Lost and Found

EarringWe have recovered an earring… it appears to have been in with the hand towels that we brought home to launder following the Harvest Festival. We therefore suspect it belongs to one of our volunteers for the evening… if you think it’s yours, give Walter a call at 343-1842 or send an email and we’ll figure out how to get it back to you!

December 2013 Health Beat

Karen’s Kolumn is usually written by Karen Dolley, R.N. and Grange Friend… we appreciate her knowledge and her willingness to share! Due to extra demands at work, Karen is on a bit of a “Sabbatical” and this month’s column is written by Walter Boomsma.

When Karen and I discussed Health Beat for the holidays I mentioned that I might do something on the topic of “depression” — a topic we both agreed is timely for the holiday season. In some ways it seems incongruous–this is a meaningful, warm and charitable time of year. One would think festive moods would be the order of the day. And yet, for many different reasons many people get a version of the “holiday blues” or find themselves feeling depressed.  

So for this month’s Health Beat I’m going to ask you to visit my website and read the post, “Helping With Boots.” It’s a job I often have at  school when I substitute in the lower grades. I don’t want to give away the ending, but suffice it to say that I think we can learn a lot about the holiday blues, depression, SAD (seasonal affective disorder), PMS–all of those moments in life when we think we are “less” but we are really just being human–by thinking about the reality that there are times when we all could use a hand–holiday season or not.

Whether you need some help or are asked to give it, you might think about the reality that boots do not always go on easy, zippers some times break, and mittens can be tricky. When it happens we can feel frustrated, but the struggle doesn’t define us any more than a festive season means we have to be happy. “We’re people, and we have problems. We’re not perfect, and that’s okay.”

Of course I hope your holidays are happy… but perhaps a better wish is that your holidays be meaningful because that covers the range of emotion available to us as imperfect human beings living in an imperfect world. And if you are having trouble with your boots, find someone who’ll say “that’s okay” and then help you get them on.


Meat or Heat Raffle Winners

With a resounding Grange thanks to our ticket sellers and buyers, we are pleased to announce this year’s winners!

First Place $100 meat or heat: Garwood Howell

Second Place $50 meat or heat: Lois Prescott

Third Place $25 meat or heat: Bruce Chamberland

Auction helper Hailee (sorry if that's not spelled correctly) enjoys her reward.

Auction helper Hailee (sorry if that’s not spelled correctly) enjoys her reward.

This year’s top ticket sellers included Roger and Judy Ricker, Janice Boomsma and Pat Engstrom, and Betty VanDyke and her granddaughter Roxanne. Thanks for your efforts!

Winners were drawn during intermission  and following our auction of “leftovers” from our Harvest Festival dinner. Auction helper Hailee still had energy left to draw the winning tickets. In appreciation for all her help, she was rewarded with a dictionary–made possible by your support of Valley Grange and our raffle. We caught her looking up words during the second half of the program!

And a special thanks to McKusick Petroleum and Will’s Shop and Save for prize contributions.

Valley Grange appreciates the support we receive from our communities… thanks for making programs like Words for Thirds and Bookworming possible. Collaborations like our recent Harvest Festival to help Piscataquis Santa… our annual Community Citizen Award presentation, Newspapers in Education, and GrowMe are all made possible thanks to you!

Here We Come, Santa!


Just a few of Santa’s Helpers… Squash Secateurs really had their work cut out for them… no pun intended!

By Walter Boomsma

With a hearty “Ho! Ho! Ho!” lots of Santa helpers got together for a Harvest Festival to benefit the Piscataquis Santa Fund! The night may have been cold, but the warmth of community (not to mention all the steam from cooking) sure created a snuggly night!

Led by Chief Cook and organizer Sheree Brown, Santa’s kitchen workers put on yet another incredible meal! These meals have been so popular we’re creating a mailing list so folks can be assured they won’t miss one! (We’ll have both email and post card versions available… more to come about that!)

One diner tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You know what’s really nice about these meals?” He didn’t wait for me to answer before he added, “Seeing all these kids actually working!” (He was one of the first to ask to be on our mailing list, so we’re going to try not to disappoint him next time! Truth be told, I hadn’t noticed that the majority of our hard workers were young people! I did notice, however that there was always someone willing to work whether it was peeling squash, carving ham, or setting up very cold metal chairs upstairs.

Barbara never misses one of these... and I think she waved to make sure we noticed!

Barbara never misses one of these… and I think she waved to make sure we noticed!

