We’re used to having a lot of visitors in Vermont. This year they’re staying longer. A lot longer. Many are fleeing the cities to our villages, where they find peace, quiet and safety for their families. More than a few are moving here permanently.
We locals are excited to have new families in town. It’s uplifting to see new faces at the grocery store and new kids in school. We also smile, knowing that these newcomers—like generations of city transplants before them—have yet to discover the requirements of country living. The most crucial thing to understand is that the strength of every small town is in its people.
For example, our plumbers, electricians and mechanics are essential. If your pipes freeze during an Easter cold snap; or your generator fails during a brown-out; or your “all-season” tires send you into a ditch in a dusting of snow, these folks are your main line of defense between comfortable living and certain misery. If you’re an early riser you’ll see them in the morning having coffee at the gas station. In fact, these same folks often help run the town, for they are the volunteer Fire Department, Rescue Squad, and the Town Select Board. In a small town, you’ll find allies in surprising places.
Likewise, our nurses hold the town together. Doctors are vital but in rural places there are very few of them. The nurses do most of the heavy lifting and cover an impossibly broad span of medical knowledge and responsibility. They also comfort us, bestow kindness upon our children, and carry a surplus of optimism when we are in short supply.
In our village there is an unspoken rule: assume the person you’re talking to is related to the person you’re talking about. We’re all connected here whether we feel that way or not. We share common interests by necessity and have learned the hard way that no one here gets by on their own. We help one another—for that is what Vermonters do. In fact, the spirit of small-town living is hidden in plain sight—right on our state flag: freedom and unity. It’s a principle we’re proud to uphold.
The Orton Family,
Gardner, Cabot, Eliot, Lyman
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