Island Pond, also known as Brighton, is a quiet little town in the far north reaches of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Formerly a bustling railroad town with a busy main street, lumberyards and an Ethan Allen Furniture manufacturing plant, Island Pond is now best known as one of the snowmobiling capitals of the east…or perhaps better known for it’s controversial town constable, Teddy Miller.
Any Northeast Kingdom local from St. Johnsbury to Newport and all points in between knows the name “Teddy Miller” and probably has a story to tell. Teddy is famous (or infamous depending upon one’s point of view) for aggressive enforcement of motor vehicle violations in or about the Island Pond area. Some people claim to have been ticketed for minor infractions such as air fresheners hanging from rear view mirrors, traveling at 2 or 3 mph over the posted speed limit, accidentally making the wrong turns on one-way streets and the list goes on. One story claims that a local teenager was injured in a snowmobile accident. A friend of the injured teen on another snowmobile, rode along the roadside to get to a phone quickly in order to summon help for his injured companion. Supposedly, Miller asked the person seeking help how he got to a phone so quick. He was rewarded with a ticket for illegally riding a snowmobile along a roadway. This is just one local story and there are many more. Which ones are hard facts and which are “rural legends” are subject to debate. In any case, Teddy Miller has become a legend whether he intended to or not. He is also the topic on many Internet travel websites and snowmobiling forums.
I was a UPS driver for several years and Island Pond was on my daily route. I have to say that I really enjoyed the people of Island Pond and found them very friendly, helpful and accommodating. I delivered packages to Teddy Miller’s home on occasion. I also spoke with him several times when both of us were having lunch at Jennifer’s Restaurant. He seemed like a pleasant enough person and nothing indicated a “Barney Fife” type personality that some have tagged him with.
In two years time, as a UPS driver, I never had a problem with Teddy. Perhaps it was because my delivery route throughout Island Pond just happened to coincide with his lunch hour (UPS drivers know everything!), when I knew he wasn’t out and about. I never got the feeling that he would ticket me but just the same, I was always a bit more vigilant while in Island Pond. Not an easy task for a UPS driver with time commitments. It’s been a number of years now and I can’t help but wonder if things would be different if I drove through Island Pond in my own car. I’m sure he has forgotten who I am. In any case, on the rare occasion that I do make a trip to Island Pond, I do tend to be extra careful when driving through town.
I might even use my old UPS tricks and drive by Teddy’s house to make sure his cruiser is parked and he’s home for lunch!