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The Three Links Odd Cast

Author: Toby Hanson, Ainslie Heilich, Sergio Paredes

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The Three Links Odd Cast is an exploration of and discussion about issues in Odd Fellowship for members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. It provides a fun, light-hearted look at the history, traditions, customs, and practices of Odd Fellowship as well as an examination of where the fraternal order is today. NOTE: there will be *NO* discussion of The Unwritten Work or any of the signs, grips, or passwords of Odd Fellowship.
24 Episodes
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It's another crossover episode with our brothers and friends at Modern Goat Rider!  Ours is the second half of the crossover so be sure to download and listen to Episode 29 of Modern Goat Rider to get all the context for this episode of the Three Links Odd Cast.  In the first half of the crossover we discuss how Odd Fellowship would have been different today if we had made changes in the past.  For our half of the episode, we're guessing about how things would be different going forward if changes were made now.  Among the items of speculation: if Abby from NCIS were a member, would she be an Odd Fellow or Rebekah?  Is it feasible going forward with three different orders of Odd Fellows (Manchester Unity, GUOOF, and IOOF)? How will lodges be different after COVID?  Will there be more embrace of technology?  Will they lose members or gain members?  Is the isolation of COVID lockdowns and quarantines driving demand for membership?  Are our lodges prepared for new members in a post-COVID world?  What would be different if local political leaders were members of our lodges?  Would that help direct lodge resources to areas of need or would that encourage political discord to enter our lodge halls?  Give a listen while we propose how Odd Fellowship could be different going forward.  If you've got a response to our conjecture, be sure and share it with us on our website, http://www.threelinksoddcast.com.
About The Rebekahs

About The Rebekahs

2021-04-2201:42:53

The Rebekahs are an important component of Odd Fellowship that frequently gets overlooked when talking about the Order.  Prompted by a request from a Rebekah in Texas, we decided to go straight to the top and do an episode with Sister Elizabeth Mowry-Harbstreit, President of the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies.  Sister Elizabeth is a passionate and knowledgeable Rebekah who gives us a thorough education in the history, development, present, and future of the Rebekahs.  She talks about the roots of the Rebekah Degree as an honorary degree restricted to the female relatives of Odd Fellows and how it grew and changed to become an self-guiding unit of Odd Fellowship especially for women.  This is a can't-miss episode for anyone with a strong interest in learning more about Odd Fellowship.  Note: there is no lodge shoutout this episode because no one nominated a lodge.  Be sure and let us know about lodges doing great work at 3linksoddcast@gmail.com so we have a shoutout for future episodes!
Odd Fellowship has a long heritage of music, much of which has been forgotten.  In this episode we explore the mysteries of the Ode Book and other forgotten pieces of Odd Fellows music.  PGP John H. Seiffert, a Lutheran church music director in his professional life, dedicated a large amount of time to compiling the IOOF Odes, published by Sovereign Grand Lodge first in 1877 and then subsequently several times thereafter.  The Ode Book includes several settings of the Opening and Closing Ode as well as settings of odes and songs for other lodge occasions such as hall dedications, anniversaries, installations of officers and funerals.  The ritual also contains quite a bit of music, especially for the Initiatory Degree.  Beyond just the music suggested for lodge use, there was a lot of popular music of the 19th Century written by, for, and about Odd Fellows and we give a survey of that music as well.  Settle in for this episode—it's a long one at over two hours.  We're sure you will enjoy every minute of it as much as we enjoyed making it.
New Lodge In Virginia

