I never thought I’d be doing this, but I really need to issue a formal apology here. I am very sorry, Middleburg. Yeah- you heard right; I feel I’d been neglecting one of our most charming places in the County (heck, one of the most charming little Towns in America, when you come right down to it).
You see, I’m very good at excuses, if you hadn’t already noticed. I can come up with an absolutely iron-clad explanation for having failed to perform some of the most painless tasks; but, on the other hand, I’m probably even better at apologizing. “Take responsibility!” I often say, and I’ll stand by my words on this one. It’s my own fault for not having answered the call of Middleburg’s many offerings over the past couple of years in this column- but no more. No, sir.
So, I grabbed the bull by the horns early one morning, camera and coffee in hand, and I made my touristic way down to the fabled center of the ‘Hunt Country’ in Loudoun’s southwest corner.
And that oft-quoted phrase triggers another of my excuses: “Oh, it’s just a bunch of idle rich people down there- out of touch with the lives of us REAL Loudouners.” Yeah, I’ve probably felt that way more than once (Admit it- many of us have).
But on countless other occasions, I’ve been completely ‘romanced over’ by my many experiences in Middleburg over my years in this very varied locality. Let’s see: there was the coverage of political events at the historic Community Center during my first months on the job as News Director for what once was another charming little institution in these parts: Wage Radio of Leesburg. I made some long-lasting friends at some of those initial events in those days- many of which were held right there- in Downtown Middleburg. Gee- that’s pushing 20 years ago, now. Then there was the time we took my parents out for dinner at the fabled Red Fox Inn on Main Street (the place which still exhibits damage from Civil War cannon-balls, so I’m told). We had some wonderful times in and around that little Town. And, on the ‘artistic’ side of my life, there were countless times I offered my Readers Theatre services for the local Library on Reed Street. I think I enjoyed those occasions as much as any audience member- others of which I joined (audiences- that is), in order to watch performances of my friends in shows at the Hill School Theater. Hallmark moments, all (and far too long ago!). In fact, I can’t think of a single time I’ve been in that locale when I had anything but an extremely rewarding time. I’ve just scratched the surface in the old memory bank in those preceding sentences.
So- back to the ‘here and now’- why the more recent neglect, excuses, distance and the rest?
Well, life brings change: Time and energy being at a premium these past few years, coupled with the geographic distance from my home in Leesburg- I took this combination and cooked up a real recipe for procrastination.
But, as I said, I took the initiative and placed myself back in what’s really one of my favorite places on earth early that one morning- checking in on some of the old sights, re-discovering a few I’d let fade away, and discovering others for future experience. I was reminded that what many of us allow ourselves to think and feel of Middleburg- that it’s just a ‘place for the rich’- out of reach for those of us with ‘real lives’- is really NOT what I’ve found to be the case. Ever. This historic little community is made up of a large proportion of what I’d call ‘humble’ (yet very charming) dwellings, streets, public facilities and untraveled corners.
Yes, there are the high-profile attractions in Middleburg, of course. And, some of the landmarks exhibit facades- just like people I’ve met in some places. But I’ve yet to encounter a ‘false’ person in this Town. And, hopefully, it’ll never feel that way about me, either.