This morning while taking our daily walk at Woodlands Cemetery here in Cambridge, New York, I met a couple from Utah. They were looking for the headstones of several ancestors. They had pictures of the headstones but no exact location. Unfortunately, I was not able to help and there are not very good records of the burials in the late 1800’s.
Of course, the reason that this couple was visiting the area now is the same reason that folks from all over come—the magnificent fall foliage. This is Columbus Day weekend, a three dayer in this part of the country where our maples turn a brilliant red and the yellows and oranges of the other trees combine to make it a place like none other. I understand that in many parts of the country Columbus Day is not a holiday but with tourism an important part of the economy we do celebrate Columbus Day and welcome all the “leaf peepers” that want to come.
In our home though, we celebrate this weekend for a different reason. We call it the anniversary of “the first sighting.” This sighting did take place because it was Columbus Day weekend and I was in Cambridge. I was actually in Cambridge having a tag sale under false pretenses or so I thought.
At the time I was divorced and living in White Plains, NY. My life was a mess. The man I was involved with had not gotten divorced and it was not a good situation. The best thing he ever did for me was to introduce me to Cambridge when we stopped at the Cambridge Hotel several years before on our way to his hunting camp in Vermont. Something inside of me connected to the place and I came back and made friends with a shopkeeper and several of her friends. I was staying with her that weekend and I had brought lots of stuff-city type stuff- and was having a tag sale. She put an ad in the local paper that read,” City girl moving to country. Great city stuff for sale”. From her mouth to God’s ears!
I am told that on that Saturday morning, my husband, Beaver, and his partner Bruce (they had a small construction business) were driving along Main Street and lo and behold I was walking along Main Street. I was pretty foxy in those days. I probably had on tight jeans, boots with three inch heels, and maybe a plaid shirt to complete my country weekend look. I had a great head of long blond hair that always got lots of attention. Bruce’s wife Della was one of Sally’s friends so Bruce knew who I was. He pointed me out and mentioned I was divorced and maybe Beaver should ask me out since he too was divorced, even though he did have a girlfriend. Such complications!
I was aware of none of this. I had my tag sale; sold lots of city stuff. My married boyfriend picked me up on Sunday night, he had left me at Sally’s house on Friday and continued on to Vermont, and I went back to my life in White Plains.
But the wheels had started to turn. My fate was in the making. If you had told me that Columbus Day weekend 31 years ago that the city girl would move to the country and marry the country bumpkin and become a funeral director for this wonderful community, I would have told you that you were beyond crazy. But it happened, and I love my husband; I love my community and I love my work. Life is good to me and I am forever grateful for “the first sighting.”
I invite you to take a few minutes to think back to where you were 31 years ago. Is where you are today the place you thought you would be? Was there a “first sighting” that took you down a path that you never imagined? If you have a story, please share. Thank you for listening to mine. I promise to share more.