Monday, August 23, 2010

Forgotten: One Tradition, One War Hero, Now Remembered

This August marked the first time I celebrated Winu Gischuch, the Corn Moon, at a Bergen County Historical Society event.

According to the group, "the Dark Moon of August, Winu Gischuch, was associated with ripened corn, ready to roast. At this time, native farmers pulled cornstalks that produced no ears and sucked out the sweet sap or syrup. Fresh ears of corn in the milk were roasted."

Kevin Wright, author of 1609: A Country That Was Never Lost who was speaking at the event, says such gatherings simply highlight the natural movement of time.

I stepped back in time in the Campbell-Christie House.

I sat in their candlelight, cozy tavern.

You can't go to a corn festival and not partake, can you? A modest donation was asked for the refreshments. The corn, 50 cents.

Corn cakes, two for $1.

On an unseasonably cool rainy day, homemade peach plum crisp, $3.50, nourished both body and soul.

The back kitchen is always a must visit stop. Among items on the menu: corn chowder, potato and leek soup, a side dish of squash and apples and corn cakes with blueberries.

Another highlight was a preview of documentary Lafayette: The Lost Hero. It makes its debut to the nation September 13. A glimpse of the documentary:

Lafayette: The Lost Hero from The Documentary Group

A modest blue sign, on a very car-heavy road, Kinderkamack Road (at Soldier Hill Road), marks where Lafayette and his troops once traveled.

A lifelong Bergen County, New Jersey resident and someone who has traveled Soldier Hill Road thousands of times, I crossed the path those who fought for freedoms we often take for granted had. Thanks to the Bergen County Historical Society, I have a newfound appreciation.

Learn more about upcoming events.

I couldn't help think of the haunting Lydia Huntley Sigourney poem "Indian Names," brought to life by Natalie Merchant on Leave Your Sleep. "Our injustice and hard-hearted policy with regard to the original owners of the soil has ever seemed to me one of our greatest national sins," Lydia reflected. All that's largely left behind are their traditions, resurrected by groups like the Bergen County Historical Society, preserved artifacts, and their names - on lakes, streams, rivers, towns and monuments.

"Ye say they all have passed away,
That noble race and brave,

Their light canoes have vanished
From off the crested wave.

That 'mid the forest where they roamed
There rings no hunter's shout.

But their name is on your waters,
Ye may not wash it out."

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