New Lodge In Virginia

2021-03-2101:21:32

Nick Curry was sitting in his hometown in Virginia looking for some kind of community organization to join.  He searched on the Internet and made a list of all the usual fraternal and community groups.  The more he researched them, the more one organization stood out: the Odd Fellows.  He set about the task of gathering people together that he knew and started down the path that would end up re-chartering Chester Lodge #281 after nearly three-quarters of a century defunct.  Along the way he had incredible guidance and support from the Grand Lodge of Virginia who stepped in to help guide the new lodge and provide them with what they needed for success.  Sister Janet Gibson, Past IARA Secretary, was part of the  team from Grand Lodge who has made such a contribution to the new lodge.  This has put Virginia on a path toward growth in membership as the Grand Lodge has embraced technology and launched a new website.  Brother Sergio rejoins us after his work with the Material Sciences Division but remains very taciturn about what he did.  Toby quotes a line from "Steel Magnolias" as he ponders why so much growth in Odd Fellowship has come from the South.  Ainslie shares about his work on the forthcoming Odd Fellows' Primer.  Our Shoutout goes to Dallas #44 of Texas, subject of the previous episode, for their incredible dedication to the Odd Fellows' Living Legacy Program.
This week we're reaching deep into the heart of Texas to talk to Brother Ivan Kotcher, Noble Grand of Dallas Lodge #44.  When he first joined the lodge less than ten years ago, it was down to a small cadre of elderly members barely able to make quorum.  He shares the story of how a pair of well-known and charismatic artists in Dallas were able to draw large numbers of members to the lodge.  Some of the lodge's success has been due to their commitment to feeding their member before and holding regular social gatherings after lodge meetings.  Dallas Lodge #44 also believes strongly in making members feel like they are part of a community and that extends to making long-time members feel that they are important, too.  All that plus a rant about jurisdictions that *still* don't have a website and a brief tour of the purpose of trustees and the Finance Committee in the lodge.  The Lodge Shoutout goes to newly-chartered Chester #281 in the Jurisdiction of Virginia.
Popular culture has linked fraternal orders with the iconic headwear of the Middle East: the fez.  How did that piece of headwear sported by Morocco Mole become emblematic of American fraternalism?  What kinds of side orders are there for Odd Fellows?  How did they develop and what happened to all of them?  In this episode we get some answers from Brother Seth Anthony of Triune Lodge #307 in Middletown, Pennsylvania.  Brother Seth is an avid fraternalist and founder of the Museum of Fezology (www.fezmuseum.com).  He shares the stories of all the various "fun" side orders for Odd Fellows including the Oriental Order of Humility & Perfection, the Imperial Order of Muscovites, the Pilgrim Knights of Oriental Splendor, the Veiled Prophets of Baghdad, the Ancient Mystic Order of Cabiri, and the United Order of Splendor and Perfection.  He also talks about the modern successors of those groups, the Noble Order of Muscovites and the Ancient Mystical Order of Samaritans.  Along the way we learn about the overall cultural influences of the Middle East on American fraternalism, how a bunch of Shriners in Chicago in 1893 brought the fez to fraternal orders, and some of the stories behind unique fezzes in Brother Anthony's collection.  The Shoutout this episode goes to the newly-chartered Themis Lodge #75 in Alexandria, Louisiana.
Reviving A Small-Town Lodge

Reviving A Small-Town Lodge

2021-02-0801:02:35

Sister Stacy Thomason of Gold Hill Lodge #129 in Oregon joins us.  In less that two years of membership, Stacy has become an amazing dynamo of activity, breathing new life into her small-town lodge.  She has created a seed swap, a book exchange, a little free food pantry, and something she calls her "Odd Fellows Propaganda Machine."  She fills us in on all the details about her amazing projects and how they have brought her lodge and her community much closer together.  She also talks about some of the other activities they have done in Gold Hill and how she has been able to successfully promote them.  The conversation meanders around to a number of different topics, from the decor of Spencer Butte Lodge #9 in Eugene, Oregon, to everyone's favorite type of pie, to highlights of Oregon's dairy products industry, and Toby's story about signing someone up for membership in a Rest Area in the middle of the night somewhere in rural Oregon.  The Lodge Shoutout goes this time to a lodge in need of help, Mackinaw #380 of New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania.  The Grand Lodge of PA is looking for some new members for that lodge and we want to spread the word.  All that plus Christopher McHale's snack genius in the Odd Podge.
Supreme Historian, Part 2

