Seems like most everybody’s got something to say about something. Other’s…well they ain’t saying nah-thin, so even if they did speak up, wouldn’t be anyone paying no mind! This page is the way I see things from my way of looking at things. Maybe it ain’t your cup of tea or maybe you will take a shine to it. Anyway, whether it’s complaining or complimenting this is where it all happens. So park yourself right he-ah and read this. If you don’t like it stop reading and poke around somewhere else.
Kids on Leashes
One day, I was perusing around the University Mall in S. Burlington and I noticed a woman with a kid on a leash. Whenever little Lord Fauntleroy would wander off into the crowd, the lady would reel him in like a small, feisty, lake trout. It’s funny because I’ve seen these used on dogs. Ironically, I think these have a better use for kids than dogs, which tend to be better behaved.
The Granite Fish of Newport, VT
Awhile back somebody from Barton or Orleans got pulled over for a stop sign violation in Newport. Apparently, he did something wrong at that damn crazy intersection on Main St. His comment was to the effect that “I don’t come to Newport for much of anything. Matter of fact, the only good thing about Newport is that granite fish in front of the new State office building”. While I don’t share his general opinion about Newport, I do think that the stone fish is one helluva tourist attraction.
The famous granite fish of Newport, VT
The following gems are presented with permission, courtesy of Alex Beam of the Boston Globe.
The Champlain Valley High School, whose sports teams had been known as the Crusaders, recently changed their name to the Redhawks, for reasons of political correctness. But an enterprising resident of Williston discovered a revolver named the Redhawk. ”Now that the Redhawk name is linked to guns, I do, in fact, find this totally offensive,” Hazel Winter wrote to the Burlington Free Press.
How about calling them the Wobblies? That couldn’t offend anyone.
Elsewhere in the letters pages, this time in The Barre Montpelier Times Argus, the debate rages over pollution caused by . . . July 4 fireworks. A reader had complained that the display was nothing more than sound pollution, which prompted this response from Dave Shepard of Middlesex: ”Speaking of pollution, I wonder if he is aware of the fact that the smoke consists mainly of toxic dusts that enter all of our lungs. Not to mention that the sounds are damaging to domesticated animals and wildlife.”
Did someone mention wildlife? That leads me to:
The state’s Transportation Agency has for the third time erected 1,000 feet of silk fences alongside Route 2 in Milton. Why? To keep leopard frogs from hopping onto the road. We’ll let Chris Slesar, state environmental specialist and archeologist, explain the situation: ”People riding bikes were just appalled,” he told the Associated Press. ”On a rainy night, this road will be slick with dead frogs.” Yuck! This place must be cursed.
Surely there must be something good to say about a state with 620,000 souls in residence. I was impressed with the spotty cellphone coverage. No one ever tries to reach me, but if they did try, they would fail. Also, it was news to me that Vermont has been a center of UFO activity: ”During a five year period in the Green Mountains of Vermont,” X-Project Paranormal Magazine reported, ”10 people have disappeared without a trace in an area of woods known for mysterious creatures, strange lights, and spooky specters.”
A Rose By Any Other Name
or should I call this “too many chiefs and no Indians”? Have you noticed that everybody has a fancy title these days? Sales clerks are now “associates”. The garbage man is now into “waste management”. Ever been into stores like Best Buy? Practically every store employee is now a “manager of”…something! Looks like corporate America has found the perfect way to pacify the natives. Ironically enough, these fancy titles do not necessarily come along with a pay raise. Call me whatever you want but I’d rather you show me the money. Until then, I guess I’m satisfied with the title of President, King and Corporate Executive of Absolutely Nothing. That should spice up the resume!
Hunt’n’ Season…stand still while I shoot that Porkypine off your head!
Let’s face it, after a day of tromping through the woods and fields of the Northeast Kingdom without so much as a glance of that elusive 10 pointer, the boys get a little trigger happy! That’s when road signs throughout the area quake in terror. Yup, that leapin’ black deer on that yellow road sign is dead meat. It’s downright tough to find a sign without a few, well placed, bullet holes in it. Although these days, those backyard styrofoam bucks seem to be taking the heat instead.
