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September 30, 2008


Nice story, so much local history, you must miss it sometimes, Beth! I stumbled ont the meaning of grange in this context. Is this correct: "(in the U.S.) a farmers' association organized in 1867. The Grange sponsors social activities, community service, and political lobbying." Or is it something related to the church?

:-) glad to hear it. The little quiet stories going on all the time, under the roar of the news.

It's stories like this that ground me in reality when the overwrought abstractions of national economics and election-year politics (ack!) threaten to overwhelm my generally upbeat spirits. I'm an uprooted Yankee myself. Thanks for brightening my morning.

Marja-Leena, that's exactly right - it's the farmer's organization as described in your definition. And like Vermont's farms, the Grange is dying out. It's a very quaint organization, with 19th-century rituals and an emphasis on the home and farm that feels hopelessly old-fashioned to most modern people. But for years and years it was a major aspect of small-town, rural life in New England and across the northeast. Like 4-H, the Grange sponsors competitions at fairs for things like best vegetables and flowers, jams, home-sewing projects, kid's calf-showing, show chickens and rabbits. There's a yearly talent show/competition too, and these things then move up to regional and national levels. Going to the Grange booths at the Vermont State Fair is like stepping back into my own childhood. For several years, L. invited us to judge certain displays so we always went, though we've never been Grange members.

Dale and ps-pirro: yes, that's why the conversation stuck with me and why I wrote it out - I need to be grounded too these days.

Thank you for sharing that lovely story. So New England, so neighbourly, and containing all the elements I cherish about this region.

Thanks, Margaret, and it's good to hear from you! I remember L.'s father, Harry, sitting up on the stage of the local Grange hall, after some meeting, playing his favorite hymn, "How Great Thou Art," on his harmonica - he was very good player. A year or two later he got lung cancer - he'd always smoked, though his wife badgered him about it. They must have both been in their 80s at the time. He came home from the hospital and said he wasn't going to have any treatment, that "when the Lord was ready to come and get him he'd go." He kept right on doing what he'd been doing, for a year or more, and then all at once got sick and died very quickly. My husband was one of the pallbearers at the funeral, at the village church. L. played the old tracker organ. I remember that the mourners filled the church, and that we all sang "How Great Thou Art." The postlude, as they took the body out, was "I'm Just Wild About Harry." Then there was a sit-down reception in the parish hall. It was a real celebration of a long, good, meaningful life -- in true local Vermont style.

spectre is exactly the word for it.

The Grange was a very important part of our little "redneck" village back in the 50's and 60's. There was a Junior Grange that many of us farm kids belonged to and the Grange Hall was the site of lots of community events. Do you remember if you ever came over for the annual Halloween party? It was always the biggest celebration of the year. The whole town turned out in costume for homemade cider and donuts.

Absolutely I remember coming over - I can see the inside of that Grange in my head - and also that you had a pumpkin costume one year!

I didn't know why I had a grinch picture in my head when I saw the word Grange. Then I read marja-leena's comment about grange.
Thank you for sharing a heart warming story.

Although I suspect that Sarah Palin would heartily concur, it has to be said that it's at the level of local community that all things of enduring social, cultural and spiritual value happen. The world is suffering from too much macro and not enough micro.

That's a cheering story!

I found myself curious why he couldn't bear Texas after three days though...

Good story. I'm curious where in Texas he went back to. I grew up in Texas, on the coast, and now live rather near L. I still love Texas, but I am now used to having a lot of undeveloped, wooded land around and that would be very hard to give up.

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