July 11, 2012 —
It’s been said that moving is one of the most stressful times in a person’s life, and having done so twice in the last four months (don’t ask!), I can attest to that. Finding myself unexpectedly looking (again) for a new place to settle, I was determined that this would (hopefully) be the last... and thankfully, the gods were smiling down on me as I raced against time, searching high and low for a place to rest my weary head.
As many of you know, I love being a part of the landscape here in the Upper Delaware valley and never tire of the gorgeous vistas, mountain streams and starry nights. Having spent the last five years in a cabin on a lake, I became a bit despondent, thinking that I would lose that lovin’ feeling.
Even before moving to the Catskills, I had been heard to claim that one of my “bucket list” desires was to live in a trailer “in the middle of nowhere,” far from the madding crowd. I thought that my cabin in the woods would satisfy that itch without actually removing myself from society, but as the years wore on, my yearning for (even more) solitude grew. In a perfect example of “be careful what you wish for,” and as my (slightly frantic) search began in earnest, I took a brief respite in front of the tube, switched the channel to “TV Land” and caught a rerun of the Eddie Albert/Eva Gabor classic 1960s sitcom “Green Acres.”
For those who are unaware, the show is described as “Successful lawyer longs to leave behind the complications of modern society and—despite the protestations of his glamorous socialite wife—buys a farm. The couple says goodbye to city life and takes up residence in Hooterville, USA. While there is some debate as to the actual geographic location of Hooterville, one thing is clear: It exists in a state of mind-bending logic and hallucinatory natural laws, and is inhabited by an eccentric population that includes favorite son Arnold Ziffel, a multi-lingual, TV-watching pig. As Oliver tries to make a go at being a gentleman farmer, wife Lisa settles in to her new surroundings despite herself, and attempts to bring gracious living and the finer things to their ramshackle abode” (www.tvland.com ).
The moment I stepped through the broken front door, images of “Green Acres” played in my head. The dark wood paneling, shag rugs and rundown barn on the property were instantly (IMHO) a perfect match for my canopy bed, crystal chandeliers and gilded mirrors. When I slid open the closet door in the master bedroom, it fell from its track, crashing to the floor, and I (literally) shrieked with glee. As Dharma (the wonder dog) raced happily from room to room, I sat back and declared that “farm livin’ is the life for me!”
Within a matter of days, the deal was done. Sitting on the porch, high on a hill with spectacular views and very few neighbors (eccentric or otherwise), my new life began to take shape as I began the arduous task of sorting, packing and working out the details. Passing through Hortonville on one of my many treks out to Green Acres, I couldn’t help but notice even more similarities to the fictional locale of the show.
Replete with broken washing machines out back, and a barn filled with the flotsam and jetsam of past owners, the reality of making the place ready for myself and the dog became clear, and I recalled more details of Oliver and Lisa’s existence on the farm, which made me keenly aware that it could be years before I get the place in shape.
Wonderful new neighbors have already stopped by; one local woman offered to mow, and her dad assured me that my plowing (come winter) would be taken care of. More phone calls, including a search for an Internet connection and whether mail delivery would have to be picked up at the “general store,” conjured up images of having to climb the pole out back, simply to make a phone call. When I realized that it didn’t matter, I felt waves of relief wash over me, knowing that I was home, while considering adopting a pig.
Most of the work is done and I’ll be on the road again this week, zipping off to the Milford, PA vintage costume jewelry trunk show (in search of the perfect “Lisa Douglas” brooch) this Friday, right after catching “The Rocky Horror Show” at the Forestburgh Playhouse (www.FB 
playhouse.org), the Doo Wop Festival at Bethel Woods (www.bethelwoodscenter.org ) and an opportunity to catch the “new and improved Day to be Gay” (www.thegaysofsullivancounty.com ) soiree on the grounds of the Catskill Distilling Co. (www.catskilldistilling.com ). Meanwhile, those lyrics continue to haunt and I find myself singing aloud... keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside!