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Doane: Leaving Vermont

09/15/11 5:55PM By Larry Doane
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(HOST) Commentator Larry Doane has accepted a new job that will take him away from Vermont, so he's been thinking a lot lately about the things he'll miss and the things that he'll take with him, like his appreciation of Vermont values - especially post-Irene.

(DOANE) I've been a lucky man these past few years being able to live in the Green Mountains. But, like our swiftly passing summer, my time here is ending and my next assignment beckons. So, as I pack up my life for a trek southward, I've become reflective on what I'll miss and the adaptations I'll most certainly undergo.

I'm going to have to learn that while the word ‘woodchuck' is a perfectly acceptable term here for both the creature in my garden and a fellow handy with a chainsaw, the rest of the country seems to prefer ‘groundhog'. Chainsaws are mainly the province of horror movies and the term logging is a misspelled attempt to describe posting my diary online. Additionally, I should be aware that if I make a reference to ‘The Kingdom' it is much more likely to get me a mention of Prince William than the Caledonian-Record. I recognize that in the rest of the US, mud season is not actually a recognized period of the year. Likewise, I will also learn that it's not necessary to begin preparing for winter at the end of August. Should it arise in conversation, I will prepare myself to recognize that the Real Housewives of Orange County has absolutely nothing to do with the Tunbridge World's Fair. Finally, I'll have to find the self-control not to tackle anyone I see purchasing Vermont Maid brand pancake syrup.

Yes, it's a bit of an adjustment whenever I leave Vermont behind but this is just the orbit of my life. I went away for college, but then came back home to finish my degree. Then I was off again to Fort Benning and the start of my military career. Eventually, I found my way back to Vermont and the National Guard where I first enlisted. Now I'm leaving again, DC bound this time, and who knows when I'll return. But it does seem that Vermont has a gravity all her own, inevitably drawing me back to the rolling hills and broad lake of my childhood.

But what really makes this place special isn't the place at all. It's the people. Ol' Silent Cal really nailed it when he called us ‘the brave little state of Vermont'. There's a special store of bravery here in our little corner of New England that I've come to truly cherish. Not just the bravery of her citizen Soldiers, of which I have little doubt. But the bravery of her artists, farmers or even, some days, her legislators. This brave little state is chock full of brave men and women, each following their own star regardless of the obstacles. And, frankly, when you live in a place where, on any given day, the weather might freeze, drown or bake you to death, brave is just a prerequisite. And if some day I awake to find that all my worldly convictions have come undone. I'll just turn the car north and return to these hills and find that I suddenly have courage to spare.
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