What a difference a year makes!
A year ago with an expected blizzard still approaching at noon, son Graham who is Weathersfield Town Moderator, and Flo Ann Dango, Town Clerk, had to make a decision.
Should they go ahead and hold town meeting at 7:30 as scheduled, or should they cancel as so many Vermont towns were in the process of doing?
They chose to go ahead.
The storm arrived in Weathersfield at about 3 in the afternoon.
By the time Graham and I, and daughter Elizabeth up from North Carolina to “see democracy at work”, left the house in the truck, you could not, as the saying goes, see your hand in front of your face, much the less the road.
Daughter-in-law Susan opted to stay at home so there would surely be one member of the Hunter family alive to vote on Tuesday.
In Weathersfield, town meeting alternates between the Middle School in Ascutney and the elementary school in Perkinsville. This year it was in Perkinsville.
Graham maneuvered the Titanic, his name for our truck, down the winding road to Perkinsville.
As we crossed the Stoughton Pond causeway, the wind whipped across the open area threatening to carry the truck, plow, and occupants with it.
For once we blessed the mammoth size of that truck.
Outside the school, we had no problem finding a parking place.
The few citizens who had dared the elements had, like us, almost without exception, arrived in trucks, with plows.
By the time Graham brought down the gavel at 7:30, there were 23 citizens of Weathersfield on hand.
There are more than 1700 on our check-list.
Somehow, the law of averages was at work, and the usual number of questionners seemed to be present, pointing out figures that didn’t add up and asking for clarification on obscure points.
In Weathersfield we decide all money questions by Australian Ballot the day following the Monday meeting, so that most of the discussion on Monday night is for informational purposes only.
It seems to me that the Australian ballot system guarantees a larger voter turn-out, but it also guarantees a larger number of uniformed voters.
Although returning home was all up hill, it seemed a lot easier than going to the meeting.
Yes, what a difference a year makes.
Already this year I have made 4 gallons of Fancy grade maple syrup. Last year I wasn’t even able to boil until March 17th.
In spite of the deep snow cover that surrounded the maples last year, it was a miserable sugar season for most of us.
This year, with ground almost bare, the season is off to a fantastic start.
This is a matter that is not settled at Town Meeting.
This is Edith Hunter on the Center Road.
–Edith Hunter is a writer and historian who lives in Weathersfield Center, Vermont.