Dave and I are members of the Altona Grange. We first encountered this Grange when Dave's original band, Coal Creek, did some shows there back in the 2004 time frame. The Grange is over 100 years old, and was in a terrible state at that time. I still remember that before one show, my good friend Sharon Dooley and I were cleaning mouse droppings off the windowsills.
But, a couple of years later, things changed. More people got involved in the grange, and joined the Altona Grange membership. A key person was Donlyn Arbuthnot, whose family was part of the original grange membership. She began to tout the importance of the hall and its heritage. The members took on projects to renovate and update the building. Now, six years later, it is thriving and beautiful--newly painted, new roof, landscaping, and not a mouse dropping in sight.
The Colorado Bluegrass Music Society, which Dave and I are involved in, teams with the Grange for a fall bluegrass show series, and Dave books the bands and emcees the shows. Last fall, we decided that we would join the Grange, really searching for a group that we could feel a sense of community with.
Last night was the second event that we attended since joining. Dinner was a wonderful western barbeque meal, served by Flatirons Barbeque--also members of the Grange. The preliminary film was a Bugs Bunny cartoon--I can't remember when the last time was that I watched one, and it was a hoot. The main event movie was "Stagecoach." This was a John Ford movie, which was also one of the first appearances of John Wayne. He was youthful and handsome and great. I told Dave later that the hall and event reminded me of our days in Germany back in the 1980's, where we attended events at the military Community Recreation Centers. There was the same sense of community.
The members have really welcomed us into the Grange. It was a fun evening and we are so enjoying being part of the Altona community.