Jan 032018


Community Service Corner

I hope everyone is staying warm and had a wonderful and safe holiday season.  I want to welcome Anne Staples and Holly Welch to the Community Service/Family, Health & Hearing Committee. They will be a great addition.  If you need help in Penobscot Area please feel free to contact Anne Staples, in the Cumberland and Oxford Union Area please contact Holly Welch, in the York County area or anywhere else in the State please feel free to contact me.  Community Service would like to have individuals from several other areas join our team so that we can get the word out in person when needed.  Community Service will be hosting a few workshops over the year in different areas to talk about CS Books, Family, Health & Hearing Contest, “officer” of the year nominations and the Committee itself.  We are hoping to make this an interactive workshop with fun, laughs, and information.  Our first workshop will be held March 24, 2018, in the York County Area at Riverside Grange from 11 am to 1 pm.

Family, Health & Hearing

February is upon us sooner than we think, time to bring February Awareness to your Grange.  February is American Heart Month, National Children’s Dental Health Month, February 13 – 19 is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness and February 14 is National Donor Day.  Please check out the American Heart Website for Little Hats Big Hearts Program.  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Affiliate/Little-Hats-Big-Hearts_UCM_487734_SubHomePage.jsp. Please copy and paste this address into your URL. It will bring you right to the information.  Anyone who knits or crochets can send some to them.  Please take the time to participate. Just be sure to include your Grange and State name when sending them in.  Take a picture and include in your CS Book.

Let’s make a difference one project at a time.

Jan 022018

Christine Hebert1

If you are looking for something to do on these cold days, here’s a fun thing to do, and you could donate them for the BIG “E.” Make some Salt Dough Ornaments.

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • ¾ cup water
  1. Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Add water and mix well.
  2. Knead for 3-5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. It will keep overnight wrapped in plastic wrap.
  3. Shape by hand into figures or roll (with rolling pin) to about ¼” thick and cut out with cookie cutters (“wiggle” cutter for a good cut). If making people use a garlic press to made hair, then glue pieces together with water. Work on a sheet of foil. Lift foil and shape to place on baking sheet. Make a hole for hanging before baking.
  4. There are two ways of drying:

Air dry overnight (or up to several days for larger pieces)

Or with the help of an adult, bake at 225* for 30 minutes to 1½ hours, turning over every 30 minutes. Place on cookie sheet to cool.

Then using whatever colors you have paint them or use markers—use your imagination and be creative.

Call me if you have any questions. (207) 743-5277 I am looking forward to seeing them.


March 31, 2018, is our contest:  Sign-a-Song, Public Speaking or Sign the Alphabet and our annual meeting to follow. It will be held at Highland Lake Grange in Westbrook, ME from 1:00 pm-5:00 pm. Let me know how many of you Junior Grange Members are planning on participating.


Dec 302017

Members of Danville Junction Grange contributed to the annual Salvation Army Project again this year. They came laden down with many unwrapped toys, games, books, and knit goods. Pictured from left to right are Glenys Ryder, Community Service Chair and Envoy Holly Johnson of the Salvation Army.

Dec 282017

Short messages from your Communications Department

Here’s hoping everyone had a great holiday… and you’re now ready for a new year!

For reasons I truly don’t understand, we experienced some email delays over the Christmas Holiday… maybe the email elves were busy wrapping presents or something! I do think we’re caught up now… if you emailed or submitted information/news during the past few days you should have a reply. If not, please let me know!

In an unrelated note, we’ve been experiencing an increase in spam email from “hacked” accounts. Most of these seem to be coming from AOL and Yahoo email addresses… if you use either service for email, you may want to change your password on a regular basis. Also, be alert to the possibility that an email may have the appearance of being from a Granger you know, but that’s not necessarily the case if that person’s email has been hacked. Use caution when replying, forwarding, and especially before clicking a link in an email.

And, while I’m at it… ODD’s (officers, directors, deputies–don’t you just love that acronym?) please remember that the monthly deadline for your posts and Bulletin Columns is the fifteenth. You can submit posts any time and we’ll get them on the site, usually within a day or two at the most. You can actually submit posts more than once per month. However, Bulletin Columns must be submitted by the fifteenth of the month to be included in that month’s issue.

