Friday, November 2, 2007

On to November

It's hard to believe it's been about five months since I began reading up on fraternal/service organizations. It didn't take me long to zero in on the Freemasons, and five months later I'm still positive I made the right decision, especially after hearing my father and uncle talk about their brief experiences with the Rotary (My dad joined briefly while living in western New York in the 1960's or 70's, and my uncle thought about joining in southern Connecticut) and the Lions (my dad was a guest of a member at a few Lions club meetings in southern New Hampshire in the 1990's).

Apparently the Rotary had a policy where missing a meeting or luncheon meant having to pay extra fees on top of your annual dues. Similarly, what my dad saw at the Lions club was the singling out and ridicule of anyone who had missed a meeting or two in front of the whole assembly. My dad didn't spend long with the Rotarians, and never even bothered to join the Lions with the kind of attitude he saw there.

Disclaimer: this is obviously a second-hand and a very small sampling of experiences with the Rotary and Lions clubs. However, of all the complaints I have heard about the Freemasons, absentee fines and the harassment of infrequent attendees were not among them. While it may be true that the currently low annual dues make brothers value their membership less (which in turns leads to people paying their dues but not attending lodge, or drifting away altogether), I can't imagine wanting to belong to a club that hits me with a fine if I can't get to a meeting one week, or razzes me about it the next time I show up.

Hopefully things in my district will get back on track after October's official visits and installation of officers, and I'll get the chance to take the first degree I missed in September. I know it will be worth the wait.

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