We live in a place that’s surrounded by American history and steeply enriched by the Arts. Near places that are within a day’s drive that people travel from all over the world to see. Places filled with interesting people and landscapes, and never-ending lists of things to do.
Places like Woodstock where the 1969 Music and Arts fair went down in history.
Saratoga where the famous horse races are held every summer.
Montreal three hours to the north, and New York City three hours to the south.
A slice of New England an hour to the east, and Cooperstown where the Baseball Hall of Fame lives an hour to the west.
Some of the Revolutionary War was fought in these parts, and the historic Erie Canal runs through my town.
But there are some places that aren’t so famous that have a draw for some of the same reasons: history, the arts, interesting people, and a lists of things to do.
Saturday, we went to Hubbard Hall in Cambridge New York to see a perfect production of Whispering Bones. Built in 1878, this venue was a natural setting for this Ghost Story telling evening. Eight performers told stories that transported you to each scene and either had you laughing a little or wondering where the chilled air was coming from. It was a classical setting for such an event this close to Halloween, one of my favorite yearly celebrations.
Today, we rode in the opposite direction and visited Historic Sharon Springs where the town died many years ago and is in the process of returning to life. We ate at the Black Cat Café where we witnessed a scene that was right out of the movies. In fact, it was a movie. As we watched, we heard: “Check sound; Check Video; 19-C, take 3, aaaaaannnnddd ACTION!” We were so quiet and engrossed in watching the filming that the director encouraged us to talk to each other because they needed some background noise. So whatever this award-winning film will be some day, we helped.
We headed back to the car and spotted a guy dressed in a long overcoat wandering around outside of his unkempt house across the street. There was stuff everywhere and it was all for sale. He invited us in and it was even more cluttered and more interesting than the front yard and porch. Stuff everywhere. He opened sliding doors and asked us to come further into the house. A glass painting caught my eye. I interrupted him and asked if it was for sale. ”Yes. Twenty bucks” he said. I found a $20 bill in a flash, handed it to him, and started heading towards the front door. I was sort of creeped out. That’s when he invited us to go upstairs. Up we went. My hand on my cell phone and always looking back. The rooms upstairs were for paying guests. I not only wouldn’t pay to stay there, you couldn’t pay me to stay there. But it was another perfect setting for this Halloween season.
And the painting? It was like something I’ve never seen before. A spooky scene painted on glass. It kind of reminded me of the house I found it in.
The center of my universe is a place where I say it is.
And for me at the moment, it’s where I happen to live.
It will change when I change.
It has to.