But wait, there’s more! We are gaining new website subscribers every week! Welcome! Now the question is, what news do you have to share with other Grangers around the state? Have you recently had new members join? Were your December events successful? Inquiring minds want to know!

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Dec 282017

The Maine State Grange Youth will meet, 11 am on January 20, 2018, at Camp Dorothy, 2380 Hudson Road, Hudson ME! If you are 14 to 35 years of age, willing to help our committee, or your Grange Youth Liaison….. please join us Saturday, January 20th!

RSVP as lunch will be served. Be sure and let me know if you have any special food request.

This is a very important year for our Youth as we are hosting the 2018 Northeast Grange Youth Conference and we must continue moving forward with our planning.

Dec 192017

The December Issue of the National Grange Patrons Chain Newsletter is now available!

• During season of giving, don’t forget the Grange
• Grange shines at 150th Birthday Gala
• Junior Pen Pal program unveiled
• December merit badge spotlight
• Long-standing partner gets makeover
• Like people, Granges can benefit from ‘preventative health screenings,’ too
• 1 in 1,000 Club of the Grange Foundation
• Lecturer’s round up and preview
• Guidelines for Grange Leaders, a new Supply Store item
• 2018 Quilt Block Contest (Note that detailed information is included: instructions, entry form, etc.!)
• Legislative Fly-In 2018
• Proclaim Grange’s great Legacy in 2018
• Celebration of the National Grange Sesquicentennial Anniversary
• National Grange building fund pledge form

Remember, there is a link on the Program Books and Information Page that will allow you to read the current and back issues of this e-newsletter at any time.

Dec 172017


Well, it’s all over but the celebrating! The legislative bill, LD 725 “An Act To Recognize Local Control Regarding Food Systems,” has been passed by the Maine Legislature and signed into law by the Governor.

What this means is that a local farmer or gardener may sell self-grown food products to local residents without the approval of the state or federal governments. However, meat or poultry must pass the approval of the federal government or its designee.

An ordinance adopted by a municipality pursuant to this section must apply only to food or food products that are grown, produced or processed by individuals within that municipality who sell directly to consumers. Any food or food products grown, produced or processed in the municipality needs no federal oversight.

There’s only one catch. This law requires an ordinance adopted by a municipality which will apply only to food or food products grown or processed in the municipality by individuals who sell directly to local consumers.

Any food or food products grown, produced or processed in the municipality intended for wholesale or retail distribution outside of the municipality must be grown, produced or processed in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations.

So, fellow Grangers, go forth and grow your food products without fear of the federal government coming along to slap you in irons only because you’re selling your pride and joy to your neighbors.


Dec 152017

A mug WB

Several years ago, I posted a “Merry Christmas” message on our website for Christmas. I was gently and graciously taken to task by a member who noted not all members celebrated Christmas—he himself was Jewish. I truly appreciated his thoughts and am happy to report that we enjoyed a rather pleasant email dialog for a while, discussing some of the membership challenges Granges face and how “open” our organization truly is to different persuasions and perspectives.

The following year I remembered that discussion and posted a more generic “Seasons Greetings” message on the website. I was less gently taken to task for not acknowledging the Christmas Season. I was tempted to conclude that I can’t win—except for the fact I did have the pleasant experience the year prior. As I recall, after agonizing and soliciting ideas, I didn’t post anything next year. (The “Charlie Brown” problem-solving bias is, “There is no problem so big it can’t be run away from!”) That didn’t seem quite right either, but either no one noticed, or no one was upset by it. Phew!

Communication is an art and science. Effective communication also isn’t easy. We should choose our words carefully. But we are still a bit at the mercy of the listener’s perspective. Two young friends of ours demonstrated that while on a road trip. They decided to sing songs to us and took turns choosing what to sing.

At one point, the younger objected to her sister’s song choice. “We can’t sing that song—it has inappropriate words in it.” A thoughtful silence followed until the older girl replied, “It’s okay to sing that song because we don’t know what the inappropriate words mean.” The younger didn’t buy the rationalization, in part because she suspected we adults in the front seat (who were stifling laughter) would know what they meant and find them objectionable. When you think about it, there were some genuine insights into the art and science of communication discovered that day.

The older girl was focused on intent—her intent was to entertain us, not to upset us. The younger at some level understood Marshall McLuhan’s observation that the medium influences how the message is received. While we most often think of the “medium” as the delivery vehicle (television, social media, etc.) the medium certainly includes the language and words used.

