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Farr: The Scale Of Things

01/28/10 7:55AM By Bruce Farr
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(HOST) After almost three years as a fulltime Vermont resident, Commentator Bruce Farr thinks he's hit on at least one of the things that make living here so worthwhile.

(FARR) I've been learning that the one of the joys of living in Vermont has to do with the scale of things.  Let me explain.  A few weeks ago, a new pizza restaurant opened in the small town where I live.  For months, we've been watching the progress of renovations to the old Victorian house sitting along Main Street, where the restaurant is located.  It's been a topic of conversation in the grocery store, at the post office, down at the hardware store.  People wondered, "Have you seen the old place?" "What kind of food are they going to be serving?"  "It's pizza, you say?"  You know, that sort of thing.

A while back and a few miles down the road in New York City, another building was getting gussied up for a restaurant grand opening.  This event generated so much excitement in the Big Apple that some movie people actually filmed an HBO documentary about the challenges the owners had to overcome to get the place up and running.  (And, by the way, anybody who's ever had the foolhardy notion to own a restaurant in New York City need only watch this movie to be persuaded otherwise.)

At the grand opening, thousands of invited guests showed up, including Mayor Bloomberg and Woody Allen and Barbara Walters.  It was a virtual "who's who" of East Coast celebrities and heavy hitters.  

I'm sure you can imagine all the finery on display for this swank occasion.  Guests were treated to mountains of gourmet food, all of it regally presented in the restaurant's grand interior spaces.

Meanwhile, back in Vermont, the new pizza joint had a grand opening of its own.  One chilly Wednesday night, a hundred or so local folks braved the weather to show up and say hello to the owner and sample some of the goods.  People in boots and scarves and ski parkas noshed on slices of "Vermonter BLT" and "Mamma Mia" and other pizza concoctions. The bartender tapped a couple of kegs, and everyone seemed in high spirits. I didn't notice too many celebrities present that evening, that is, unless you count one native son, who I think still holds a local record for skiing down the nearby mountain at a blistering pace, without once falling on his keester.

In what now seems like another lifetime, I admit that I've been to more than a few events that had a scale approaching that of the opening in New York.  At a point in my life, it seemed like something I ought to do.

But, all things being equal, I can't say that at those stellar events, I ever felt quite as excited or convivial or just among as many kindred souls as I did at the opening of our new pizza place.  

I'm not sure that this says anything truly profound about human nature, but give me a few more years here in Vermont and I might be able to figure it out.
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