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Eamonn

A Clean Sash?

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In my lodge there are some people that believe that a dirty sash is one that shows that the wearer has done a significant amount of work. I can understand this, and as a firefighter we have a few customs similar to this. It's a long held superstition that cleaning one's helmet (except to apply stickers) will bring bad luck. It is also thought that the amount of dirt and grime that has accumulated on one's gear signifies how many fires he or she has been in. And while I do take part in these traditions, I also understand that some of them are not entirely truthful (as is the way with many traditions.) For this reason I understand why some people feel that cleaning a sash is not the proper thing to do. The other side of it is that some people believe that service is not about "...what you have done in the past, but what you are expected to do in the future." That service is not about wearing the sash, but rather about serving others when no one expects you to. So my thoughts on cleaning a sash is that it up the person wearing it, which may be influenced by local custom. But I do not think any less of an arrowman with a clean sash or a dirty one, or without on for that matter, for I believe that premise of the OA is cheerfully serving without being asked or recognized.

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Gee, I wonder. When did this start? When I was lodge adviser (Gajuka 477 - 1981-1983), I remember someone putting someone else down for having a dirty sash, and someone (might even have been me) pointed out that a dirty sash could be considered a badge of honor.

 

I guess I would say that we just need to keep our purpose in mind in wearing the sash. I can see two - representing the order to outsiders and representing it to brothers and especially ordeal members. I believe perhaps different messages need to be sent?

 

And I don't think it needs to be dirty, but it probably needs stains.

 

I like the two sash idea.

 

And just be careful. I had taken a bunch of guys up to Syracuse to a NLS and because they were uniquely crazy, they got to hang out for the weekend with the National Vice Chief Kevin Moll. Lou asked Kevin to sign his sash (knowing he'd have to retire it). A couple of days after we returned home, his mom told him "Who the heck wrote on your sash? I had to wash it five times to get it out!"

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The question was asked a few months back about the embroidery running on the sashes and I haven't seen anyone touch on that.

 

Back in the late 70's early 80's, we would tell folks the same thing - don't wash the sashes because the dye in the embroidery threads would run - we told them this because this was our experience with the sashes at the time - we saw quite a few pink-tinged sashes after they had been run through the wash. I general, embroidery thread is not washed after it has been dyed and will run when washed - for most applications, like patches, this isn't much of a problem, partly because patches don't really use all that much thread of one color and partly because hot water seems to make dye run a bit more than warm water and most embroidered patches are washed in warm water with other colored clothes. Sashes use a lot of one color thread - red - and because they are mostly white, they are usually washed with other white clothes in hot water.

 

Of course, this was the case back in the 70's and 80's - but from what I've seen of newer sashes, they haven't really changed so I imagine it might still hold true today.

 

So how to solve the dirty/clean dilemma? My unit had a tradition of presenting a second sash at the next closest court of honor after the ordeal/brotherhood/vigil ceremony - the first sash was presented by the lodge. One became the "everyday" sash and the other became the "formal" sash.

 

One note of concern though - our lodge never allowed people doing physical labor to wear their sashes while working - the sash was to be folded and looped over the belt - it could still get dirty, but wearing the sash while working was considered potentially dangerous - it is a loose piece of clothing that could easily get caught up in a tool, branch, etc...

 

Calico

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Regarding a clean OA sash.

 

Some may be of the opinion that a clean sash is the sign of an inactive OA member and a dirty sash is a sign of an active member.

 

Hmmm.

 

Would we also assume that a clean Scout uniform shirt is the sign of an inactive member and a dirty Scout uniform shirt is the sign of an active member?

 

My opinion:

 

A Scout is Clean

 

 

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The "bleeding red" worry seems to be holdover from the olden days. Anyone have any current experience with bleeding?

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Well, after being unable to find the wool-lite I ran Nephew's sash thru the laundry, in cold, with the rest of his camp clothes. The red didn't run...but fortunately the mud did come out...so his sash is clean, albeit a bit stained. Perhaps that is the compromise for the Clean vs Dirty - Clean, but with well earned stained...no need to leave caked on mud and...aroma

 

ps - he is the one that asked to have his sashed washed, not the laundress.

YiS

Michelle

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This is what I love about the internet - a two year old thread, resurrected!

 

I recently cleaned a 60's era sash, using Cascade dishwasher detergent directly on a 40 year old spaghetti stain. Rub in, allow to set, rinse, repeat. It eventually came out. Not so for what was identified to me as a chocolate stain, but it did fade to almost imperceptible. I will admit I was very careful not to come anywhere near the red, but the Cascade had to at least touch it at some point, if only during the rinse. No run. This was a request from the owner of the sash, who gave me a really fine cigar in payment!

 

Fast forward to a 2000 era sash, using Woolite (since it wasn't a really bad stain). No run. Used a little bit of dishwasher detergent on a clay spot - really muddy weekend in Eastern Missouri. Almost disappeared, still some in the threads on the edge. Still no run. Request of son 2, who likes a clean sash.

 

Vicki

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