A non-Granger once provided me with an interesting example. She said that her sense was Grange Meetings were for members, but Grange Programs were for anyone. I hadn’t thought about it before, but that actually makes some sense. The medium is the message!

On another occasion, we had a bunch of third graders at the Grange Hall for Dictionary Day. I’m careful with vocabulary but somehow accidentally used the term “deputy” when answering a question about how the Grange works. The very sincere follow-up question to my answer was “Do the deputies have badges and do they have to carry a gun?”

We certainly would do well to consider what is appropriate and what is inappropriate, remembering that the answers are not always black and white. In some communication circles it’s said, “Words do not have meaning, people give meaning to the words.”

There are people who would be happy to come to a Grange program, but they would not feel welcome at a meeting. The dictionary tells us that a “deputy” is someone “appointed as a substitute with the power to act.” (Merriam Webster) But a lot of people think of a deputy sheriff—an enforcer—instead of a deputy director. Conversely, while I’m happy to be a substitute teacher, I am not a deputy teacher.

We just need to think when we communicate, remembering that communication is giving and getting. Sometimes that means going beneath the words to get to the meaning. As a speaker, I’ll try to describe what’s going on at the Grange Hall as a program. But if I forget and call it a meeting, please know that I don’t mean you aren’t invited. Let’s not listen to reply; let’s listen to understand. Let’s not speak to be heard; let’s speak to be understood.

“You can talk with someone for years, every day, and still, it won’t mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for forever…. connections are made with the heart, not the tongue.”

― C. JoyBell C.

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Dec 152017


May your Christmas be merry and your New Year be all that you want it to be.

This year I am encouraging all members to participate in at least one of the state lecturer’s contests. In fact, I would like to see entries double in all of the contests. These contests are not just for Subordinate and Pomona lecturers, but for all members, even those who are unable to attend because of health or those who have moved out of the area. If you have not seen the new Lecturer’s Program Guide, ask your current lecturer or check them out in the lecturer’s section under the program books & information tab on the Maine State Grange website. I hope to see your name on at least one entry this year!

2017 – 2018 Lecturer’s Program Guide,

Dec 142017


This month’s offering may at first appear a bit “off track,” but it is about tradition… it’s actually a column I wrote for my “Brain Leaks” website. I decided to adapt and share it here partly because I learned this lesson at a Grange Pomona Meeting and partly because I think when we look at the Grange and its rituals and traditions, it’s similarly true: We get the Grange we deserve.

At our elementary school’s Holiday Concert, one kindergartener was completely dressed in a Santa Suit! I couldn’t resist looking totally shocked and saying to him, “Omigosh, I didn’t realize Santa was going to be here!”

He smiled at me, placed his hands on his little padded belly and said quite seriously, “Mr. Boomsma, what would you like for Christmas?” A few hours later I realized how important his question was.

Following the concert, I attended our Piscataquis Pomona Meeting where Pomona Lecturer Dave Pearson introduced us to a Christmas Song I’d never heard before. I’m not sure how I missed this song–it was written in 1974 by Greg Lake as a protest against the commercialization of Christmas. The song has an interesting history, but it has an even more interesting closing line:

“We get the Christmas we deserve…”

That’s something to think about. We are, unfortunately, a culture of fault-finders and that makes us often feel victimized. We complain about how commercial Christmas has become… object to the costs and the endless attempts at political correctness. We remember fondly the Christmases of yesteryear and whine, “It’s not like it used to be.”

Lake wrote the song in part because, as he described it, “Christmas was a time of family warmth and love. There was a feeling of forgiveness, acceptance.  And I do believe in Father Christmas.”

So maybe we need to focus on what we believe in and then ask ourselves “What am I contributing to the season and what do I want from it?” Once we’ve wrapped our heads (and hearts) around that we can create the activities that contribute to that meaning and focus on those. What do you want for Christmas? How are you going to get it?

Christmas isn’t something that happens to us.  We get the Christmas we deserve.

The Grange Way: in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, freedom; in all things charity.


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Any degree or ritual quotations are from the forty-sixth edition of the 2013 Subordinate Grange Manual. The views and opinions expressed in “Exploring Traditions” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official doctrine and policy of the Grange.