It was a beautifully clear, crisp sunny day in the center of the Hunterdon County seat. Flemington was shining brightly this fine day. With the famous "Lindbergh" courthouse in the background, a stone's throw away, some hundred and fifty civic-minded residents of Hunterdon gathered in a bucolic park to close out the 300th anniversary of their beloved county.
The preceding year had been filled with wondrous celebrations of Hunterdon's past and present. Led by Marcia Karrow, supported wholeheartedly by the Freeholders and Congressman Leonard Lance, the citizens of this wonderful place were educated, entertained, and overjoyed while celebrating the tricentennial of their historic county. Even some of the lifers, whose families had been in Hunterdon for multiple generations, learned a thing or two.
Who knew that when George Washington famously crossed the Delaware he landed on the shores of Hunterdon County? The fact that same voyage today would land him in Mercer County doesn't lessen the pride of every Hunterdon resident. On one level it means his journey will always belong to the residents of Hunterdon County and increases the sense of wonderment.
The role Hunterdon County played in the Revolutionary War, in our fledgling country telling the British to take a long walk on a short pier, is of course not limited to Mr. George rowing across an icy river. Numerous feats and accomplishments of Hunterdon residents in the early days of our great republic were highlighted and celebrated throughout the year.
As a way of connecting the final dots, just before Christmas the Flemington Library invited Anne & Ridley Enslow to sing Christmas Carols that were popular during colonial times. It was a wonderful event as both Anne and Ridley sang beautifully and played their stringed instruments to a tee. The atmosphere was enhanced by their dressing in authentic colonial garb of the time.
As way of capping off the historical significance of the 300th anniversary, attendees at the Enslow concert were encouraged to write letters describing what life is like in present day Hunterdon County. The letters were collected to be put into a time capsule that will be opened on the 400th anniversary of Hunterdon County. Despite it being the coldest day of the early winter, the burying of the time capsule in a park behind the courthouse brought out numerous revelers at high noon on December 31, 2014. The free hot dogs and chips didn't hurt, but being present at a historic moment in time was most likely the driving force behind the great turnout.
Oh to be able to jump into the Rev Jim Ignatowski's DeLorean and jump ahead to 2114! One wonders how much Hunterdon County will have changed from the present day. Especially since outside of electricity, cars, and a bit less open land, it hasn't changed all that much since its founding in 1714. What change it has gone through is considerably less than counties to its east and the world in general.
It is one of the charms of Hunterdon County that its residents treasure and hold dear to their hearts. The ability to be able to drive down previously unknown country roads was mentioned in one of the letters that was read aloud at the burial ceremony. My eight-year-old son Liam's letter was read, in which he asked the people of the future, "Do you have flying cars and is Obama still the President?". The imagination and sense of humor of our youth can truly be precious. I'm sure everyone reading this has questions about the future they would love to have answered.
While trying to downplay one of the many tangled webs he got himself into, George Costanza famously remarked, "You can't stop modern medicine!" Who knows? Maybe someone who is alive today will be at the digging up of the time capsule in a hundred years. Either way, I hope Hunterdon is still dotted with numerous farms, rolling countryside, and people as good-natured as the ones who reside here today.