Published in News and Citizen 6-23-15

-- Around Town --

After 40 Years -- Thanks J.B.

     In the 40 years I have been newspapering around town things and the people I see and write about have really changed. For example WLVB (which didn’t exist) was the Helen Blaze gift shop, Arthur’s and Ben Franklin were alive and well as stores. We still had a Grand Union and Price Chopper was yet to be. McDonald’s was a leap for us all.     We shopped at Peck’s Pharmacy and Green Mountain Pharmacy. We still had a bowling alley.
     Now we either have or soon will have multiple pretty big box drug stores, two large grocery chains, multiple banks, Chinese (!) restaurants, the Bypass, and a declining student population.
     Yes, things have changed. Morristown, Jeffersonville, Stowe and Johnson have stretched out their centers with commercial development. Towns have updated their infrastructure such as water and sewers and bridge replacement. Morristown has gone from a one or two man police force to a nine? man department. We’ve gone from a sheriff, who rocked on his porch, to a real department.
     We were all pretty happy 40 years ago and I guess we all are now,  but one can’t deny things are different.
For this reporter and editor the downhill drive into Morrisville, either from McKinistry Hill in Hyde Park or from Elmore, offers the same chance to cut fresh tracks in the snow. It offers views I often take for granted of our Green Mountains dappled in cloud shadows or wreathed in Alpine glow. I get crystal clear long views on petrofyingly cold mornings and breath-taking looks at near dawn crystals of shining dew on spiderwebs hanging from trees. After work, I roll down the windows and get the fecund smell of spread manure and a blast of new mown hay. I enjoy the special kind of green that spring leaves and grasses give the meadows and hillsides. In fall, the colors are almost too much – I often take them for granted.
     Forty years have taught me that Vermont is not a land of plenty, but it has plenty to satisfy the working man.