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Good Works Galore

That’s what all these Odd Fellows are up to

There are worse things to keep bumping into, like the doorframe that bruises your toe. The good works of civic organizations were my run-in. They cornered me at every turn, surrounding me, until I had no alternative. This week’s feature story — Get Involved: Local Civic Groups Help Make the World a Better Place — is the result of those confrontations.
    Lions, Moose and Elks: What are all these Odd Fellows up to? That was my question.
    Odd Fellows really exist; we could find trace but no specifics on one branch of the British fraternal organization in Chesapeake Country. Wish we could tell you more.
    What we do know is that theirs is the kind of name these organizations gave themselves back in their early days, when fellowship and good times were more the point than good works. Hence the Elks — the oldest by our reckoning, dating back to the post-Civil War Reconstruction era — began as the Jolly Corks.
    Kiwanis we were able to trace to a different origin, though the choice of a Native American word remains a mystery. As do the animal names, Lions, Moose and Elks. Certainly those animals are big stately models, with distinguishing male features of antlers or mane. Both elk and moose have North American ranges. How and why those totems were chosen we long to know. If you know, tell us.
    Interesting too is the coincident founding of so many of these civic organizations, just about a century ago. With the exception of the Elks (1868), Knights of Columbus (1882) and Moose (1888), all were founded between 1905 and 1928, with five in the century’s second decade. Put it down, I think, to one more phenomenon rising from the developing American social conscience of those years, the same that gave us conservation, women voters and prohibition, which began as a campaign for family integrity.
    More interesting than the long histories and odd names of these civic organizations are the human hours committed to good works here at home and in the wider world.
    I keep bumping into good works. Here are ­outreaches going on right now, each one needing you to reach its charitable goal:
    • Severn River Lions Club Fruit Sale: Order by Dec. 6 for fresh Florida navel oranges and ruby red grapefruit plus Georgia Elliot pecans. Pickup Saturday Dec. 13 at Severna Park High School (9am-1pm) Order: www.severnriverlions.org/fruit.htm.
    • South Arundel Lions Citrus Sale: Order by Dec. 8 for fresh Florida navel oranges and ruby red grapefruit plus locally made sausage and Virginia sweet potatoes. Pickup Saturday Dec. 20 at K-Mart parking lot, Edgewater. Order: 410-703-3773.
    • Rotary Club of South Anne Arundel County Lights of Kindness: Admire and vote on Christmas trees sponsored and decorated by local businesses and displayed at Homestead Gardens Dec. 4-7. Sponsor a tree to support a charity of your choice: Anthony Clark: 443-822-1606.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com