Mark Twain once said, "reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated." I'm not going to necessarily apply the line to the fate of the Delta Lodge, but after a year or more of hearing from folks that the Lodge was dead, I won't deny that it came to mind today during the organization's National Convention. But more on that in a bit.
Most people know that I spent my first semester of college at SMU in Dallas on account of having aspirations of a career as an attorney (I've since discvored that while I do enjoy the law, law school just wasn't for me). And while I did enjoy my time there, and really I did, about midway through that semester I realized that it just wasn't for me, and that the outrageous tuition was just that. Upon this realization, I made the decision to transfer to the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. and my fate was sealed. And while I enjoyed UNT more than SMU, and the cost was much less, after about a year there I had a fairly limited circle of friends, a failing relationship, and I felt the need to broaden my horizons, to improve my collegiate experience.
I'd considered the fraternities at SMU, and decided they just weren't for me. When I got to Denton I'd heard a great deal about the Delta Lodge, infamous for Fry St. Fair, their toga parties, and their persona as the twin brother of Delta Tau Chi of Animal House fame (which is fictional, for the record). I'd rushed the fraternity a couple of times, but backed out of pledging-the idea of joining a fraternity just didn't seem like a good one. In the fall of 2002 however, at the age of 20, I decided to take the plunge and go for it. I still remember vivdly the day I decided to do it, it was a brother's barbecue (note to those not familiar, Delta is a co-ed fraternity. and yes, that's weird) at the still infamous Fry House, but this was back when the abandoned (and haunted) hospital was across the street instead of the current overpriced apartments (also haunted). I also remember the way the people I know looked at my like I was on fire when I told them I was not only joining a fraternity, but joining the Delta Lodge. But I was stagnating, and it was something I had to do for myself, and so I did it-and after a series of strange events I won't bother recounting because if you lived in Denton in 2002 you probably remember, I became a member. But you see, that's not all I remember.
For while that place brought me a more than moderate amount of weight that could be attributed to excessive beer consumption, or my succubus of an ex-girlfriend, or a broken foot and road rash on account of getting hit by and thrown off of an automobile whilst wearing a bedsheet, at the same time it brought me so much more, and I was reminded of this as I sat there today. Of the confidence in myself I gained, of the maturation in me as a person, of the mastery of beer-die, of the first woman I ever really loved, of the lifetime's worth of great (albeit debaucherous) memories, and most importantly all of the good people and great friends I met. Like most any organization it had it's dead weight, but a few years removed from college I look back at the people I met, many still very good friends today, and I think little but fond thoughts. And even more impressive has been watching us all grow together, from terribly immature and melodramatic college students (you can't fathom the drama, believe me) into strangely drama-free and rational adults. It really does bring a smile to my face, and it also brings me back to where I started.
Considered dead in December of 2007 when the lone chapter was suspended and a buyer was sought for the monstrosity of a house at 1305 West Oak St. in Denton, TX, now a Campus Christian Center, it appears as thought the organization will survive. It seems quite clear that it won't be as a collegiate fraternity (not that the Lodge ever bore more than surface resemblance to a classic Greek fraternity anyway), but instead as a social organization in the vein of the IOOF or Water-Buffaloes. How that organization will be built and how it will function is a subject of debate at this point, but there are many of us to whom it is very dear collaborating on that, and in the end I wrote all that to say this;
If you're a member, and many of my readers are, do yourself a favor and get involved with this. It can be as simple as just registering at the new website or as in depth as getting your proverbial hands dirty and helping to craft a new organization out of the ashes of the old one. Much like with politics, if you don't get involved you forfeit your right to bitch. And to the outsiders whom have in the last year mocked the demise of the Lodge, let me just say that "reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated." Or atleast they might be.
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