People were quick to line up and harvest a plate full from the serving line but just about everyone left some room for apple crisp. In fact, we were fortunate to have a few “leftovers” but only until the band took intermission and we had an impromptu auction. We sold everything that was left–there wasn’t so much as a crumb remaining! And we raised yet another $58 for Santa in the process. How can you go wrong when you have this combination… great food, a fantastic cause, generous folks, hardworking volunteers…

But wait, there’s even more! There was lots of toe tapping and swaying to the music as the Friends Band including Kathy & Buzz Vanadestine, John Whitman, Gary Knowles, Cornell & Judy McLellan entertained us with some old favorites and some pretty bad jokes! (Do you know what Adam said to Eve in the Garden of Eden the day before Christmas? “Merry Christmas, Eve!”) Ba-da-boom. But you know you laughed.

While we didn’t give a prize for folks who traveled the longest distance, we were really pleased to have the Maine State Grange Master (president) join us all the way from South Portland. And while we consider Vicki a “dignitary,” she didn’t come as one. She came as a supporter both of Piscataquis Santa and Valley Grange. In fact, she sold one of the winning Meat or Heat Raffle Tickets!

We did have some questions about how Valley Grange and these events supports the Piscataquis Santa Fund. There are, as many know, sponsors grouped basically by school districts with Piscataquis Santa serving as an umbrella. Each of those districts is basically responsible for raising funds for their individual program, but one of the real benefits of the fund is the pooling of resources.  Valley Grange has members from “Monson to Millinocket”–therefore when we started these collaborative efforts, we determined that we would raise money under the “umbrella” and not specifically for any one district. In this way, if there is a particular need or shortage in one district, Penquis has the funds to meet that need.

Every year we get a few calls from people who’ve benefited from Piscataquis Santa in the past… they beg to volunteer to help because they fully appreciate the value of this program. Yes, it’s important to “pay it forward,” but in this way, it’s possible to “help pay back.” The generosity we experience from businesses and individuals is heartwarming and rewarding. Thank you, one and all!

The Friends Band donated their time and talent... thank you!

The Friends Band donated their time and talent… thank you!

Thank you, Valley Grange!

Photo by Bob Carroll

Photo by Mr. Carroll

Here’s a sampling of some thank you notes we’ve received from third graders…

Thanks VERY VERY much for the dictionaries. I love them. I used them for hard words and to spell words that is all I use them for. I do not play with them because I do not want it to end up like my brothers dictionary. Once again thank you.

Hmmm… what do you suppose happened to brother’s?

Thanks for the dictionary and thank Miss Mary and Captain Battick for telling me about the Civil War and about how they used to wear back then and the whistle and sword that you showed to us at the Grange.

Thank you for the dictionaries that must be hard to get the money to get all those dictionaries. That house that place is cool. I wonder why can they not show their elbows. Please write back.

Miss Mary explained to the children that showing your ankles and elbows was considered very bad in the Civil War Era. I guess by today’s standards one would wonder…

Photo by Mr. Boomsma

Photo by Mr. Boomsma

The dictionaries are working well for our class. We’re using them to spell check and spell words as well. We’re using them to find what they mean. It is fun using them. The whole class is using them. Tell your Civil War Friends thanks for coming and telling us about the… But even in this letter I used the dictionaries.

Thank you so much for the student dictionary. My favorite part was learning about farming and what tools they used. I learned many things. One is learning about the Civil War. Another thing was learning about you people at the Grange. and I wanted to know if you guys have lots of fun. Hey, Mr. Boomsma, did you know that I used to go to Guilford and I read with you. Again, thank you very much.

How cool is it that this young lady remembers reading with me last year!? It’s awesome to hear things like this and realize how much our efforts mean to these kids!

Thank you for the dictionary… if you’re wondering who (name) is, she was the girl with a bunch of braids in her hair!

I don’t know why, but this one cracks me up. Remember me?!

Thank you for the dictionary. I have never ever had a dictionary in my life and I’m really glad to have one.

Thank you for the dictionaries. We all like the dictionaries. At my house I put my dictionary on my dresser so my dog can not get it. I use my dictionary a lot.

It was bad enough that we used to use the excuse “the dog ate my homework…” but the dog ate my dictionary?

Thank you so much for the dictionaries. I love the different stuff that is in them like the sign language. I’m going to use my dictionary every time I get stuck on a word or I don’t know how to spell. I’ll keep my dictionary sometimes in my desk and at home just in case. I learned a lot about the navy officer, my favorite part was the whistle even though it was a little loud. But I still loved going there.

Photo by Mr. Carrol featuring Miss Mary and Mrs. Lander handing out dictionaires.

Photo by Mr. Carroll featuring Miss Mary and Mrs. Lander handing out dictionaires.

Home on the Grange – Part One

In case you missed the live broadcast… here’s a link to the feature story by Joy Hollowell, WABI TV 5:

Home on the Grange (Part One)

Home on the Grange (Part Two)