Roughly two dozen members, wearing sashes of green velvet and gold trim, then said a prayer, and sang a short song. “It’s a grand good thing to be a granger,” they intoned, “and we welcome you all.”
Then it proceeded as a typical meeting: roll call, general business, assigning tasks for events, going over finances, and introducing resolutions. Secretary Brian Carr of Beverly read through the agenda.
Committee reports followed. Peter Carter, representing the agricultural committee, suggested that people make sure the salt they use on their walks is environmentally safe. Carr, of the home and community service committee, gave the group some valuable advice for spring cleaning: Use hydrogen peroxide to remove blood stains from furniture; apply car wax to sticking doors; use clear nail polish to repair tears in window screens.
Stressing the family aspect, members call each other “brother” and “sister” throughout, sometimes ascending to “worthy master” or “worthy secretary.”
It is admittedly pomp and circumstance, and, although they clearly respect the ceremony, members are not stodgy, and they do not take themselves too seriously. There is a lot of good-natured laughing and joking throughout.
As they took a break mid-meeting for a raffle drawing, Johnson summed up the feelings of many members.
“The reason I stay involved,” he said, “is because of the people.”
Taryn Plumb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.