the Old Middlefield Schoolhouse in Middlefield NY
the hill and not too far away from Cooperstown, N.Y., resides a
community that looks nothing like the famed baseball village. The most
activity going on here might be browsing a low-key holiday fair or
stopping your car to let cows cross the street.
of the people in the small rural town of Middlefield, N.Y., are not
wealthy, but find ways to survive. The love of their community allows
them to revel in the fresh mountain air, the art of farming and the
hard work that goes with it, and beautiful scenery and friendly
neighbors, making this an authentic representation of our great country.
family attended an autumn fair in Oct. 2004 at the The Old Middlefield
Schoolhouse Museum -- a warm and inviting former school that houses a
collection of artifacts, printed materials and photographs relating to
the history of the Town of Middlefield. Some local vendors sold their
goods outside, and others came by to eat hot dogs, hamburgers, tell
stories and see some good friends. The feeling was relaxed as the
bluegrass band played authentic bluegrass music -- not the kind you
hear on the assembly line, urban country music format radio stations.
People danced in the rain and children ran around an imperfect playing
field and through a maze made out of hay, all surrounded by the cool,
crisp fall air and stunning fall foliage. You had to wonder what the
next several months would bring for some of the people -- some with few
teeth and tattered clothing -- the cold, harsh winters can be
unforgiving in Leatherstocking Country -- but one suspects that they
would be just fine, seeing them in their old age rejoice in another
Middlefield and some surrounding rural communities, there are people
who live in beautifully maintained farmhouses worthy of a Home and
Garden Television (HGTV) special and others who live in homes in real
need of repair; many of them came together on this grand country day.
The wealthier crowd mixed well with the impoverished, wishing each
other well and giving hugs. Special attention and kindness was offered
to some developmentally disabled children who had an absolute ball at
this community event. It was touching to see so many different types of
people connecting, enough to bring a tear to the eye. It just
felt so right.
looked across the field and saw this fine mix of solid Americans, the
feeling hit me that this was the real life. Absent were the strip
malls, fast food chains, and the "anytown USA" look of rampant
commercialism, heavy traffic and lost highways. Middlefield is
different, for it is internally and externally exquisite from the soul
of its people to the unspoiled rural surroundings. We'll be back soon
with big smiles on our faces and a deep respect for the residents and
their lovely land, making one wonder why it is said at the end of a
vacation, "Well, time to return to civilization." Funny, I thought, this
is civilization right here.
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