This was our first dictionary day of the season… we still have more kids coming to the Grange Hall and three schools to visit! We’ve given out over 2,500 dictionaries in the sixteen years we’ve been doing this and it’s still one of the most exciting and fun things we do! Yesterday’s event included eighty kids from SeDoMoCha Elementary School. What fun!
The California State Grange, utilizing the National Grange 501(c)(3) Foundation has established the “2017 CA Fires Support Fund” to receive tax-deductible charitable donations. This Grange Charitable Fund will be used to provide support to those affected Members & Community/Pomona Granges having needs created by the wildfires. As of yesterday, no Grange Halls have been lost, but several Grange members have lost their homes.
California State Grange Master Ed Kominski describes one Grange, Redwood Valley Grange as having some “Amazing Patrons” and note the hall has been opened to start serving their community in conjunction with the Mendocino Sheriff’s Department and North Coast Opportunities and Animal Control. Among services being provided:
- The Hall will be open 10-6 every day until not needed and are providing Free Child Care
- Free Professional Crisis Counseling and referrals are available
- Lunch at 12:30 every while there is a community need.
- All day refreshments are available
- Town Meeting will be at the Grange – date TBD
- The hall is a place to come, share, play music, and game tables are available.
All this is being done by Grangers who are having their own personal struggles.
Maine Grangers can help by participating in the California State Grange Fundraiser. Kominski notes, “Support and funds are coming in great numbers. We have seen fantastic support but we need to reach more people.”
The California State Grange, utilizing the National Grange 501(c)(3) Foundation has established the “2017 CA Fires Support Fund” to receive tax-deductible charitable donations. This Grange Charitable Fund will be used to provide support to those affected Members & Community/Pomona Granges having needs created by the wildfires. Every donation of $25 or more will receive a t-shirt in appreciation for the generosity – “California Granges – Moving Together”
Bangor Grange presented Lt. Tim Cotton his Community Citizen Award at our meeting Tuesday. The following is his write-up the next day that he posted on Facebook:
“Sliding my thumb up and down the smudged and scratched glass of my Samsung phone allows a glimpse into the thoughts of my Facebook friends.
Most of my “Facebook friends” are actually my friends. Sure, there are one or two I don’t know very well, but for the most part they are my friends and I would not have added them to my motley crew if I didn’t believe we could talk for twenty minutes or so over a cup of coffee.
Today, one of my friends posted a simple statement; a question actually. “Where have all the good people gone?” I think it’s a question we all have, especially in times like these.
When the news-cycle bores it’s way into our lives like a Black and Decker hammer-drill, it is fairly easy to believe that the world has gone mad. I cannot deny that I believe the exact same thing sometimes. I certainly can’t promise you that tomorrow won’t bring us something worse than our country has experienced this week.
I can tell you that the good people are still here. On Tuesday night I met about 15 of them at the Bangor Grange Hall (#372).
Kindly, the group awarded me with a Community Service honor and plaque. I should note that I have done nothing to deserve such an honor from the Grange members. I should have been there sooner-thanking them. I am such a slacker.
Ann Staples (82 years young) organized a fundraiser for a man who was soon to die. He wanted to make sure his wife had a little something after he passed. The spaghetti dinner at their humble Grange raised over $5000 dollars in one evening. The man died on the night of the fundraiser, but he knew of it’s success before he passed.
Ann was not bragging about pulling it all together, she was telling me about it because she and her fellow Grange members were looking to do a project for our police department causes.
We talked over lasagna, homemade biscuits, beef pie, scalloped potatoes and freshly pressed Maine apple cider. Yes, I had seconds, on simple paper plates and mismatched silverware. Ann also organizes their weekly farmers market and helped local disadvantaged kids plant and care for a garden so they could have fresh vegetables. She has done this for years.
Ann was asking me what I needed while stuffing me with food to prepare me to receive MY award. Are you kidding me?
