Where Life Intersects Again With Lileks, Again

Yesterday, Lileks’s Bleat included an image of a Modern Woodman lodge in Mineral Well, Texas:

As you might remember, gentle reader, I inherited a box of my grandfather’s old books when my aunt passed away a little over a year ago. They have remained in the box as they include a fourteen volume (plus index) set of The Classics in Greek and Latin from 1909 that I really don’t have shelf space for as a unit. Although I did get the books that I stacked on it during the great ABC Books ordering frenzies during the lockdown of Spring 2020 moved up into the shelves, the box has remained on my office floor the whole thirteen months. And I’ve had to move it around to keep it from the background of video computer calls during that period. The number of which has been increasing as I’ve been interviewing for other work and presumably will continue once I accept an offer since everybody does video calls now.

I recently ordered a small roll of clear book-covering to put over the covers of some of my older works, especially the ones I hope to read some day–I recently covered a nineteenth century collection of poetry with an old paper bag the way we did old text books back in the days when public school kids learnt something instead of playing computer games all day on suddenly imperative expensive school budget line items (get offa my lawn).

So I cracked open this box and contemplated covering these books first and making room for them somewhere on the read shelves, when I discovered that the box also included a 1915 edition of The Official Ritual of the Modern Woodmen:

I don’t think my grandfather was a Woodman; the book itself contains a note indicating the acceptance of the presumed previous (to my grandfather) into the organization into 1891–given this is in a 1915 edition of the ritual, the fellow must have been in it for a couple of decades at least.

Wait a minute–upon further review, the name on the note is a family name, so this came from a relative somewhere along the line, but not my grandfather’s side. So I inherited this book from my grandmother through my aunt.

But, yeah, life intersects with Lileks.

Life, apparently, also intersects with ABC Books, as the book also included a copy of Pope’s poems, Illustrated:

This, although smaller, will go nicely with the Longfellow and Tennyson. I have a couple of reading copies of Pope, some younger only by about 20 years but in better shape for reading, so I will likely shelve it before or after covering it.

I kind of hedged my bets. I ordered 10 yards of covering material from Amazon, where apparently sellers there take an industrial roll of Brodart wrapping and cut it into smaller pieces to sell at a lower price than a whole roll–but the sum of the cut pieces will add up to more than the whole roll, natch. But I’m not sure that 10 yards will cover all the Greek and Latin classics–there are fourteen in all, and I have not done this before, so maybe a yard per book is not so outside my skill level (that is, incompetence).

Maybe I should bit the bullet and buy one or more of the $150 rolls and a roll dispenser or two if I’m going to do this seriously on my collection or just the better bits of it.

More likely, though, I will attempt to cover the Pope and maybe the Woodsmen book and leave the box on my office floor for another year or two and the remainder of the roll on my desk for almost as long. After all, although my life sometimes intersects with Lileks’s Bleats, my habits more often intersect with Andy Rooney’s.

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4 thoughts on “Where Life Intersects Again With Lileks, Again

  1. I’m, technically I guess, a “Modern Woodmen of America”. It’s really just a fancy insurance company, at least now. My grandfather sold policies for them so I and my siblings each got one. I pay the pittance of a premium each year and it grows in value. It’s enough to pay for a funeral and little left over, I guess.

  2. We’re Thrivent “members” so we’re in the same boat. It appears that Fraternal Benefits Organizations are a little different from pure Fraternal Organizations, but looking back at the history of them both as well as other associations, one cannot help but note that people were capable of helping each other before the government started assuming those functions, ainna?

  3. Also, the publication of a hardback copy of the Ritual of initiation (revised four times) indicates they had some sort of fraternal component–the Wikipedia entry mentions the drill teams and some service oriented actions. But I do wonder how much correlation and causation occurs between the government’s expanding role in taking care of the poor, say in the 1930s and the 1960s, and the decline of these organizations.

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