The Grand Master's Message for September
A big hello to all Odd Fellows and Rebekahs:
This letter is long and while I apologize for that, I really need to say what is on my mind. I will reflect on something that has been on my mind since I took the office of Grand Master in April.
I hope everyone had a wonderful summer. I know some of us have lost dear friends and family members. I know that it hurts and leaves a big hole in your heart. But remember, God does look over us and help our healing. In time, the pain will ease. The good thoughts and memories of our loved ones will take over and bring a smile to your face again. I have found, in my own personal losses over the past years, that this has been the case.
Soon all the Lodges will be opening for the year again and time for electing new officers will start. I would like you all to consider this: if you have held the same office for 2 or more years, it is time for you to think about moving up or stepping aside and allowing new people to move ahead. If you have a small lodge, you should not sit stagnantly. Everyone should move through the chairs again. We each bring a new dimension to each office. I will say that this does not apply to the offices of secretary and treasurer. If you have a good secretary and treasurer, hang on to them for dear life! (Unless they want to move on).
I would also like to invite all Past Noble Grands to come to the Grand Session in April and becomes members of the Grand Lodge and continue through the order. There is much more to Odd Fellowship than just meeting with your own lodge. People need to grow. That can be done by moving up in the Order and learning what Odd Fellow and Rebekah fellowship is all about. Also, when you become a member of the Grand Lodge, you have an opportunity to vote on all legislation and rulings that come through the state.
Now for the personal side. I grew up living and working on my Grandmother’s farm In Lyme, NH. At age 14, I moved to Gilmanton Iron Works and went to Belmont High School. Later I worked at Pittsfield Shoe Company and then moved back to Lebanon and worked in the Tannery. I worked at Dartmouth College as a custodian. My Dad started a small construction company and I worked there part-time. I worked as a police officer for Dartmouth College until I was injured and they let me go. After much rehab, I worked for Sturm Ruger until I was laid off. I then worked for 24 years as a custodian in the Mascoma School District retiring in 2015. I now work part-time as a custodian for a pre-school/kindergarten in Lebanon. I don’t want you to think that I am writing my autobiography! I am writing this for those of you that think that you are not qualified to move on in the Order. I have no big education or college degree. I am just the average laborer with a good work ethic and common sense due to my old-fashioned upbringing. Anyone in any of the Odd Fellow and Rebekah Lodges can do this. And, let me tell you, the rewards of moving up into the Grand Lodge and/or The Rebekah Assembly are way more than you can imagine. I have traveled around the Northeast and Canada getting new ideas from other lodges and, most importantly, making new friends.
As far as Grand Session goes, I have heard from a number of people in the state that have no interest in the Grand Lodge session. The biggest reason that I hear is thatthere
is too much arguing and bickering. Believe me, I feel the same way! I hope to change that this year at session.
Enough of that! On to other things. My wife and I have been very busy this summer. On July 13th, we had been invited to a Fisher Cats game with the Heidelberg Lodge. Unfortunately, at the last minute, we were unable to go due to personal reasons. On July 14th, we attended the Riverside Rebekah Lodge meeting in Contoocook. What a great time we had. We enjoyed a wonderful meal, a 1 pound auction, and a lively meeting. July 15th-19th, we volunteered at Camp NEOFA. While there, we went with Maine Rebekah Assembly President Sharon LaSota to her lodge meeting in Monroe, Maine. This is her home lodge. We were amazed by the opening and closing as it was all done by memory. My hats off to them! I can’t remember that much! They had a raffle before the meeting(no luck) and after the meeting, they had homemade gingerbread(very good). On Aug. 2nd, we attended the Presidential Oaks Birthday Party for the residents. We played music and entertained them. We had a good time and a good lunch. Thank you, Peta, for inviting us. Aug. 5th and 6th, we attended Eaton Park Family Weekend. Meals were great but attendance was low. I wish members would realize that this is their park and would attend or rent it for family functions-weddings, family reunions, etc. On Aug. 17th, we attended the Heidelberg Lodge Breakfast meeting in New London. Good food and good friends. As soon as we got home, we headed for Lancaster Fairgrounds for our first every Good Sam’s Samboree. We camped there until Sunday the 20th. On Aug. 21st, I attended the funeral of our beloved friend, Mary Merrill. It was a very sad day. The church was filled with family and friends. There was a large contingent of Rebekahs there and they did a service for her. There was 6 Past Grands Masters present, as well. She will be greatly missed. On Aug. 22nd, Grand Chaplain Mike Adam and I traveled to Beaver Brook Lodge for a dinner and game night. The dinner was very good. The games were too modern and out of my league! Thanks for inviting us though. On Aug. 28th, my wife and I went to Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick Maine for the last Bluegrass festival of the season. On the 29th, I went up to NEOFA to help PGM and President of NEOFA, Dave Lent paint the baseball dugouts. Boyd Norman, PGM Maine was also on hand. On Sept. 5th, my wife and I started our first day back to our part-time job at our school. I was a long 3 day week but we made it! Only 35 weeks left until school is out. On Sept. 9th, we are headed back to NEOFA for the annual meeting. Then, on the 14th, we will head to CT for their Grand Session. On Sunday, the 17th, we will have our 2nd Annual Cruise on the Mt. Washington.
On Saturday, November 4th, myself and several other musicians will present a bluegrass/country concert at the Evergreen Lodge in Epsom. I will write more about that in my next letter.
That’s it for now and thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Love and Truth
Walter George, GM
P.S. A big thank you to my wife for her time to clean up my letters. As I said earlier in this letter, I am just an old country boy. I ramble on and am not grammatically correct! (His spelling is not so hot either.MG)