Moving Into A Quieter Time



By Neal Lemery

(published in the Tillamook County Pioneer, March 12, 2020)


            How often do we wonder out loud why life is so hectic, and complain that we don’t have enough time?  Our lives are full of obligations, errands, events, endless demands on our time, and yet we often feel that we don’t tend to the important things in life.  We are bombarded with demands for even more obligations and commitments, and our growing collection of electronics chirp and beep further straining our capacity to manage our lives.

            Do we really want fewer obligations and more time to kick back and enjoy life? I think we do, but we simply haven’t given ourselves permission to do that.

            Well, now we have that opportunity.  If there’s a silver lining in the cloud of the Corona Virus crisis, it is the gift of time and space in our lives.  My calendar is getting cleared as I write this, with almost hourly e-mails announcing cancellations, postponements, and changed plans.  I now have mandates to not be so obligated and committed.

Public health officials and the Governor are taking drastic actions to call us to a simpler, less hectic life.  No large groups, no travel to meetings, fewer social interactions, and a call to spend more time at home. 

            There’s compelling scientific evidence to support these directives.  Yet, this crisis is perhaps a blessing in disguise. The Chinese writing character for crisis contains the character for opportunity.

            My meeting was cancelled for this morning, so I found myself in the garden, with time to contemplate where I’m going to plant my early spring vegetables. I planted some seeds in the greenhouse and began my annual organizing there.  I’d told myself I’d get to that needed project, but I’ve just been “too busy”.  Now, the cleared up calendar is telling me I have the time.

            The “hunker down at home” message is going to allow me the time to tend to my garden, to find a sunny spot and enjoy a cup of tea, and read some of those books that have been piling up on the coffee table. Spring is truly coming and yes, I can even enjoy it.

            I’m going to have fewer hours at my favorite coffee shop, but I can also make time to invite a friend over for coffee and sit out on the deck and enjoy the birds that are arriving at my feeder. I’ll catch up on some correspondence, even getting back into the old yet treasured practice of writing a letter to a friend. 

            We have a month, at least, with legitimate excuses to dial back the pace of life, to take our foot off the gas, and take a breath. I’ll even avoid meetings that, perhaps, weren’t really that essential. I know I’ve been over-obligated, over-involved.  Now, I have an excuse to move into a quieter time. I can still do what I love to do: play my guitar, learn more about playing the banjo and mandolin, doing more in my yard than the most pressing tasks, even having a second cup of coffee on the deck in the morning, and linger over the daily paper. 

            I suspect my friends who are working will enjoy more productivity by working at home, and not having to travel for meetings. Maybe they too can live in quieter times and linger over that second cup of coffee on the deck. Perhaps we’ll be more like Europeans, with shorter work weeks, and more time with friends and family. Let’s give it a try.

            I’m going to connect more with friends and family, too. More listening, more planning a small event where we really have a deep conversation and talk about our lives. Dinner can be more relaxed, and I’ll try to more thoughtful on what I cook and focus on healthier eating.  In all of that, I’ll be in the spirit of our collective effort to deal with this disease, focusing myself on being rested and improving my health, being a responsible citizen in times of crisis. 

            I’ve been yammering for years on the hectic pace of life, whining about how Americans work too much and don’t spend enough time with their family.  Now’s my chance, our chance, to get out of the fast lane, kick life down a few notches, and enjoy a quieter time, a slower pace of life.

            It’s time I practice what I preach and get to really know myself and the people I love.

            After all, it is doctors’ orders.

Jazz, Art, and Jambalaya

A fun evening is in store for jazz, art and Cajun food fans Saturday, November 16, with a jambalaya dinner at 6 p.m..  The famed local jazz band, Jazzatti-tude, will be playing on stage, after a fabulous authentic Jambalaya dinner.  Local artists will be showing and selling their art during the evening.  Dinner is $15, with kids 12 and under $7.50.  Proceeds will benefit the Grange’s restoration.  Tickets available at the door. Music starts at 7. 

Happy news! A grant for better heating and lights!

Today, we received amazing news.  The Tillamook Public Utility District, our  consumer owned public electrical utility, awarded us a Community Service Grant for $5000, to help us begin to upgrade our heating and lighting system, and bring energy efficiency and cost savings to the Fairview Grange.  

The PUD conducted an engineering study for us in November, which demonstrates our need for modern heat pumps and LED lighting, and other electrical needs, and now we can begin to move ahead.  

The new heating and lighting will allow us to make the Grange more comfortable for the community, and all the numerous community events we are now scheduling at the Grange.  And, our finances will improve, due to the efficiencies of the new systems.  

We are very grateful for the PUD for their charity, advice, and community spirit. And, we will apply for other grants and donations, so that we can move ahead with improving the Grange.  

We rejoice that we live in a generous and community-oriented community. Thank you, PUD!


A Busy Spring at the Grange



            Lots of things are happening at the Grange.  Our March open mic and community supper is tonight, March 2, starting at 6.  Soup and salad dinner by donation, and then our monthly open mic happens, with a variety of local poets, story tellers, and musicians. We are family friendly so come on down.


            March 6 the Wilson River High School holds a workshop at the Grange.


            March 10 is the Tillamook High School charity drive celebration, to honor another successful community wide fund raising campaign.


            March 22 is the Serenity Club’s dance, with music by Benny and the Bay City Rockers.


            The Rockers return on Friday, April 5 for a benefit concert for the Fairview Grange, starting at 6:30 p.m.


            And, then, Saturday, April 6 is our monthly Open Mic and Community Supper. 