Supreme Historian, Part 2

2021-01-3101:11:32

Brother Supreme Page joins us to continue the conversation begun in Episode 17.  In this episode he gives us a fascinating glimpse into African-American history and the pivotal role Odd Fellowship played in developing Black communities.  Specifically, we learn about various important figures in African-American history and their connections with Odd Fellowship.  Martin Luther King, Jr.'s grandfather was an Odd Fellow who helped to build the Grand Lodge building in Atlanta which anchored the prosperous Auburn Avenue business district.  That building was also home to one of the first Black pharmacies and the first Black movie theater where African-Americans were not restricted to balcony seating areas.  Brother Page also shares with us that Madame C.J. Walker, early cosmetics entrepreneur and America's first female African-American millionaire, was a member of the Household of Ruth, the Grand United Order's female auxiliary.  By the end of the conversation, the subject wandered to excellent Southern food, Supreme's preference for home fries or French fries, and just how "hard" riding a Vespa scooter makes a person.  
Brother Supreme Page of Oglethorpe Lodge #1, IOOF and Wayman Lodge #1339, GUOOF joins us for the first half of this episode to talk about the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows and their unique history in African-American communities.  Unfortunately, due to a dropped phone call, Bro. Page was unable to finish the episode with us.  We are hoping to bring him back in the future to finish the conversation so he can share more of his historical research about the Grand United Order.  Some of the great information he was able to share touched on the roots of the GUOOF in America and its historical relationship with the other Odd Fellow Orders like the Manchester Unity and the IOOF.  He also shared the background of construction of the GUOOF Hall in Atlanta on Auburn Avenue and how similar stories of progress in Black communities played out in cities around their Odd Fellows lodges.  To round out this episode, Bro. Christopher McHale made a special appearance to talk a little about what Bro. Page shared as well as give an update on what he's been doing in Montana.  We preview the next episode and also make a request for any Odd Fellows in Scandinavia that might be willing to join us for an episode.
Brother Joe Motta from Reno Lodge #14 in Nevada joins us to talk about his experience in joining the lodge last October and share his thoughts about making Odd Fellowship more accessible to younger members.  He's in a perfect position to offer that insight since he's twenty-one years old and is working hard to bring new members into his lodge and revitalize Odd Fellowship in Nevada.  Joe has some brilliant insights that will be easily adaptable to many lodges.  His greatest insight is that young potential members want to know what they're going to get out of Odd Fellowship before they investigate joining so lodges need to be ready to communicate that.  The Shoutout goes to newly-chartered Ghana Lodge #1 in Accra, Ghana, Africa.  After the break, Toby, Ainslie, and Christopher McHale discuss Joe's insights and observations until the conversation devolves into a discussion of preferred snack foods.  Ainslie shares the difficulty in contacting the Grand Lodge of Utah to refer a member inquiry, Toby rants about how lodges need to make themselves discoverable, and Christopher previews his new podcast "The Lonely Hammer."  Note: Regular host Brother Sergio is still on assignment to the Material Sciences Division and we hope he will be back to hosting with us soon.
Christmas Episode

