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This Wonderful Life

July 3, 2009

This Wonderful Life: The perfect weekend to visit — or live here

Cooperstown knows how to do holidays. Other towns may attempt quaint and heart-warming holidays, but Cooperstown just happens to have both the small size and the community resources to outshine even a Hollywood rendition.

Take Halloween. Every Oct. 31, children from all over Cooperstown and the surrounding villages and hamlets gather on Main Street, in costume, to parade up Main Street, toward Chestnut and onward to the Fire Station, where they are treated to some good-natured tricks and no small amount of candy. For the youngest children, the march to the Fire Station may signal the end of trickor- treating done mostly in daylight. Meanwhile, older kids and their families fan out through the maze of village streets, knocking on one decorated door after another, teaming up with classmates and walking until they just can’t ring one more bell.

It is my assertion that Cooperstown should have a Welcome Committee that gives newcomers with children a literal welcome wagon that they can take out on Halloween (and to the Farmers’ Market and the Christmas Parade), so little ones will have a smooth ride home or to the car.

Christmastime is even more outrageously quaint, with Santa himself (not some polyester-bearded ``helper’’) heralding the beginning of the season in the annual Christmas parade.

Surrounded by village youngsters, Santa and Mrs. Claus take the opposite route into Cooperstown’s Main Street, riding a sleigh, drawn by jingling horses from Railroad Avenue down to the corner of Main and Pioneer streets, where the park holds a small outpost of Santa’s North Pole HQ. Throughout the season, children can visit him there, and post wish lists in his mail box.

It’s enough to make Frank Capra himself call us corny. And then there is July Fourth — Independence Day.

Cooperstown wasn’t actually born on the Fourth of July, but it might as well have been for the way it embodies (and delivers) a picture-perfect country celebration. I remember my first Fourth of July in Cooperstown. Visiting from Florida, where early July turns everything into sweltering sandpaper, we were enchanted by the lush, green hillsides and the fact that we had to wear sweaters for an early evening excursion on the lake.

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This Wonderful Life
  • This Wonderful Life: I can say No, but I prefer Yes If popular culture is any indication, it seems women suffer from an epidemic inability to refuse additional responsibilities. Magazines, self-help books and therapists nationwide offer heaps of advice on how to assert oneself, draw boundaries and generally say No when asked to sign on for those things for which we have little time and less interest.

    November 25, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I wish someone had told me Disclaimer: Because my son more or less demanded that I stop using him and his life as material for my column back when he was 12 or 13, I want to make it perfectly clear to all my readers (and any legal professionals who are now retained or may be retained at some future time by aforementioned son) that this column is not about him. It’s about me. The fact that he happened to turn 21 on Saturday is mere coincidence. So help me God.

    November 19, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A view through bare branches Every morning, Bee and I stand at the end of the driveway waiting for her bus and we look up into the branches of the elm tree that arches over the drive.

    November 5, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: To Posey on her fourth So here we are, on the other side of 3-years-old, and it seems we both survived it intact. It wasn’t easy, but perhaps it made us both stronger.

    October 30, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A Posey by any other name... A few weeks ago, Posey gave us all new names. Or, to be more accurate, Posey gave us all one new name. Rose.

    October 8, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Are pork chops really that good? If it seems unlikely for a vegetarian (that would be me) to own a couple of table- bound pigs, it probably seems downright absurd that their names should be Tender and Delicious.

    October 2, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I sssssseeeeeee you there The first thing you should know is that I used to suffer from a snake phobia. The operative word there is phobia. It wasn’t just a matter of disliking snakes. It wasn’t a fear of being bitten. It wasn’t a simple reluctance to touch their impossibly dry, nimble bodies.

    September 24, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: What’s so funny? My kids, I hope In my experience as a three-time parent, there is something absolutely, spiritually magical about the first time your child cracks a joke.

    September 17, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Who are these little girls? There are two children in my house who bear a striking resemblance to my daughters. They are adorable, smart and energetic.

    September 10, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A harvest that’s good for the soul Signs of harvest are all around. The afternoon sun glows amber over the fields and the farm stands are filled to overflowing with vegetables and fruit. We’re lucky to live in a place where we can have such an immediate connection to the food we eat.

    September 3, 2009