Rad A. Drew Photography: Celebrating the Birthday of Sprague, WA's Oldest Resident!

Continental Divide at Dawn

Continental Divide at Dawn
Continental Divide at Dawn

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Celebrating the Birthday of Sprague, WA's Oldest Resident!

Anita, at 92, is Sprague, Washington's, oldest resident.

You never know what you’re going to find on a photo workshop, but I try to remain open to the unexpected!

Sometimes traveling to beautiful regions to photograph becomes as much about experiencing local culture and connecting with others as about making wonderful pictures. 

Last week while photographing in The Palouse, our group was treated to one of those rare experiences that revealed something about the generosity of the people of Sprague, WA, while reminding us of our common humanity and the simple but rich joys of fellowship.

Our group was immersed in photographing retired farm trucks and old cars in Sprague (population 456), when Sprague resident, Jill Sheffels, called to us from her car. 

“We’re having a birthday party at the community center for Anita and you’re invited! At 92, Anita is Sprague’s oldest resident,” she said, “and we’d love for you to join us in celebration.” 

Jill Sheffels is the force behind the volunteer-staffed organization, Feed Sprague, which provides food for those in need, as well as services for the elderly and special needs youth in the area.

In addition to providing meals and services, Feed Sprague also sponsors food distribution, a community Food Bank, the EARH Mobile Clinic, the Odessa Medical Bus, and other community activities and fund raisers, like the one to raise money to help a resident get a hearing aid. 

After a quick huddle with the group, we accepted the invitation and joined the party at Sprague’s modest community center. 

We were warmly welcomed by about 25 guests, served a spaghetti lunch, enjoyed an impromptu performance by kids and adults who sang for us, and then joined in singing happy birthday to Anita, the guest of honor celebrating her 92 years. 

Was this stop on our itinerary? No! But, I'm so glad we accepted Jill's invitation! Anita was delightful and at least one child stole my heart. 

We came away with a load of good feelings and memories from this unanticipated, impromptu addition to our day's itinerary

Here are a few photos. I made the portrait of Anita (above) and the one Jill and the child (below) and the others photos were provided by Karen Laffey from our group. (Thanks, Karen!)

After singing for our group, 
Jill shares a moment with one of the young performers. 

Susan presented the birthday cake to Anita.
Susan did all the cooking for the gathering. 
Photo Credit: Karen Laffey

When I shared the portrait I made, Anita remarked, "Well, it looks like me." 
Ha! Not a bad compliment for a photographer!
Photo Credit: Karen Laffey

After our portrait session, Anita and I posed for a quick photo.
Photo Credit: Karen Laffey

As always, thanks for reading! 

Stay tuned for photographs of the beautiful Palouse region from our latest trip! If you would like to join us next year, email me here or subscribe to my newsletter!