Busy Grangers and Grange Friends Visited by Grange Angel

In our last Valley Grange Gram, we noted that folks should “not clip their fingernails” before our October Meeting because we would be peeling and sticking labels into over two hundred dictionaries and sorting and preparing knitted hats and mittens for distributions to local schools. Well, an anonymous “Grange Angel” snuck into our hall and had everything finished for us! A handwritten note proclaimed, “glad to help in some small way.”

We do have our suspicions regarding the identity of our angel, but we’ll protect her identity and simply say, “Thank you!”

Anyway, as a result we were able to bag up hats and mittens and are now ready to begin scheduling “Dictionary Days” around the area. For those unfamiliar, on Dictionary Day Valley Grange provides third grade students with their own personal dictionary at Piscataquis Community Elementary School, in Guilford SeDoMoCha Elementary in Dover Foxcroft, Harmony Elementary, Brownville Elementary, and Ridgeview Elementary in Dexter. Thanks to our Blistered Finger Knitters we also provide a bag of mittens and hats–usually entrusted to the school nurse– for use with students in need.

Walter Boomsma, Valley Grange Program Director, noted that distribution “may be a little different this year.” Historically Grangers have made person visits to schools and, in some cases, third graders have made field trips to visit to the Grange Hall on Guilford Center Road. “We’re still working with the schools on some ideas,” he noted. “At a minimum, we’ll provide a prerecorded video explaining how we hope the kids will use their dictionaries. We’ll also explore the idea of a ‘virtual’ classroom visit.”

Folks in the area who might like to become an angel have a number of opportunities that don’t necessarily involve sneaking into the Grange Hall, according to Mary Annis, Community Service Director. “We definitely can use more knitters… this is not a one time need–we often get requests for more mittens and hats as the winter lingers on. Yarn donations are also helpful and we can often supply yarn to our knitters.”

Prospective Community Angels can get their wings by contacting any member of Valley Grange or attending a meeting. “COVID has changed some things but it is not going to stop us,” Boomsma noted. “We are always looking for opportunities to serve and strengthen our communities. And that means we are always looking for like-minded folks of all ages. Let’s fly together!

For information about future projects and meetings, visit the Valley Grange Website at http://valleygrange.com or their Facebook Page.

A Chat with Vicki and Walter

Is it really possible to attend a meeting without being there?

Past State Master and Maine State Grange Treasurer Vicki Huff chats with Piscataquis Pomona Overseer Walter Boomsma

As many know, Vicki was greatly disappointed when she had to cancel her plans to attend our Pomona Picnic. While discussing that, we came up with the idea she could at least share some thoughts with us “virtually.” We always enjoy Vicki’s laugh and positivity! Of course, this isn’t quite the same but it was fun to reminisce and share thoughts and ideas.

June Meeting Notes

We had our annual election of officers… the site has been updated but there weren’t many changes! Amy Larrabee was elected Ceres, Kevin Annis was elected Steward, and Janice Boomsma was elected to the Executive Committee. Kevin Annis was appointed Membership Director. You can check out a list of leadership positions and responsibilities here!

Pat Engstrom reported that she delivered 21 Linus Blankets–work resulting from our “Blanketeering” event back in April and several individuals who’ve been working on them sense. Thanks to Pat’s “blistered fingers” we are also delivering three lap robes to the CHCS Hospice Program. Walter admits he’s become a big advocate of the program, particularly the service they are providing veterans. Lap robes (afghans) and quilts are needed! If you’d like to help, contact Pat or Walter!

As a reminder, we substitute the Piscataquis Pomona Picnic Fun and Fundraiser for our July meeting. It is scheduled for July 13, 2021 at the Boomsma Abode! For more information, contact Janice or Walter.

We also voted our annual donation to House in the Woods and Home for Little Wanderers from the CWA Fund.

While it presents some challenges, we also agreed that we will create a fair display this year–both for Valley Grange and for Piscataquis Pomona. We need ideas for the Valley Grange display—and willing workers for setting up (August 25, 2021) and tearing down (August 29, 2021). Mary and Janice will be organizing, please let them know you are willing to help!

Help is one thing we always can use more of! And members! For various reasons, we recently lost several and we truly need to consider a “membership drive” of some sort. Joining Valley Grange is not difficult or expensive. Just ask any member!

As things return to “normal,” we are looking forward to gearing up more of our traditional programming such as Bookworming, GrowME… our community celebrations… and we hope you’ll want to be part of it!

Valley Grange Honors Hundreds

For those who cannot be with us tonight (we’d hope to livestream our meeting, but that just wasn’t feasible), here’s an announcement and explanation of who and why we chose as “Community Citizen of the Year.”

Community Night…

We’ve always loved filling the Grange Hall in May and making the rafters ring when we all sing together! That usually happens after a huge community potluck supper with all sorts of dining delights! We missed last year because we were at the height of the pandemic. We’d hoped… but we’re not too disappointed that we won’t be doing exactly that this year. We’re not sure this will be better, but it will be different!

For those unfamiliar, every year in May we celebrate out communities and that includes honoring a “Community Citizen of the Year.” Well, we’re not doing the usual this year in more ways than one. This year we are honoring, literally, hundreds of community citizens–people who have had their boots on the ground and deserve recognition for service to our citizens and our communities. We may regret that we can’t come together and do this in person, but we’re thrilled to recognize these deserving folks and even more thrilled to report some of their many accomplishments.

