A slice of Vermont cheesecake

Chester, VT, is a quiet little village in a sleepy valley between Okemo, Bromley and Magic mountains. Its a winter wateringhole for skiers with its old-time train station, the 1858 Cummings Hardware Store, art galleries, gift shops and restaurants. So Chester isnt the sort of New England community you think of when it comes to cheesecakeat least, the pinup variety. But 12 local women, with the support of several businesses, are baring themselves for the sake of civic pride. While the discreetly nude calendar, called 2008 Chester Calendar Girls, was fresh off the press last week, it has raised some eyebrows locally. Lets be frank: Chesters girls are mature women, all apparently over the top-of-the-rollercoaster at age 40 plus; were not talking about fashion models here, but there still is ample feminine beauty pictured. These are real Vermont women with the natural flaws of age lightly airbrushed. An aside: Theres really not enough flesh revealed here to offend those of us already exposed to cable T.V. and movie nudity; most of the images professionally crafted by photographer Pam Nelliganhint at nudity by strategically covering body parts. Chesters promotional slogan proclaims Chester: Beautiful in Every Season. And the 12 women who created the calendar want to support the slogan by raising funds for local projects and promote awareness of the town. The women are not technically nude, said Miss October 2008 Julie Pierce. Theres no frontal nudity and the photos are tasteful as well as aesthetically pleasing. I think they will bring a chuckle to those who can appreciate the giddy terror we were happy to endure to do something positive for the town. Pierce, a 48-year-old Englishwoman, owns the Inn Victoria B&B in town with her husband. She appears to have enjoyed the experience of modeling. But not everyone around town is necessarily chuckling. For a few less liberal residents, the idea that local professional women would show skin to sell their town is more troubling. When it was revealed that Chester Town Manager Sue Spaulding had posed as Miss April, one Chester voter and town-meeting regular remarked, Well, I now know more about Ms. Spaulding than I do about the town budget. The English comedy movie "Calendar Girls" was a big influence to Chesters calendar ladies. Also, The Men of Maple Corners Calendar, a similar au naturel calendar, inspired the women to boldly show what few small-town women in Vermont have shown before. The calendar may be purchased directly from the calendar girls web site at www.chestercalendar.com or from Chester-area businesses.

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