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Thank you

Are there enough hours in the day to thank everyone who helps in this community? We held our annual fundraiser for the Historical Village last Saturday.  A lovely five course dinner with a Spanish theme served at a private residence on Dickey Lake.  A cellist played during the evening, some volunteers prepared the food while others served it.  As part of the event, a small speech was made later during the meal to thank those who bought tickets, to those who provided the wine, prepared the meal, those who set out tables and chairs for forty people.  At an earlier pointIMG_1320 in the evening, before the first guests appeared, I took a photo of those wonderful women who served the dinner and helped sell tickets prior to the event.

If I count everyone including the couple who helped move the tables, the man who cleaned the terrace, the woman who brought over forty chairs, the next door neighbor who lent us use of  her oven, the owners of the house where the dinner was held, the friend who gave us green beans from her garden for the paella, it would be over seventy people who participated in some way to make this event successful.  And really this is a fraction of all those who help maintain the Historical Village throughout the year.

We might take it for granted that people help out in a small town.  How else can we maintain the museum and the park, run the Scout troop and Little League, do storytime at the local library and walk dogs at the animal shelter? So much that makes this valley great depends on volunteers. And we realize not all small towns have this wealth.  We are fortunate to have people in this valley who truly care.

Recently there was a wild fire near Eureka.  Some people were required to evacuate their homes.  Neighbors offered housing, storage, and pasture for animals for those who had to evacuate. Others donated water and food for the fire fighters.  There was so much donated that the surplus was given to the local food bank.  For all of this, the generosity offered during the fire as well as the generosity shown towards the fundraising dinner – we offer thanks.


Teetering on Summer

The current quilt is nearly done.  Last week four women sewed on it while others prepared for the rummage sale that happens on May 19th.  The week following that we convert the space we quilted in all winter back into the museum that it will be during the summer.  From Memorial Day until Labor Day, people can tour the buildings at the Historical Village – the old church, the school house, the first cabin and the various other ones.  The lawn’s rich greenness will beckon children to roll around and young people to sit and talk about life.  Families will gather at the picnic tables and tIMG_0953he cyclists camping in Riverside Park will come over to walk around the grounds.

Yes, this time of year is a clear reminder of why we quilt. To raise funds to keep these buildings and the grounds in good condition so they can be enjoyed and so that locals as well as tourists can learn about the history of our valley.  During the winter it sometimes feels we quilt for our own pleasure as its such a treat to sit around the quilting frame talking quietly with the other women, laughing over Bev’s jokes or smiling when Bonnie arrives with her banana bread.  We are there together on Fridays because it is the ideal place to be for those of us who show up.  But now in late spring when we transition the place we quilt in back into the museum space, its a reminder.  We are quilting to maintain the buildings and the history.  The fact that we enjoy the quilting so much, is really just a perk.

Its finding a balance some of us look for in life.  Giving to make our community (however we define that) the best possible place and at the same time taking pleasure in what we do.  I see Scout leaders in our community give time to do projects and go camping with the boys.  Or the group of people who organize the weekly community soup night, finish up Tuesdays at 7:30pm exhausted.  But these individuals as well as the women quilting, also enjoy aspects of what they give.  The women savor Fridays’ quilting.  The Scout leaders appreciate their time in the forests hiking with the young people.  I watch the soup night volunteers smile at the families and older folks who come through to eat on Tuesdays.  It is giving in a way that also brings pleasure to those who give.  It isn’t drudgery although of course there might be touches.  The Scout leader finding enough other adults to go on camping trips; the soup night volunteers getting enough donations to cover the cost of ingredients.  And for the quilters, there are also harder moments.  How much will it cost to get the old library building painted this year?  Who will chink the first cabin? But in general, these individuals nurture our community and themselves at the same time.

another fabulous dinner

The Dinner on the Lake was over the top fabulous this year. If you didn’t attend, I am sorry but perhaps you can grab a ticket for next year.  Cathy did a spectacular job with the food and I would be hard pressed to say which was my favorite course as they were all delicious.  The setting is always lovely thanks to Rick and Lynn opening their home. Elena and Ruth provided beautiful music on violin and harp. Dawn and Niko served so graciously that everyone who attended felt cared for. Tickets were sold out for the event which meant the Tobacco Valley Board of History made much needed funds to keep the Historical Village going for another year.  The weather and the bees cooperated.

Now as summer winds down, all the volunteers who help with the Historical Village including quilters, docents and the board will celebrate another successful season with a potluck on August 16.  I very much enjoy this event. It doesn’t have the haute cuisine of the Dinner on the Lake nor the lovely music, but the volunteers are a special group and it is a wonderful time to join them for hamburgers and pie, to talk about the summer and to look forward to quilting starting up again in the fall.

The women who gave their time to work the Dinner on the Lake along with all the other volunteers who attend the August potluck have one thing in common. None of them are spring chickens.  This is a concern as we look down the road and wonder who will continue maintaining the Historical Village, help with fundraising events, tell visitors about our valley. We know there are individuals out there who can find time for this. It might require doing a bit less social media or perhaps turning off the television, but you can give Lynda Young a call to say, “Yes I would like to help. What can I do?”  Thank you.