Grange Master Rolf Staples Sr. told me about the Christmas breakfast Grange #372 puts on for local kids. He told me some of the kids find the thought of a homemade breakfast with sausage, eggs, bacon, and pancakes far more appealing than the gifts they receive. He noted that some of the kids know nothing more than a Pop Tart and can of soda for typical morning nourishment. Who makes the breakfast? The ladies and gents of Grange #372, not me.
94-year old Mary Hunter knits tiny caps for premature infants. She also reminded me that she was at my wedding but that she didn’t dance.
She told me that she recalls my son has the same name as her dear departed husband and that she clearly remembers me changing my son’s name on his birth certificate two days after he was born. It’s true, I did. Purely to make his name roll off my tongue more easily. It’s a long story. Mary remembers. She is a member of Grange #372.
For years Mary and her husband visited area nursing homes with homemade crafts, provided gifts for the kids on the parade route at Hampden Children’s Day and did a myriad of other things for community causes.
There were many others. Some who had been members for a long time and one who had held leadership positions at Grange #372 since the early 1960s. He had cut some firewood that day and told me he loved the fall. I think the gentleman could have made quick work of me in an arm wrestling match, but it was his 82nd birthday so I would expect nothing less.
We stood for the Star Spangled Banner, posted Old Glory, and I was escorted to the podium for the reading of a very nice proclamation.
Each step across the sole-smoothed hardwood floor echoed the footsteps of the benevolent members who danced, wedded, and died here since 1904.
I was humbled with their kindness, uplifted by their hardscrabble homestead farm-raised ghosts. I envisioned the men and wives cleaning their nails and washing behind the kid’s ears for the Saturday night supper and dance.
Where have all the good people gone? I think they are still here.
If you have trouble finding them, put down the phone, lay off the rants, turn off the television, and become one of them. If you need to find an example of such goodness, check your local Grange Hall.
Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another.
We will be here.”
Webmaster Note: “TC” maintains a Facebook Page for the Bangor Maine Police Department with that has “gone viral” and has thousands of followers around the country. You can read TC’s original post on Facebook.
Congratulations, East Sangerville Grange! A recent post on the Maine State Grange Website about the adventures of the “Fighting 177th” was picked up by the National Grange and printed in the current issue of Good Day! the magazine published by National Grange. We can debate whether or not programs like this are traditional but there’s no question they generate excitement in the Grange and the community. So let’s hear a Grange Cheer for this exciting Grange and these exciting Grangers!
Several months ago, a “little birdie” sent me a news tip and a copy of a poem written by Wes Ryder of Danville Junction Grange along with the explanation I might be able to use it on the website since it was about the Grange’s 150th Birthday. I read it and decided not to use it. (Wait for it!)
Instead I forwarded it to National Grange for further consideration. Now we need a Grange Cheer for Wes. His poem is featured as a full page of the current issue (Fall 2017) of “Good Day,” the magazine of the National Grange. This issue is hitting mailboxes all over the country as we speak.
When your copy arrives, tear open the plastic cover and turn immediately to page 20 to enjoy Wes’s ability to turn a phrase and rhyme a word. Then congratulate him by commenting on this post. As a writer and publisher, I can attest to the fact that getting poetry published in a National publication is not an easy achievement. Many try, few succeed. Congratulations, Wes–you’re part of a very elite group and our poet laureate!
To comment and congratulate Wes, click the link in the upper right corner of the post. If possible, shake his hand in person! And remember, we love contributions from local Grangers and Granges.
On September 7th, a joint officer installation for Deering, Oak Hill, Highland Lake and White Rock Granges drew a great crowd of 49 Grangers. This is a very good turnout for Cumberland Pomona. Held at White Rock Grange in Gorham, a wonderful pot luck supper preceded the installation. Vicki Huff’s team performed the ceremony. Four new members of White Rock took their obligation! State Master Rick Grotton was in attendance, assisting the installation team.
