Local Residents Given Dose Of Holiday Cheer
December 14, 2014 - Far Hills, NJ (AP) - In this Somerset County community, long known for its annual Far Hills Meeting Race, and for its lovely, gracious homes reflecting the affluence that makes it the third-wealthiest community in one of the wealthiest states in the country, some residents are experiencing something new for the first time this Christmas season:
People of slender means.
"I've been astonished," says Eliza Sutterthwaite-Brown, of Gladstone Road, standing on the veranda of her modest, 8000-square-foot home on 25 acres. "They sing so well."
Dr. Sutterthwaite-Brown, a noted neuro- and plastic surgeon whose practice is on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is referring to a novelty in this quiet, bucolic hamlet. A dozen hardy souls, whose homes are in North Plainfield, approximately 17 miles south and east of Far Hills and roughly $55,000 lower in annual per-capita income, have decided to show their appreciation to the Far Hills community by going door-to-door in the time-honored tradition of Christmas caroling. While Somerset County, the third-wealthiest county in the state, is home to Far Hills, it is also home to North Plainfield, a considerably less affluent city.
"We felt it was important," said John Smith, the leader of the group, "to show our appreciation to the most valuable citizens in our county - heck, our country - because they are the ones, after all, who create the many minimum-wage jobs so many of us work at. They create the wealth that trickles downward to those of us less blessed by family means. They, through their ability to donate to politicians, run our state and federal governments. Without them, we would be lost."
Dr. Sutterthwaite-Brown agreed.
"Yes, I think this is a lovely gesture on their part. After some confusion between members of the Far Hills police department and the carolers - and who could blame our police, really; we just don't see a lot of those kinds of people here - everyone has been lovely. Their renditions of 'Silent Night' and 'Good King Wenceslas' are as good as any I've heard at the Met. And their leaving of Crate & Barrel gift cards for us has just been an added, and welcome, fillip."
Mr. Smith, a PSE&G linesman and Wal-Mart greeter on weekends, said of the cards, "It was a nice touch, thought of by one of our altos in the choir - Ms. Jones suggested it, and we just all pitched in. I worked a few extra hours at Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving night and all day on Black Friday and Saturday so I could contribute. My wife definitely supported it too - she dropped off the kids with a neighbor while she took some extra shifts at the Stop & Shop in Watchung to help out."
Mr. Smith and his merry group of carolers then began their long walk down the 300-foot driveway to go on to their next house, confident in the knowledge that they were spreading some Christmas cheer to people who are truly deserving of it.