“Mary In A Bathtub”
One of the things that has always peaked my interest are those makeshift “shrines” that a lot of folks have on their front lawns. There’s something about an upturned, half-buried bathtub next to the rose bush, that looks just a tad peculiar. Mary, Mother of Jesus, in all her glory spreads her hands benevolently underneath where the faucet used to flow. Added bonus – Christmas lights around the rim of the tub in the winter!
…speaking of Christmas lights
Always nice to see the lights still strung around the front porch in July. At least most people have common sense enough to turn them off by April though! Even worse than the lights are the brown, decaying wreaths that looked so festive back in December.
Bread & Puppet Theatre
Real Vermonters confess to being a bit perplexed and even afraid of the odd troupe of city dwellers who descended upon the Green Mountains back in the “hippie days”. Although their yearly festivals used to draw many, many people from God knows where, someone was killed back around 1998 and that put a stop to it all. (Probably a good thing that it ended. Too many oddballs were desecrating nearby graveyards, stealing from local stores, etc.) One Vermonter I spoke with told me that he brought his family to a festival one summer and it wasn’t the Disney-esque experience they were expecting. In fact, his kids were scared and he thought the whole thing was a bit too bizarre for his liking. Although I never attended one of their festivals, their brightly colored, larger than life puppets always added a lot to local parades.
Proof that community spirit still survives! For an old railroad town that’s seen the glory days long since past, the people there are about the nicest, most helpful throughout the Northeast Kingdom. It’s the kind of place where even strangers are made to feel welcome. Just be very careful to obey the speed limits and traffic signs, because Teddy might be watching!
Island Pond is also the home to a community church group that has been accused of being a cult, beating their children and several other controversies. As a former UPS driver, I can tell you that these were some of the nicest people I have ever met. Their children were extremely well-mannered, pleasant and happy to help someone out. Certainly didn’t look abused to me. Contrast that to the spoiled, local high-school brats I used to see hanging out in front of Dane’s Store in Charleston, smoking cigarettes and swearing like sailors on leave.
Moonlight in Vermont or starve
Despite a stagnant economy, the housing market is tighter than a drum. Even the Northeast Kingdom, with traditionally lower than average prices, is getting right up there along with the rest of the country. Both rents and purchase prices far exceed area wages. Moonlight in Vermont or starve, live in a box, etc. Even worse in the Burlington area. Imagine trying to pay the mortgage on a $200,000 home while earning $8.00 per hour.
The Newport bike path
Long needed and a great asset. A lake as beautiful as Memphremagog should be enjoyed by everyone not just the privileged few. Thank you to the folks who supported this wonderful resource!
Welcome to our…Fish Heads?
One of my Northeast Kingdom neighbors used to hang fish heads on his garage door. Yup, fish heads! Although I never did ask why, the sight of 15 to 20 gaping mouth bass, walleyes and occasional pickerel was definitely unique. One day, a couple guys were delivering fuel oil, pointing at the fish heads and laughing like hell. You’d have thought they’d never seen a fish head before!
…and the rich get richer
Remember the days, not too long ago, when there were half a dozen department stores on Main St., Newport? Back when a job was fairly easy to come by if you were serious about working? When “lay-off” meant you’d probably go back to work when things improved? Back when an apartment rental was a week’s pay instead of three? It’s really a shame to see once self-sufficient towns throughout the state dry up like ghost towns. Meanwhile, trying to start a new business costs a fortune and if you ain’t got big bucks to begin with, you’re out of luck. The “middle class” is shrinking faster than the sugaring season!
Not whatever accent that “Logger” guy is trying to put forth. I’m sure it’s entertaining and all in fun but if you’d rather hear the real thing, talk to any of the old-time natives.
Vermonter’s certainly do have their own “accent”, so don’t let it take you by surprise when you here someone reply “Is THAT roight?” or “Bring that over he-ah!”. But then again, it’s not really any different from the folks in New York who “need a drink of wotta” or the Patriots in “Baaston”….roight???
Prouty Beach – Newport, VT.
Something about all those damn campers that makes it look like Woodstock every summer. Sure do miss the days when the space was taken up by summer carnivals and fourth of July celebrations. Speaking of which, things aren’t as fun as the days when the Jaycees and other organizations were around. What happened to community spirit and pulling together?
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