Grand Lodge No. 150

I little enjoyed the annual meeting of the IOOF Grand Lodge of Oregon, but my home lodge votes to send me from time to time, and I feel compelled to go. This was its 150th session.

Most people dress formally for the social events, but I only wore a suit. In all my 57 years, I have yet to wear a tux. As for the dinner utensils, I knew that I was supposed to work my way from the outside in or the inside out, but I couldn’t remember which, and then there was that fork at the top of the plate. I find my ignorance of such things to be more amusing than annoying.

My father never wore a tux either, and I never saw him in a suit except when he was in one of his churchgoing phases. He would not have joined a lodge; but if he had joined, he would not have attended Grand Lodge; but if he had attended Grand Lodge, he would have masked his social terrors with anger before he stomped out. I am very glad that I am not like my father.

When I went on antidepressants in 1996, my own social fears greatly diminished. When I stopped taking them thirteen months ago, I worried that my fears would return, but they have not. I have two explanations. One is that I have declared myself too old to stoop to the indignity of worrying about what people think. The other is that I don’t consider people sufficiently important for their opinions to matter.

I went to work on household projects within an hour of getting home, and have scarcely stopped in the three days since. I did attend the Masonic Philosophical Society on Saturday and my regular Masonic lodge tonight. Tomorrow night is Odd Fellows, and then there is a Master Mason degree on Thursday. If I didn’t allow myself such indulgences, my time would be taken up almost entirely by chores, and I would become resentful. This house is already like anvil tied to my neck. I tell myself that I should appreciate it. After all, I could own nothing but the clothes on their back and not enough of those. Yet, as I stood looking out the den window today at the far corner of the house, it seemed as distant and demanding as the hull of a large ship.