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​Happy Spring!

As I write this article, we have just had our biggest snowfall of the year, and schools are all closed in our area, so it is a little hard to focus on the coming of Spring! However, the sun is shining bright, and that helps get me in the focus of the coming season.

We are finally getting the COVID-19 vaccine distributed and given, so there is certainly hope for 2021 to be a different kind of year than 2020, and I suspect this year that our view of Spring will be much more filled with hope than last year when the COVID pandemic was just beginning to hit, and with it lots of uncertainty. I hope that many of you will have already taken advantage of the vaccine that is being given and that others will take advantage as soon as vaccine is available. I felt a sense of relief after receiving my second shot, although know that vigilance is still necessary for us to get to herd immunity. It does feel like we are turning a corner to new possibilities in many areas of our lives. On the plus side, the pandemic has provided a time of innovation, reflection, and motivation to do things different ways. Indeed, a lot of learning about how we can do things differently has occurred in many areas. 

In a recent edition of the National Grange “Patrons Chain” was a new idea that was called a “Grange Program Idea”. It can be done as part of an in-person or virtual meeting, or individually. Their description: “The National Grange Communications and Membership Departments have teamed with the Grange Youth and Junior Grange departments to create a program called “Love Letters to the Future of the Grange.” Notes will be collected and saved in a time capsule. Select notes will be released every few years, and all contents will be fully released in 2050. At an upcoming meeting, encourage every member to write a short note or letter to those who will be Grange members in 2050. Take time to talk about what your hopes are for the Grange of the future and what you’d like them to know about your Grange experience that will make them fall in love with the organization. The deadline to have your notes included in the time capsule is the 155th Annual Convention in November, 2021. All notes should be sent to: National Grange, 1616 H St. NW, Washington, DC 20006, ATTN: Amanda, or email to .” Although not discussed yet in Michigan, it is possible that we will generate some of these notes at our State Convention in October.

There are a lot of holidays in March and April, so along with the happiness of Spring’s arrival is the arrival of some well-known holidays, and a few others I learned about.

March special dates include: March 14 when Daylight Savings time begins, St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, May 20 is the first day of Spring, and Holy Week (Christian) and Passover (Jewish) begins March 28. On the less well-known side is March 9 – National Get Over It Day, the week of March 7-13 is National Procrastination Week, March 14 – National Pi Day, and March 15 – National Napping Day.

April holidays include April 1 as April Fool’s Day, Easter and the end of Passover on April 4, and April 13 is the first day of Ramadan (Muslim). Additional holidays in April include April 2 as National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, April 17 is National Ellis Island Family History Day, and April 27 is National Tell a Story Day. 

​Happy New Year!

Like everyone else, I am looking forward to 2021 being a year somewhat different than 2020. January is typically a time to look forward to the coming year, but this year even more so. The Program Book is included in this edition of Michigan Grange News, and I will be highlighting different portions of the Lecturer’s program as the year evolves. I hope that you will look at some of the changes. I have tried to simplify a couple things this year, as well as add a couple different approaches. Check it out!

Before we move on to 2021, I would like to report that Kathryn Hsu-Bishop won first place in the National Grange 2020 Virtual Photography Contest in the Scenes Division. She will receive a ribbon and a $50 check. This contest evolved as a result of the COVID Pandemic. This National Grange contest will continue in 2021, and I have included the National Grange categories in our Michigan photography contest. Each person entering may submit up to three photos in the National Grange contest with an online form at the nationalgrange.org website. At least five additional people in Michigan submitted entries this year. I hope that more persons will enter in 2021.

Before the pandemic, one would hear people complain about not having enough time to do things. With the pandemic, there has been somewhat of a reversal where people have had more time and needed to adjust to that new scenario. It seems to me that perhaps the pandemic has helped each one of us to adjust to some new ways of viewing what is important for us to spend time on. Since many of us will not be receiving the vaccine right away, January might be a great time to brainstorm for ourselves what kinds of things we would like to accomplish in the coming year – first just generally, and then maybe more specifically as we think this through. You might want to list general areas like family, organizations, personal accomplishments, and…. Then, under each of those areas what are some specific goals.

If the pandemic has made some old things you used to spend time on become less important in your life, make sure your plans for the coming year are not just mirror images of 2019. Some people like lots of detail in planning, while others like “general ideas” – whatever works for you is good. I do believe that once you have your list, it is helpful to add some possible timelines to when you plan your accomplishments to occur. Some might be regular daily, weekly, or monthly happenings, while others might be a month you would like to have completed something. I have found that setting specific timeframes helps me accomplish more.

A word about the Lecturer’s Program Book items. I suspect some wonder what is included as a “three-dimensional art object” in the art contest. This is stated this way to be very general and to allow a lot of different kinds of entries and to differentiate it from the two-dimensional (flat) items of paintings or drawings class. A couple examples include ceramics, wood carvings or wood lathe objects, sculptures with any kind of medium, or perhaps 3-D wall art. 

I have been a bit disappointed in low numbers of creative writing entries. I know that there a lot of members who enjoy writing, so hope this year’s topics will encourage more entries. The poem topic is “My Grange Experience”, and only need be 3-26 lines written in stanza form (need not rhyme). This is a class where humor might be employed to describe some kind of Grange experience. The story topics are “Holiday Traditions” and “Recalling My School Days”. These stories need to be a minimum of 400 words and no more than 600 words. To give you an idea of how short that is, this article is now 693 words long – so less than a typed page in length.

Have a wonderful year ahead, and enjoy your abundance of time early in the year by completing an entry early for one of the Lecturer’s Program contests!