            The Grange will be featured in the April edition of the Tillamook PUD Ruralite magazine, with stories about our recent activities and plans for the future.


            We’ve also been busy applying for grants, including a revamping of our electrical system and heating with the Tillamook PUD. We’ve also applied for funding for a summer workshop for young musicians on how to perform on stage, and use a sound system.


            We’ll keep you up to date as we move forward, and continue our renovations and improving the Grange, being a good host for a variety of community events and activities.

Holiday Activities at the Grange

December continues to be a busy month at the Grange.

Tuesday, December 4 brought the Tillamook High School choir to the Grange for a special holiday concert.  It was lovely to hear all those young voices bringing holiday cheer.

Friday, December 16 will entice the artist in you to experience a paint night, where you will work under an art teacher to create your very own acrylic painting, and enjoy homemade pie.  “Paint and Pie Night” is a fund raiser for the Tillamook Serenity Club.  All the supplies are provided; just bring your artistic talent.

The Grange will be decorated for the holidays, with live trees, lights, and a Christmas village.

There’s still time to book your Christmas party and other events!

Celebrating November Open Mic



It was a great evening, judging by all comments and participation of the Open Mic crowd at the Fairview Grange.


Our bellies were full of delicious soups and salad, prepared by our cooks and kitchen staff, Michelle Bradley, Karen Keltz, Eric Sappington, and myself.  The Grange was abuzz as Eric kicked off Open Mic with some great guitar music, and many poets shared their writings.


A soft drizzle and then more came down from the sky, but we were having such a great time, we didn’t notice.


A young high school artist displayed her amazing watercolor paintings, and enticed me to take one home with me, a beautiful portrait of a young woman.  We want to see more of her work, as well as the work of other young artists in our community.


The conversations continued, and we were blessed with the piano playing talent of Noreen Flynn, who closed the evening with her magic.


Yes, we all agreed.  This needs to be a monthly event.  So, count on it, folks.  The first Saturday of each month.  Some food, some great music and writing, and a lot of camaraderie and community fun.


And, mark your calendars for our “Reopening the Grange” event Saturday, November 17, from 1 to 3 p.m.  We’ll have snacks and coffee, and will be offering tours of our refurbished grange hall. Learn what we have planned next and how the Grange can be the perfect venue for your next event.  See you then, neighbor!


–Neal Lemery

A New Beginning



It is a new beginning at the Fairview Grange.  This summer has been a whirlwind of renewal. We cleaned, scrubbed, and painted. And, painted some more.  We enjoyed painting so much we invited the Oregon Youth Authority work crew over for six days of scrubbing, scraping, and painting.

The paint recycling project at Tillamook County Solid Waste recycling project brought us a load of five gallon buckets of recycled paint, and we were regulars at the paint departments of local hardware stores. The ReStore store of Habitat for Humanity helped us with “new to us” appliances.  Students from the Wilson River high school helped out, too.

Soon, fresh coats of paint covered the kitchen, the dining hall, and even outside. People driving by honked and gave us the “thumbs up” as we worked.

The performance hall was stripped of old curtains, and old furnishings, and new paint was transforming the stage, and the entire hall glistened with freshness.  The beautiful old maple hardwood floor in the performance hall was cleaned and refurbished, and soon glistened with four coats of tough polyurethane, which will protect and enhance the hall for years to come.  (Though, we promise to keep it cleaned, and to apply a new coat every year!)

The east porch and doors were painted, and so were the bathrooms!  If it didn’t move, it probably got painted.

We spruced up the kitchen, too, adding a new refrigerator and microwave, and a second stove.  We rewired the stove plug ins and now have a nice area set aside for the stoves.

The entrance to the performance hall was cleaned and painted, with some areas getting fresh paint for the first time since the 1940s.

Everything is fresh and clean!

There’s been a few gatherings since all this work has been done, and the public’s response has been enthusiastic and exciting. Once again, the Grange Hall has been filled with community members enjoying a meal together, and listening to local musicians.  This weekend, we are holding our first Open Mic in the refurbished hall, inviting poets, storytellers, and musicians to share their creativity and allow the community to come together and celebrate our culture and our commonality.

We are again open to renting the Grange for weddings, anniversaries, parties, and other community events.  Several youth groups are already coming every week and enjoying the Grange.

On November 17, we are planning a grand “Reopening” party, with food and music and celebrating our community! See you then!

–Neal Lemery 10/4/18

Refurbishing the Grange Hall

It has been busy summer at the Fairview Grange!  We have recommitted ourselves to do some serious cleaning, and freshen the hall up with new paint everywhere!

We’ve made serious headway.  The dining room is freshly painted, as is the kitchen, and much of the dance hall.

The stage has been redecorated and painted.  The piano is on the stage now, and will soon be retuned.  New track lighting has been installed, giving the stage a fresh, bright look.  The proscenium and the backdrop have a new color scheme.

Another change is the entrance to the dance hall which has been completely refurbished and repainted.

As well, the bathrooms have been thoroughly cleaned and new paint is everywhere.

The exterior now boasts a fresh, new paint scheme on the east and south sides.  

As well, the kitchen boasts a second stove and a new refrigerator.  Fresh paint there has brightened the area up.

This fall will bring even more changes, and some additional community events.

Exciting times!

Hello world!

We’re your neighbors

The Grange is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in more than 2,100 hometowns across America. We have nearly 150 years of history, a spirit of grassroots advocacy, and a fraternal spirit that we’re happy to share with you.

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