to help his mother with her Quarter Horse Ranch and to pursue an education in veterinary medicine, which has subsequently brought him to Davis, California. Before moving, he played many nights and weekends in the Bozeman area in a duo called Cottonwood Line. Tarek plays guitar, harmonica, foot-pedal drums and sings songs in country, blues, gospel and folk styles. Look for live shows and an upcoming demo album under the name Doc Tari, which was the name of a famous Quarter Horse.
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge “Classic Film Festival” returns in February with three classics of the science fiction genre. The featured films will be shown on three successive Sunday evenings – February 5, 12 and 19. The selected classics are Things to Come, The Man in the White Suit, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. All films are shown on the large screen projection system at the Odd Fellows Lodge Hall, 415 2nd Street, Downtown Davis. Doors open at 6:29 p.m. and showtime is at 7:01 p.m. The public is cordially invited and there is no admissions charge. Before each film is played noted film reviewer Derrick Bang will give the audience the back-story of the film, the actors and director. After the showing, Derrick Bang will be available to answer audience questions.
Things to Come is a 1936 British black-and-white film written by H.G. Wells and starring Raymond Massey. The film sets out a future history from 1940 to 2054. It turned out to be a very popular film at the British box office in 1935-36. A science fiction historian has stated, “Things to Come qualifies as the first true masterpiece of science fiction cinema.” The film was influential in later films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey. Things to Come will be the first film in the series, showing on February 5.
The Man in the White Suit is a quirky 1951 science fiction satirical comedy, starring Alec Guinness. It explores the theme of the common man against the establishment. Alec Guinness portrays a young chemist who develops and invents a cloth with special qualities – resulting in both expected and unintended consequences. The Man in the Whit Suit will be shown on February 12.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1956 American science fiction horror film. Part of it is shot in “film noir” style. Starring Kevin McCarthy, the film is about an alien invasion of earth. Extraterrestrial space spores have fallen to earth and develop pods, each one capable of developing a duplicate human being. The film is preserved in the national film registry as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” Invasion of the Body Snatchers appears on many lists of the “best science fiction”, as well as the “best horror” films of all time. This film will be shown on February 19.
“We are delighted to bring back these classic films for the enjoyment of the public,” said Classic Film Festival Chair Dave Rosenberg. “Classic Science Fiction is an especially engaging genre because here we are in the present showing past films that are all about the future. It results in an existential and delightful journey for the audience. We welcome the community to our Lodge to enjoy these classic bonbons.”
The Davis Odd Fellows began their Classic Film series in the Spring of 2014, showing three classic films of a certain genre during each series. The series has been repeated every Spring and every Winter since 2014. The series this February featuring Classic Science Fiction will be the 7th chapter of the series. The six previous chapters featured: Academy Award Best Picture Films, Classic Westerns, Classic Courtroom Dramas, Classic Film Noir, Classic Screwball Comedies, and Classic Comedies.
In addition to the screening of these classic films, the Odd Fellows provide free popcorn to patrons. A no-host bar is also available before and during the screenings featuring wine, beer on tap, soft drinks and water, and a full array of mixed drinks.
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge has been a fixture in Davis since it was instituted in 1870. The Lodge has resided at its present location on 2nd Street for the past 62 years. The Davis Odd Fellows is a fraternal association of men and women, currently with 259 members. It is the largest Odd Fellows Lodge in California. The Lodge engages in many activities supporting the community in addition to the Classic Film Festival. Some of those activities include the Davis Chocolate Festival, A Taste of Davis, Breakfast with Santa, Breakfast with the Bunny, the Picnic Day Pancake Breakfast, the Texas Hold ’em Poker Tournament, monthly second Sunday Bingo for the community, and “Thursday Live!” monthly musical entertainment at the Lodge, among others. More information on the Davis Odd Fellows can be obtained at www.davislodge.org.