It’s always a nice feeling to fit in. It’s good when you can find a group of people that are like you. It’s good when you can find your tribe and say, “These are my people”. Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before that happens.
For instance, let’s just say you are an odd sort of fellow. And you are walking around and thinking, this is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. Where is my tribe? Suddenly as you are pondering this predicament, you run into another fellow who is also seeming a bit off. A bit odd even. Realization slaps you in the forehead, and you invite him to the pub for a pint.
As you are getting to know each other over pints, you notice another fellow is listening to your conversation. He’s getting to know you both as well through his eaves dropping. You figure, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em and invite him on over because, well, he seems a bit odd as also. The more the merrier. The next thing you know you three are meeting several times a week at this same little pub for pints and chats. You odd three.
One of you suggests you should start a club. Well, you practically already are a club. Why not make it official! Ah, but what to name this new club, filled with odd fellows. One bold chap finally suggests the obvious and blurts out, “What about the Odd Fellows?”
The other two stare at you as if you’ve suddenly spurted a new and totally additional head directly to the left of your current head. They are silent. They blink. Their pints grows warm. Then, as if they have been hit with a cosmic epiphany, they both clap you on the back and congratulate you for your ingenious insight. Of course you should call the club the Odd Fellows Club. After all, you are a group of odd fellows.
You settle on the Independent Order of Odd Fellows because you are beholden to no one.
Later, you decide this little club of yours would be a lot better with one thing … girls. You call the girls Rebekahs. It’s easier that way, because really, who can remember their names anyway. They have breasts. That’s all that really matters.
And that my friend is how the IOOF came to be. The end.
Okay, so that is totally not what the brochure said I found online. But it seems pretty likely considering the name. I’ve driven by one sign in Salem dozens of times and did stop to take a picture. The sign above was in Columbia and actually had NEON. Much cooler. I finally took the time to look them up.
Their mission is this: “Visit the sick, relieve the distress, bury the dead and educate the orphans.”
Maybe they weren’t just a bunch of 17th century nerds looking to get lucky.