Christmas Episode

2020-12-2001:12:54

In the Christmas Episode, Ainslie and Toby are joined by guest host Bro. Christopher McHale of Covenant Lodge #6 in Missoula, Montana.  They start off the show with a quick mention of Lake Stevens, Washington and an explanation of why.  They share updates from past guests of the show and talk about the impact they're seeing in Odd Fellowship, including the chartering of a new lodge in Virginia.  Bro. Michael Greenzeiger, Deputy Grand Master of California, shares his special Hanukkah message for Odd Fellowship.  The hosts talk about what has made Odd Fellowship meaningful to each of them.  For Ainslie, it's the chance to use his artwork to give back and strengthen Odd Fellowship.  For Toby, it's a tragic story he heard from a member that led to that member's life-long devotion to Odd Fellowship.  For Christopher, it's the experiences he had curating the historical collection of the Montana Odd Fellows Museum and his term as Noble Grand of his lodge.  All that plus a few entertaining detours along the way, including a discussion of the food culture of Odd Fellowship, Christopher's misspent youth on Long Island listening to Morrissey and Slayer, and his desire to take an associate membership in Iron Links Lodge #5 in Atlanta just for the food.  In the Odd Podge, Toby updates us on the progress of recording new versions of the Odes, Ainslie talks about the upcoming Odd Fellows' Primer written by Bro. Michael Greenzeiger, and Christopher shares his favorite ghost zine and previews his upcoming podcast, The Lonely Hammer.
This jam-packed episode of the Three Links Odd Cast begins with a musical tribute to the Keystone State courtesy of Sovereign Grand Musician Toby Hanson.  Ainslie issues a correction regarding President Chester Alan Arthur's lapels and Toby explains why Harry Truman wasn't in the Presidential Odd Fellows episode (hint: he wasn't an Odd Fellow).  The episode gets rolling in earnest with Grand Secretary Justin Bailey, PGM,  of Pennsylvania who shares some of his experiences working with lodges to help save them.  He tells the stories of three different lodges he saved working with the Grand Lodge.  Brother Justin's optimism and can-do attitude have brought a huge amount of success to Pennsylvania.  Along the way we discuss the number of hits the Sovereign Grand Lodge website receives, the benefits of expressing care and concern toward members who don't participate regularly, Thomas Wildey's westward voyage, social media engagement for lodges, and the Keystone Travel Book's amazing journey across the United States from Bethlehem, PA to the Pacific Coast and back.  This episode's Shoutout goes to Riverton Lodge #44 in Wyoming and also to the Grand Lodge of Wyoming for their recent efforts to construct a new website.
An Odd Crossover, Part 2

An Odd Crossover, Part 2

2020-11-2201:05:45

The Crossover Craziness continues with the second half of the crossover episode recorded by the hosts of both Modern Goat Rider and The Three Links Odd Cast.  When the first episode left off, we were discussing membership and some of the challenges of communication across jurisdictional lines.  This episode picks up where that one left off as Sergio was just about to answer a question...
Presidential Odd Fellows

Presidential Odd Fellows

2020-11-1501:31:56

Inspired by current events, Ainslie and Toby are joined by guest host Christopher McHale for a historical overview of Odd Fellows who have served as President, Vice President, or Canadian Prime Minister.  The brothers give some solid historical information on important parts of history like the highly-contested 1876 election and its lasting effects on US politics.  They also throw in some irreverent discussion of things like which president had better facial hair (Chester A. Arthur or Martin Van Buren) or how much value there may be in a bucket of warm piss.  Along they way they give a historical overview of the contributions of Sir John A. Macdonald, Ulysses S. Grant, Schuyler Colfax, Rutherford B. Hayes, Thomas Hendricks, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, John Nance Garner, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Listeners will discover what caused Colfax's fall from grace, how the phrase "fall guy" came about, and the nickname of Vice President Garner.  This episode's Shoutout goes to Washougal Lodge #194 of Washington for their exemplary support of a local domestic violence shelter.
Odd Fellows Cemeteries

Odd Fellows Cemeteries

2020-10-3001:21:10

In this very spooky episode, Sergio and Toby are joined by three members of Crescent City Lodge #73 in New Orleans, Louisiana: Eddie LeBoeuf III, Michael Duplantier, and Emily Ford.  All three share a passion for preserving history.  Emily is a professional cemetery restorationist, Michael has over thirty years' experience with caring for cemeteries in New Orleans, and Eddie is a dedicated Odd Fellow who has made great strides to rebuild Odd Fellowship in Louisiana.  In this episode they share the stories of how they came together to form their lodge, how they use their talents to care for New Orleans' historic cemeteries, some of the challenges of caring for the Odd Fellows' Rest, and some guidelines for any lodge that would like to take on the challenge of cemetery restoration.  Along the way we learn about the massive parade to dedicate the Odd Fellows' Rest, the city's attempt to buy and bulldoze the cemetery, a cautionary tale from the Odd Fellows' cemetery in San Francisco, and what happened to the burial records for their cemetery.
We've been promising an episode about Odd Fellows cemeteries for what seems like forever (but is really only a couple months).  That episode is coming very soon!  In the meantime, enjoy this narration of an account of the first Odd Fellows funeral in North America, as taken from a post on the Heart In Hand Blog from 2017.  If you'd like to check out more posts from the Heart In Hand, you can catch the blog on the web at http://www.oddfellowsguide.com.  In the meantime, stay tuned for the cemetery episode because Halloween will be here before you know it...
Listener Interaction

