Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Silly Search for the "Real" Vermont

Tomorrow is our last full day in Vermont on our family summer vacation.  The Vermont Country Store in Rockingham is about four miles from the riverside cabin we are renting. I had the sense today that I must visit before I leave Vermont.  Why? I keep thinking I need to have a quintessential Vermont experience. In reality, I have been having "Vermont experiences" all week - from the stench of cow manure that wafts over to our cabin from the dairy farm next door to spending time with friends and relatives and having them share the challenges they face in their workplaces and in their families. This is what's real.

That said, the idea that I had to visit Vermont Country Store to get a good taste of the Green Mountain State is more than slightly ridiculous. We have spent time in actual country stores all week.

Today, for example, we met up with friends at the South Woodstock Country Store. Retired friends live in South Woodstock, where cell service is nonexistent. So we stopped by the store to use their landline to call our friends so they could meet us there.

Once Greg called our friends, we bought some of that corn and waited in the rocking chairs on the front porch of the store for them to show up. Here is what I thought about as we waited, as a lawn mower buzzed in the background and an elderly Vermonter chatted us up.

How much of what we experience is filtered through the idea of that experience instead of the thing itself? How often do those preconceptions cloud the reality of what has been put in front of us?

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