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Blog“Just Over the Hilltop”

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Today is Town Meeting Day in Vermont! But, you say, we are in New York and what does that have to do with us? “Democracy being practiced in its purist form” according to a reporter of times past and I will elaborate on this in the “Kitchen Table Talk” later in the journal.

First I want to impose my joyful optimism to you through the sights and smells of this last week. Dick surprised me with spring’s first bouquet of pussy willows from a nearby wet area. He has been watching and waiting for the right time to gather our springtime tradition and it has always brightened the month of March. This year is no different.

Spring smells

I smelled a skunk recently and we saw one last night on our way to Eric’s for Bible study. A pretty good sign of optimism during the cold, windy days of March. And we did have a few cold days which I believe usually makes March feel like the coldest time of winter. With the winds and the dampness in the air, a chill settled into the house that is not felt the rest of the winter months. I needed to put on a sweater and blanket while watching Matlock on television.

a chill settled into the house that is not felt the rest of the winter months

Of course there is also the smell of maple syrup this season and I was blessed to make a maple cake with maple frosting for a special order from “Sharon’s Kitchen.” It was a former customer’s birthday and he requested lemon poppy seed muffins and my maple cake. I enjoy making baked goods special just for you!

Writers’ group had a new guest join us this week and we hope she will return with some of her writings and become a part of this eclectic group of local writers. We are unique in all our ways and writings!

The website for Rose of Sharon was down for almost six days and I missed seeing it when I connected to the internet. Not only that, but I couldn’t send out last week’s journal through the blog page or change out the pictures and update the site. My trusty web builder, Pete, was able to get her up and running again so if you’d like to see the new spring look on the site: check out www.roseofsharonbnb.com.

Democracy in small towns

Kitchen Table Talk: ….. Remember my telling you of my Dad’s saying that “most problems are solved around the kitchen?” Well, every year on the first Tuesday of March, New Englanders get together over their “Kitchen Table” by way of a Town Meeting. This is the day that voters bring their grievances, tend to the business of the town, and greet neighbors for a much needed outing from the long Vermont winter. Municipal officers are elected, annual budgets approved, and any other business conducted. A moderator oversees the oftentimes all day meeting, lunch is provided by the Grange, a church, or other organization, and when I was in 4-H, we provided child care so moms could also attend. It was a state holiday with no school.

town meetings are democracy being practiced in its purist form

Each town has an executive arm of their town government called selectmen. There can be three to five selectmen in each town. Back in the early seventies I ran for the position of town selectmen in Whitingham one year. I had been covering and reporting town events and board meetings for the Brattleboro Reformer for a while and thought I might like to get involved in serving the town as a selectman. I was young, definitely inexperienced, and didn’t expect to win though I very much enjoyed going house to house talking and visiting with the town people about their concerns. It was a great overall experience and I did get some votes but don’t remember the total. As usually happens when a disappointment comes – I later realized that it was good that I didn’t win. I wasn’t ready for a job with that kind of responsibility.

Anyway, I still miss town meeting day and wish we had them here in New York because as I quoted at the beginning of this journal, “town meetings are democracy being practiced in its purist form.” I have included Norman Rockwell’s painting of a New England Town Meeting for this week’s journal. His paintings of American life were real. I lived them. (Sorry that the gentlemen’s head is not seen, but you can see the rapt attention of the others in the meeting)

Maybe we don’t have a town meeting, but we do have a kitchen table. Can we talk and reason together around it? Love, Sharon