So last night I travelled up in the valley to shoot the annual Grays River Grange community Christmas gathering. This has been going on since the 1930s, or perhaps even later by some accounts. It is the epitomy of a small town event — just the kind of thing I love to shoot. They would normally hold it at the old Grange Hall, but due to the storm last week which causing some flooding to the building, they held it this year at the old Rosburg School. The building is a throwback to the schools from like the 50s, where all grades are in one building and all the fixtures and such are still intact. It hasn't been a school for some years, and is used now as a community center of sorts.
I'd say maybe 40 adults and kids were there. It starts out with a big meal, some of which is potluck. Then they all sing Christmas Carols, like the 12 days of Christmas. Esther Gregg, who has been involved in the Grange all her life, was at the table that had the 5 Golden Rings portion of the song.
After the songs local author Bob Pyle did as he has done for some 25 years and gathered the kids together to read Twas the Night Before Christmas. I took up a spot outside the foggy windows to take some pix.
While this was going on, in another room, Brandon Novoselic was dressing and preparing for his guest role of Santa. Brandon was drafted into the part by his uncle, Krist (our resident rock star, who is also the Grange Master) after the usual St. Nick couldn't make it at the last minute. Here he is giving Brandon some instruction on what to do before joining the party. "Remember it's 'ho, ho, ho,' not 'he, he, he.'"
Being Santa, of course he brought with him a sack full of toys for all the good girls and boys.
They ended their get-together by singing Silent Night by candlelight. A nice touch and a nice ending.
I just love shooting small town stuff like this. I know I've commented on here before, but every time I shoot something in the valley I always seem to have good luck and the people are so easy to be around. I'm always looking for stuff happening up there. They have a sensibility about themselves and the way they live that is a little old fashioned, and it's cool to see.