Another annual tradition is the recognition of our long term members and we will be doing that as well, so keep an eye on our website and Facebook Page. If you have any questions, please let us know!

Maine State Granger of the Year

Mary Annis, Valley Grange Secretary, read the following letter to members at the January Meeting.

Dear Valley Grange Members,

Three years ago the Maine State Grange Community Service Committee added a new contest of “Community Granger of the Year.”

This Granger needed to display an attitude worthy of a Granger and take pride and joy in Community Service.

It was with great honor that this year’s winner came from Valley Grange and it was also very pleasing to me personally.

This gentleman has gone above and beyond for the Grange and he proves it everyday between Valley Community Service and state website obligations. At this point you all know who won the award but let me tell you with this was such a joy for me.

Walter has personally helped me for the last 6 years with my Community Service Book packets, columns, announcements, and downright support. He has been there to just give me an encouraging should to rely on when needed.

Walter has helped this committee and myself move forward and keep going even when we have been at our wit’s end.

Failure, quitting, or just stopping is something this man has never done no matter how discouraged I have been, he has helped me to get back on my game.

I truly wish there had been a State Session this year because I truly wanted more pomp and circumstance with this win. That was not an option this year, so I personally wanted Valley Grange to know my feelings on this award.

Walter, thank you from the bottom of my feet to the tip of my head. Just always know you are making a difference one word (key stoke or message) at a time.

Fraternally and with much love!

Christine Corliss, Director
Maine State Grange Community Service &
Family Health and Hearing

Original Letter is available here.

December Meeting Changes!

Friday Meeting will now take place on Thursday in conjunction with Piscataquis Pomona Meeting

After careful consideration, we’ve decided to combine the Valley Grange “Breakfast for Supper” with the Piscataquis Pomona Meeting on Thursday, December 3, 2020! That means our supper Thursday night at 6 p.m. won’t be the traditional Pomona Potluck… but folks are encouraged to bring a breakfast-type dish to share. Walter will provide his classic “Apple French Toast” casserole… Bill says he’ll bring beans, they’re for breakfast too… Mary’s makin’ bacon! Questions regarding the meal are welcome!

We are scaling back a bit… which means we’ll eliminate the optional gift exchange usually held during the December Pomona Meeting–these are challenging times, and we’re trying to simplify! We also won’t be collecting items for a food cupboard, instead, we’ll consider cash donations to a food cupboard or the Parkman Grange SAD 4 Santa Project.

One activity we’ll be looking for some help with is labeling dictionaries! It looks like we’ll just be dropping off the dictionaries this year. I did manage an in-person presentation at PCES but that will probably be the only exception.

To further clarify, we’re talking about Thursday, December 3rd… Breakfast for Supper at 6 pm, primarily the responsibility of Valley Grange… the meeting at 7 pm will be a Piscataquis Pomona Meeting and we’re hoping Pomona Lecturer Dave Pearson will regale us with an appropriate “Lecturer’s Program.”  And this takes place at Valley Grange. Frankly, we don’t expect a crowd so we should be able to respect physical distancing… bring your facemasks. We’re Grangers; we can make this work!

November Meeting

Not to put too fine a point on it… but the meeting scheduled for Friday, November 18, 2020 has either been canceled or postponed–you can decide. The short explanation is that our December meeting is coming up quickly–Friday, December 4, 2020 and we’ve decided not to meet this month in anticipation of that! Any questions or concern contact Master Jim Annis or Program Director Walter Boomsma.

Guilford Historical Society Harvest Festival Returns

by Janie Lander

While our lives have changed dramatically during the past six months or so and many folks are still self-quarantining or at least have remained cooped up for far too long, the Guilford Historical Society has planned to hold their annual event to break the monotony! As all activities are to be held out of doors, we feel a safe gathering time can be enjoyed by all. We will ,have masks and sanitizer available, the servers at the hot dog and popcorn stands will be masked and gloved, and the Bounce House will be continually re-sanitized with limited numbers at one time.

We are having a CrEaTiVe Mask Competition too! Create a mask, take a selfie (or have someone take a picture of you in your new creation) and send it to Janie at jknee@myfairpoint.net by Sept. 24. Include your contact information please as there will be prizes for the most original, the funniest and the prettiest. Photos will be on display at the Festival on Saturday, Sept. 26 with attendees judging the masked competitors! Make sure to send your friends and relatives to vote for you!

Get out of the house and come have some fun!!

The Cemetery Tour will be held at the Lawn Cemetery on the left side of Route 15 (Elm Street) heading west at 6:30 pm and will include the mystery of the lost cremains!

Thanks to the Red Maple Inn for providing the Bounce House and Live Music and to the Town of Guilford for providing the masks and sanitizer!

August Meeting…

After some pondering, musing, thinking, contemplating, and deliberating, we’ve determined we will have a short meeting on Friday, August 21, starting at 7:00 p.m. No potluck supper. Maybe we can go for ice cream after!

We do have some business to conduct, including a brief discussion of Words for Thirds and approval of the dictionary order. We also may have a group using the hall on Saturday, so we’ll want to do some quick cleaning and straightening of the dining room. Probably no heavy lifting, just sweeping, dusting, wiping things down, etc. If you’re feeling energetic, come early! Thanks for helping Valley Grange stay open and relevant… hope to see you then!