The closest thing to family

I counted 32 at tonight’s Odd Fellow installation of officers. This was a third of those present at my first installation 14 years ago. Of those 32, only three were younger than I. The women wore formals, the men black suits. Afterwards, we sat down to a wicked dessert table.

My lodge is the only organization of which I am a member that encourages largess of spirit and, other than Peggy and the dogs, it is the closest things I have to family. My parents are dead. One sister hasn’t spoken to me in twelve years, my brother in decades, and my other sister only writes occasionally. My polyfidelity group fizzled. The Family of Choice Network that I founded also fizzled. I became disenchanted with communes, religion, and co-counseling. My friends died or moved away from me—or I from them. Now, the likelihood is that I will bury most of my lodge brothers and sisters. I have already put away quite a few.

Statistically, I have 21 years left, and I can’t help but think that I should be doing more with my time. I have lived like a kid who was graduating from school with no idea what to do with himself, and now my life is more than two-thirds finished.