Only In Vermont

To show our support for the local fire company, the three of us went to the annual chili cook-off at Nectar’s (the house that Phish built) this past Saturday. For five bucks we got to sample some twenty-two wildly varied pots of beans and meat. Some were real winners—the sirloin beef slow-cooked with dark chocolate was a hit for me. Loy, being Loy, tended toward the more sweet-tasting of the contenders—but raisins and baked beans mixed in with some cumin? Please. Victor liked the venison chili, but I was less taken by the taste of the chili than by the fact that the chef served it up using a leg bone from the deer he shot himself. I especially loved the two bearded guys (looking like they had spent the night smoking both pot and stew meat) who made their expertly-spiced chili with turkey, duck,, and beef, then threw a slice of sweet juicy pineapple on top. It was while I was loitering at this particular table, eating my second (okay: my third) sample, that I recognized the man standing next to me. “Hi, Pete,” I said with a snappy familiarity, immediately apologizing a nanosecond later. “Oh, god, I’m so sorry. I mean, hello Governor Shumlin.”


The highest elected political official in our small state smiled and shook his head. “No; that’s alright!” he said. “It’s my name. Feel free to use it.” I swallowed the bite of food I’d taken, threw the plastic cup in the trash and walked off, feeling the burn from both the cayenne and the embarrassment, slowly fade away.

One thought on “Only In Vermont

  1. I once had a nicely-dressed man walk up to me, say hello, and shake my hand. I said nothing. Noting my blank face, he leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, “I’m the governor.” I still had nothing to say.


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