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Eleven O'Clock Toast

Regular meetings of the subordinate Lodges were traditionally held at night. In the earlier days of the Elks, they were usually held on Sunday nights and the meetings often concluded about eleven o'clock. As attendees departed, the brothers made inquiries about absent brothers and expressed concerned interest in the causes of their absence.

 

It became a custom for a member to propose a toast to the brothers who were not able to attend. This custom came to be observed whenever a group of Elks were together at eleven o'clock.  The Grand Lodge formalized this practice and it became  a primary ceremonial observed during Lodge meetings. They designated it as "The Eleven O'clock Toast."  Whenever a Lodge was in session at that hour, the regular order of business was suspended while the Exalted Ruler recited the beautiful ritual, and concluded it with the words: "To our absent Brothers." When women were formally admitted to the Elks, the phrase was changed to "Our Absent Members"

 

The "Eleventh Hour" is historically significant describing a time of night when responsibility for peace and tranquility passed to "official" watchmen, and also in describing a time when important decisions of consequence must be made in haste (at the last minute) to avert tragedy.

 

 

The Eleventh Hour Toast

 

You have heard the tolling of 11 strokes.

 

This is to remind you that with Elks, the hour of 11 has a tender significance.

 

Wherever Elks may roam, whatever their lot in life may be, when this hour tolls upon the dial of night, the great heart of Elkdom swells and throbs.

 

It is the golden hour of recollection, the homecoming of those who wander, the mystic roll call of those who will come no more.

 

Living or dead, an Elk is never forgotten, never forsaken.

 

Morning and noon may pass him by, the light of day sink heedlessly in the West, but ere the shadows of midnight shall fall, the chimes of memory will be pealing forth the friendly message,

 

"To our absent members."

 

 

The Original Jolly Corks Toast

 

 

Now is the hour when Elkdom's tower

is darkened by the shroud of night,

And father time on his silver chime

Tolls off each moment's flight.

 

In Cloistered halls each Elk recalls

His Brothers where'er they be,

And traces their faces to well-known places

In the annals of memory.

 

Whether they stand on a foreign land

Or lie in an earthen bed,

Whether they be on the boundless sea

With the breakers of death ahead.

 

Whate'er their plight on this eerie night

Whate'er their fate may be

Where ever they are be it near or far

They are thinking of you and me.

 

So drink from the fountain of fellowship

To the Brother who clasped your hand

And wrote your worth in the rock of earth

And your faults upon the sand.

 

TO OUR ABSENT BROTHERS

 

 

 

 

The 11 O'Clock Toast

Created and Delivered by Dr. C.H. Harvey of Erie, PA

Lodge No. 67 at a Lodge banquet help 9/8/1896

 

Here! stop that song, look at the clock,

Although it's to our liking;

The joke must wait, ease up the talk,

Eleven o'clock is striking;

Fill glasses for that old-time toast,

We hold above all others,

The one we love to honor most,

"Here's to our absent brothers."

Good fellows all, where are you now?

Who came with cheery greeting,

In other days, and wondered how,

Men thought that life was fleeting;

There's Charlie, brightest of them all,

His face shines in the claret,

He wore a smile to conquer all,

As none but he could wear it.

 

Dear boy! his shadow in the glass,

Shines bright and fair and cheery;

I almost hear the old jest pass,

"Let's drink and all be merry,"

And Jack who died a year ago,

When life was in its summer;

I see him in the shadows now,

A new and loving comer.

 

Dear boys! I know not where you are,

Nor do I care to ponder,

Upon your home in that far land,

Across the fairy yonder;

But yet I know where'er you are,

You'd hurry out of heaven,

To drink this toast with those you love,

When the clock points to eleven.

 

So we who gather 'round the board,

Remember all the others;

Drink deep the toast, without a word,

"Here's to the absent brothers."

 

 

A Toast to Our Absent Brothers

 

My Brothers and Friends:

The hour of eleven has tolled again;

We pause, in our human endeavor

To renew our faith in the friendship of those

Whose virtues stay with us forever.

With hearts full of hope and voices of cheer

For an Elk is never forsaken,

We think kindly thoughts and speak tender words

Of those whose place we have taken.

The hours speed by and the days turn to months.

We cherish this brief retrospection;

The pages of time tell of memories dear

In the book of fond recollection.

Whatever the task, be it large or small

To lighten the burden of others;

Together we'll work and together we'll give

A toast —"To our absent brothers."

 

TO OUR ABSENT BROTHERS

 

 

Eleventh Hour Toast

 

You have listened to the tolling of the eleventh chime,

A reminder our pleasures should cease for a time

In order that those who have finished their score,

May all be brought to mind once more

Wherever our brothers may wander or roam,

On land or sea or their celestial home.

Whatever their lot and life may be,

It is meet with us the surviving to see.

 

That the hour of eleven on the dial of night,

Shall never pass beyond our sight,

Without our hearts to throb and swell

In wishing our absent brothers well.

 

Our golden hour of mutual recollection,

A time devoted to silent reflection

Of the home bound brothers on a distant shore,

And the roll call of those, who will come no more.

 

Regardless of the paths their lives may have taken,

They are never forgotten, never forsaken.

Morning and noon may pass them by,

The light of day fade from the sky,

 

But ere the shadow of midnight shall fall,

The chimes of memory shall summon us all.

To speed them a message above all others,

God grant you peace,

 

TO OUR ABSENT BROTHERS

 

 

A Toast to our Absent Brothers

by Tracy E. Kareha, 1977

 

Tis' the hour of eleven,

throughout Elkdom does it chime.

As we remember our absent brothers,

And their virtues at this time.

One by one they've left us,

To carry on each day.

Even though they've gone now,

They'll help show us the way.

 

While they were here with us,

They served their country well.

They will never be forgotten,

As it makes our heart throb and swell.

 

At the mystic hour of eleven,

We remember the brothers we once knew.

And on their journey through etetnity,

Always thinking of them as we do.

 

So when we hear the tolling,

We very quietly stand.

And remember our absent brothers,

Whom we've walked with hand in hand.

TO OUR ABSENT BROTHERS

Copyright 2012 by Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge #2188