That time of year

Where does summer go? It seemed we just finished quilting in May and now we are already sliding into August.  The volunteers at the museum are busIMG_4520y every afternoon greeting visitors and telling them about the history of this valley.  Other volunteers did some work on the playground so the area under the swings and slide won’t get so muddy in the future.  It is temporarily fenced off but will be available soon for all the children who enjoy playing there. Last week four of us got together in the morning to give all the buildings in the Village a good dusting and sweeping so they continue to look their best for the summer season. And of course other Historical Village fans are busy planning the annual Dinner on the Lake.  The lovely fundraiser for the Tobacco Valley Board of History is always a treat for the forty people who attend.  This year’s menu includes a four-course meal featuring French cuisine and wine. Imagine eating this scrumptious meal while looking out over Dickey Lake in the evening on August 13th. Tickets are already sold out but Carol does have a waiting list if you are tempted. Call her at 889-3427.

As always, I am astounded by the time and energy people give to maintaining the Historical Village.  They recognize that this is not just a museum but our heritage.  It contains the history of the people who settled here, the lives that created this community and those who give it their heart to continue.  Perhaps you will have time this summer to stop by and amble through the buildings, or give Carol a call to attend the Dinner on the Lake, or maybe think about how you can help to make the Tobacco Valley Board of History even stronger. Thanks.



And now it is summer

The Historical Village is open for visitors.  Tourists wander through the buildings. Children play on the swings.  Couples sit in the shade at picnic tables talking.  kathy (2)Occasionally in the mornings, deer graze on the lawn.  The Tobacco River has a sensible flow near by.  You can hear teenagers shouting as they wade in at Riverside Park.  It is summer and that is for sure. The quilters are busy doing other things at the moment so aren’t meeting on Fridays.  The quilting frames are put away for the season.

We still think about the Village when we meet up by chance at the farmers market or run into each other at the museum. The list of things to do seems never ending: repair caboose roof, fix some slats on Baney House, trim some trees which have gotten out of control.  There is the list which Lynda tries to parcel out to various volunteers. And there is the cost of these repairs and upkeep.  So we are in the planning stage of our annual Dinner on the Lake.  An utterly delicious four-course meal served with wine at the perfect location on Dickey Lake. Live classical music will accompany the meal.  It really is the ideal way to spend a summer’s evening.  This year’s event is August 13th.  Tickets go quickly as there are only forty spaces available.  Call Carol for tickets at 406-889-3427 to get yours soon.  What a delightful way to support the Historical Village.


It is official. We have stopped quilting for the summer as a group. Some of the women will imagework on quilts at home though. The other day I visited Cathryn and she nearly has the lovely orange one finished. Bev worked on the binding with Bonnie to compete the other one we had at the old school house. But now the schoolhouse has been decked out for summer visitors, looking like an old school inside rather than a place filled with quilting frames. Enjoying each other’s company though, we aren’t quite ready to stop meeting at least occasionally in the summer. Later in June all the quilters will gather for lunch and then a field trip to see the studio of a local sculptor.

The reality is that even when these women aren’t quilting on Fridays, they are actively giving to their community in other ways. Mary Louise and Bev volunteer as docents at the Historical Village. Lynda commandeers repairs in the Village during the summer –  the general store roof needs to be patched and the old caboose could use some fixing up.  Cathryn was out planting flowers in the town’s park Saturday with the  Weedettes. Judy is busy helping to arrange this year’s Quilt Show (August 6). Joan will help at the library’s book sale in August. It is understandable that not everyone has the time or energy to contribute to their community. But the amount these women give even in their eighties and nineties continually astounds me.  And humbles me.  They certainly set the bar high for what one can do to make a community a better place to live. Thanks. They really are terrific women.

Start something new

I like this photograph of Cathryn showing Nikki how to quilt. A few weeks back, we were finishing up the quilt that belonged to Nikki and before it was absolutely imagedone, she stopped by to do a bit of sewing on it herself. The moment was perfect and the sunlight on the quilt helped to capture the magic of Cathryn passing on the tradition. It seems ideal as we begin the new year to think of new things that we each can learn. Bev is mastering her smart phone. Renata explained how to do ice dying. Mary Louise is bravely taking on a major renovation to her house. I set 2016 as a year I am seriously going to focus on improving my writing.

Nikki’s quilt is finished now so we began a new one. Bonnie pieced it and as always, it’s lovely. We are still discussing how it will be quilted but I have no doubt the final decision will be a good one.  In the meantime, we have some items from the bazaar that we are selling and raffle tickets for the floral quilt to those visitors who stop by the old school house. You might think the cold temperatures and snow drifts would deter them, but nope. People still come in to see what we are working on, perhaps pick up a few belated gifts and catch up on news.  I could surely relax into the calm pace of our Friday quilting but inspired by the other older quilters, I am determined to improve this year.