Yesterday we accomplished Phase 3 of Fellow Traveler's birthday revels (Phase 1 involved presents; Phase 2 was her requested birthday meal of lamb chops, new potatoes, Chinese cabbage salad and Jello) and headed off to the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus with one of our friends to see Cheryl Wheeler, visit the juried art fair and otherwise soak up the mellow Wheatland vibe. The Wheatland crowd was a bit thinner than usual, probably due to the dismal economy, and some of the artists at the fair told me their wares weren't selling very fast. I also detected a more pensive air at the festival; whether this is due to the graying of the old guard or the times we live in I don't know. Perhaps it was telling that, during the traditional Sunday morning gospel sing, an capella rendition of Stephen Foster's "Hard Times Come Again No More" moved the normally frolicksome audience to silence, then brought down the house.
Nontheless, we had fun. FT loves Cheryl Wheeler -- who gave a very intimate (despite the surroundings), thoughtful and at times screamingly funny performance. We also enjoyed a trio called The Refugees, who sounded a bit like a cross between the Indigo Girls and CSNY. Our guest, who's a Wheatland newbie, was positively enchanted. I bought a couple pairs of earrings; our friend did some Christmas shopping; we ate some righteous breakfast food courtesy of the Happy Farmers Food Coop of Ferry, Michigan, one of the perennial food vendors at the festival. Our fellow Wheaties were friendly, polite and -- let's be honest -- made for great people-watching. And it was a beautiful day -- neither too hot nor too cold.
An old pal of mine from my Cadillac days used to say, "I wish the whole world were like Wheatland." For a few hours yesterday, for us, it was.