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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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September 3, 2008 8:11 AM

Songs to save the farm

Posted by David Postman

The top-two primary last month was only the latest election initiative from the Washington State Grange. The old blanket primary was the group’s work, too. That was in 1934 when the agricultural group teamed with organized labor to push through an initiative to the Legislature.

That same year the national grange requested a song book “properly adapted to the use of Juvenile Granges and our younger members.” In 1935 this book, which I found at a local garage sale, was published:.

The book gives you a good idea of what the Grange was trying to do in the 1930s, with its songs about patriotism, God and the importance of agriculture. As Granges close down and we see farm land disappearing, its no doubt quaint - but poignant - to see these musical efforts to inculcate young Grangers.

This is the first verse to “Stay on the Farm,” by Jas. L. Orr.

Come boys, I have something to you, Come near, I would whisper it low;

You’re thinking of leaving the homestead, - Don’t be in a hurry to go.

The city has many attractions, But think of its vices and sins;

When once in the vortex of fashion, How soon our destruction begins.

Stay on the farm, boys, stay on the farm, Tho’ profits its come in rather slow.

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