Listener Interaction

2020-10-2001:04:53

Brother Christopher McHale from Covenant Lodge #6 of Missoula, Montana joins Toby and Sergio as Ainslie is still away on assignment.  He brings his own unique humor and outlook on Odd Fellowship to the podcast as the hosts discuss various listener interactions they've had so far.  The hosts have fielded questions from listeners ranging from how to find lodges to the role of religion in Odd Fellowship.  They share the results of those interactions including how they have helped potential members find lodges close to them, how they have helped members make connections with other member working on the same thing, and how they have used various forms of social media to foster Odd Fellowship.  Sergio talks about creating a Discord server for those looking for more information about Odd Fellowship, Toby talks about using Reddit to help someone locate a lodge, and Christopher shares the story of how looking for a clean bathroom led him to join the lodge.  This episode's Shoutout goes to Canton Northeast #9 of Honesdale, Pennsylvania.
Odd Fellowship And Covid-19

Odd Fellowship And Covid-19

2020-09-2001:02:00

Ainslie, Sergio, and Toby discuss the various effects that the global Covid-19 pandemic is having on Odd Fellowship.  They solicited input from various members around the country including Harrison Moore IV from Texas and Grand Master Mike Zurell from New York.  They discuss the way the pandemic is impacting meetings, finances, and membership with examples from lodges around the country.  As usual, the conversation touches on some unexpected points of interest, from an Odd Fellow skull's appearance in a George Romero film, to the idea of doing degree work outdoors, to Toby trying to score a performance in Pennsylvania.  Sergio introduces his new plan to find pen pals in various lodges as a means to interact with more senior members who don't use computers and Ainslie tells us about his upcoming TV appearance.  All this plus the Shoutout, which goes to Mt. Hor Lodge #736 in Pennsylvania!
The Parcast Network's "Secret Societies" podcast recently did two episodes about the Odd Fellows.  Brothers Ainslie, Sergio, and Toby listened to both episodes and give a good breakdown of them.  They go over each of the points made in the episodes from the accurate, like their depiction of the Initiatory Degree, to the absurd, like their speculation that the Odd Fellows were behind Australia's infamous "Somerton Man/Tamam Shud" case.  They also give a frank assessment of where Odd Fellowship stands today which contrasts quite a bit with the impression left by the "Secret Societies" podcast.  For optimal listening, it's recommended to check out both Odd Fellows episodes of "Secret Societies" before listening to this episode of The Three Links Odd Cast.  This episode also includes the debut of a new feature, the Lodge Shoutout, where the hosts share good news from various lodges.  The first Shoutout goes to a brand new lodge, Family #293 of New Jersey.  There's also a sticker giveaway so be sure to listen to the episode for details.
San Fernando Renaissance

San Fernando Renaissance

2020-08-2301:09:01

Ten years ago San Fernando Lodge #365 was slowly dying like so many other lodges.  Their building was dingy and most people only knew it for the church that met there.  In the decade since, the lodge has completely transformed itself into the social and fraternal hub of San Fernando, California.  Brothers Jesus Ochoa and Jesse Garcia join us to talk about the transformation of their lodge and what they've done to bring it about.  With the right people and the right efforts, any lodge can be reborn just like San Fernando.  Also this episode, Ainslie shares a special gift from the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, Sergio talks about the podcast's new website, and Toby shares the news about new musical arrangements for our beloved odes.
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Comments (2)

Bradyn Harvey

Such a great podcast dedicated to the growth of a great organization!

Dec 18th
Reply

William Sanderson

#oddfellows another strong episode guys!

Sep 7th
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