I love where I live as it is. Just the right balance of flat and hills, beautiful skyline, green grass, fresh water, northern lights even! Aesthetically appealing aside, I have an amazing lifestyle I have been blessed to become a part of. People have asked me in the past questions like, “Don’t you go crazy out there all day?” or “Aren’t you bored?” My answer, Not At All! I have 2,000 acres to explore, in-laws who I get along with swimmingly, and every day is different! Sure, the ‘simple life’ by no means is simple. Ranch life keeps you on your toes, and devotes all your efforts. But, There is always something to do on the ranch, family to spend time with, and when we feel like getting out…we have an incredible time and (believe it or not other people live out here in the sticks) neighbors! Our ‘community’ out here is a broad radius of about 30 miles consisting of families young and old, some of which have been in the area for several, several years! And they have all been each others out-of-town social life for generations. Which brings me to my topic, Cheadle Hall.
Cheadle hall is a community gathering place just a mile from our ranch directly off the highway. It was an old army barracks in the 1940s that was actually taken down and moved to where it stands now, and reassembled! For years it was a dance hall, community hall, craft club, school etc. In the last 15 to 20 years activity has slowed as the generation who grew up going to functions there as children have been growing older and many folks have moved away or just otherwise dwindled in interest. It’s become an occasional place for memorial services and monthly volunteer fire fighter meetings.
A few months ago a meeting was held by the caretakers (a couple who have lived next door to Cheadle Hall since the 1970s) and a few other of the more active Cheadle Hall board members. They inquired of us “younger folks” if we would be interested in keeping Cheadle alive, or boarding her up for good. This is where my husband, in-laws, and a few close neighbor friends stepped in. We didn’t want to see this building that has such historical and sentimental meaning to the area simply go to waste. One of the issues was the cost of electricity. A minimum monthly payment of $40 is charged merely to keep it plugged in, regardless whether a switch is ever flicked or not. Membership fees were discussed, fundraisers where discussed, but what it came down to is that we simply needed to relight the fire and get the area excited for Cheadle activities and get-togethers again!
We did just that. Myself, and my family and a few neighbors planned a summer kick-off party. All it took was a cleaning crew, a newsletter, some flyers, a good connection to the local paper and by the time the party night rolled around we had the Hall filled with neighbors and friends and good food! Kids were running around indoors and out having the time of their lives and everyone was full of smiles. The party consisted of a potluck, music and dancing! Myself, my husband and his sister, along with some local musicians who are close friends of ours provided a variety of music to sing along, sit back and listen, or even get up and dance! One of our buddies who came to play music is also a reporter for the local paper and wrote up an incredible article about the history of Cheadle hall and an account of our kick off party! The event was free admission but we collected $150 in donations! Plenty to keep the Hall running for the next several months! I would say with that kind of turnout, and the happy reactions from those who attended, (and even those who couldn’t attend but contributed otherwise) that our goals to stir up some communal excitement were reached! I has several folks thank us for putting the party on and asked when the next shindig would be!
I just adore the sense of fellowship out here on the ranch and its surrounding areas. It’s so different from that which is within city limits. So when people ask, “Don’t you go crazy out on the ranch?” my answer is, “I would be crazy not to live here!” and when they ask if I ever get bored, I tell them, “Bored of what? We work hard, and party harder!” I adore the ranch life, and adore the ranching community. There are millions of wonderful places to live in the world I am sure, but I choose here. It’s where my true happiness is found and I wouldn’t change one thing about it!