Last Saturday night was our beanhole dinner at the Fairview, followed by music by the lake. We served close to 100 beanhole bean enthusiasts yeast rolls, brown bread, cole slaw, blueberry cake, ham, and of course, beans and hot dogs. A Smithfield bargain at $8.00. At 6 p.m. sharp the Snow Pond Pantastics delighted all with their steel drum band music. Nothing more fun than that sound by the water. After a set of “steel” the “regulars” plus or minus, kicked it into gear and played under the lights until about 9:30, extending our 6:00-9:00 Jam Session, as the crowd demanded. Special performances by two young ladies, the first visiting with her grandparents and just nine years old and the latter, a friend and sometimes performer at our Jam, a 12-year-old singer. She sang “Happy Birthday” to our Grange Lecturer, Kevin James… just 39, again this year. At the end of the night, the Fairview Grange had benefitted by about $800.00 which keeps your local Grange open, able to stay relevant in your community, and able to maintain and improve the facility. We appreciate the support of all who attended and especially want to thank those who shopped, cooked, planned, cleaned, prepared, served, baked, lugged tables, built the stage, cut the grass, washed dishes, hauled the trash or in any other way worked to put on the event. It doesn’t happen by itself, so thanks to those Grange members! Also, we should add that it was especially nice to see some of our long time Grange members who have “been there, and done that” support the Fairview by attending. David, Marilyn, Elery, Olive (and young Mr. Bobby Corson) and any others I may have missed. I was busy in the kitchen! Big thanks, Rick “Master” Fairview Grange.
Some exciting news from an exciting Grange…
Maybe, just maybe, we’ve started something! For those who missed it, in my August “Exploring Traditions” Column, I described our experience attending Ceilidhs while on vacation in Nova Scotia and suggested some parallels for our Granges. “Why aren’t we dancing (literally and figuratively) more? Shouldn’t we at least be tapping our toes? It should be hard not to enjoy the Grange Way of Life when you’re sitting in a Grange Hall…”
Well, one Grange has accepted the challenge. If you haven’t seen her comment on the column, Sue Mack of Harrasseket Grange wrote “Excellent column! As a bagpiper and veteran ceilidh-attender myself (both Cape Breton and Scotland), I couldn’t agree more. We’re going to start the proverbial ball rolling next Saturday at our regular bean supper at Harraseeket Grange #9 in Freeport. I will be playing Scottish smallpipes to entertain folks as they wait for their supper to be served (good music, good smells!). I’m also inviting a harper or 2 to join me. How about you? Come join us!”
So let’s congratulate and support them for trying this! It sounds like this could become a regular part of their monthly supper… so there’s great food and more! Remember, a Ceilidh is a “social gathering (often including music, dancing, story, and joke-telling.” Let’s remember that our suppers are more than good food and fundraising… they are an opportunity to create community, have fun, and maybe do some toe-tapping in the process.
A few details: The baked bean supper (and ceilidh) will be served this Saturday, August 26, from 5-6 p.m., at Harraseeket Grange located at 13 Elm Street in Freeport. The all-you-can-eat, homemade menu includes three kinds of homemade beans, hot dogs, pickles, biscuits, brown bread, potato salad, cole slaw, pasta salad, homemade pies, coffee, and beverages. The cost is $9, $4 for kids 6-12 and free for kids under 6.
Somebody take photos and send them… and if your Grange is trying to make your suppers into more than a supper… and make your meetings and events more than just meetings and events, please tell us about it! You can use the “submit” tab on the website or just email the webmaster (attach any photos to the email).
Highland Lake Grange celebrated the 150th Birthday of National Grange with an open house August 13, 2017. Over 25 neighbors joined current and former Grangers to enjoy an afternoon of food, door prizes, birthday cake, tours of the Grange and a local trivia game “Duck Pond Jeopardy” with host “Monty Grange Hall.” Pennies were collected for House in the Woods and several guests left with membership applications….two applications were turned in!