Yesterday, I went to East Vassalboro to meet my mom’s friend Esther Bernhardt at the Grange. (My mother passed away two years ago, and Esther was her best friend.) My daughter Shannon is getting married this summer, and we will be having her wedding shower at the Grange, which was a central part of my mother’s life. Having the shower at the Grange will be like having a little piece of my mother there.
This particular Grange is lucky enough to have a dedicated group of “Grangers” who have taken loving care of this big, old yellow and white building with its large front porch. Unlike some Granges, this one has not fallen into disrepair. The porch is freshly painted, the inside of the Grange, with its stenciled walls and new curtains, is clean and bright, and the long tables have jaunty red and green checked table coverings.
Natrually, I had been to the Grange before, but I had never really checked out the kitchen facilities, and as the shower is in July, I figured I had better do so. Right from the start, we had planned to have a bridal tea shower—we are a family that is crazy about tea with all the little fixings—and this, of course, means that the food will be cold. I was pleased to discover that the Grange has two refrigerators—plenty of room for cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, and ham salad sandwiches. There is also a big gas stove, but aside from heating water for the tea, we won’t really need to use it for much of anything. There are plenty of plates, bowls, cups, platters, and silverware, an eclectic assortment and well used.
In keeping with the rustic nature of the Grange, Shannon’s bridal tea will be a country tea rather than a fancy tea, and I have all sorts of crockery I can fill with flowers to add to the rural charm of the place. I will also be looking for cloth napkins to go with the checked table coverings.
Fortunately, I have lots of people to help me with this shower— Dee, our eldest daughter; Andrea Maddi, Shannon’s maid of honor; our good friend Kate Johnson; Esther Bernhardt; and Claire Hersom, another good friend and Shannon’s soon-to-be aunt. We’ll be making fruit salad, little sandwiches (there will of course be cucumber sandwiches), little pastries, and lots and lots of iced tea. After all, it will be July, and people might prefer to have cold rather than hot tea.
After Esther and I were done looking at the Grange, we fired up the gas stove, made ourselves tea, and took our mugs to the front porch where there are rocking chairs. It was a rainy day, but the porch is wide, and the rain wasn’t a bother. As we rocked and sipped tea, we watch the rain drip from the roof. The Grange sits in the middle of East Vassalboro village and is surrounded by many old homes. We talked a little of the history of the town, of the black smith shop across the street and of the library, celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year. The library started out in the Friends’ Meeting House, eventually moved to a small building that had been a fishing shack (an addition had been added), and is now in a new brick building not far from the Grange. I grew up in this town, went to the library, worked on rummage sales, and have been to many events at the Grange. It is full of history for me, full of memories of my mother.
There can be no better place to have Shannon’s shower, and I know she feels the same way.
Correction—5/24/2010: After reading the post, Shannon reminded me that Andrea will be her bridesmaid, not her maid of honor. Dee will be Shannon’s maid of honor. As Miss Piggy might say, “I knew that.” I just forgot that I did. Oh, my! That certainly qualifies as a distracted mother moment. Let’s just hope there aren’t too many more of them.