I've heard it said that you never truly appreciate something until it's gone. This past week I realized how true the saying is. About 20 years ago, I moved from Oxford and to a new state. Like most people who move away, they come home for a visit now and then but their visits are so short that they never experience their old townships; they merely spend a few hours with their parents, perhaps friends and then shoot back home to their own lives.
Wednesday, I received a call from my parents and I could tell they needed assistance. But like most upstate New Yorkers, asking for help is not something we are good at. We've all grown up with the adage, "We can take care of it ourselves. I don't want to bother or intrude on anyone else."
My parents and I learned something this week. Sometimes you need to ask others for help. And often you may not realize how wonderful the people are in your neighborhood who are willing to help.
I would first like to thank the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department, all of you who came out to my parents' house twice in the cold late of night, your efforts had a tremendous effect on the health and sanity of my parents.
Matt Beckwith (Matt works with the sheriff's department), thank you also, you are a wealth of knowledge and must get your calming effects from your mother who seems like a true gem in the community.
Oxford, you are lucky to have Lawrence Wilcox in your corner. He is a logical, straight shooter who cuts to the heart of the matter and if it weren't for bureaucracy could accomplish eons more with the town highways.
And last but not least I'd like to thank Carl Cummings. He is my parents' neighbor. And moreover, he is the essence of what I truly miss about Oxford and the entire area that I grew up in.
I live in what used to be a farming community. In the past 25 years our area has become an area for second home residence. The sense of community is virtually non-existent. The volunteer fire departments are full of 55-plus aged volunteers and almost no young people. My neighborhood is full of people who won't even raise an arm to wave back as they drive by, let alone ever offer help. It's more like a grudge match of "look at that poor sucker, hah." The land is beautiful, but becoming spotted with million dollar homes which leave natives feeling empty. The standard of living is very high although there is almost no unemployment.
What Oxford has is priceless. There is community. There are wonderful neighbors who care and are willing to lend a hand. There is a great community base organization ready and quite able to help. Thank you for all you did for my family and moreover, thank you for your compassionate, loving neighborly tones. It's fantastic knowing that it still exists.
Carla Turner (Tryon)
S. Egremont, MA