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An ode to Mary

Mary Newton worked hard for many years - 40 is what they say - at Lackey's Variety Store in Stowe. She wouldn't hear of taking a day off to get away with her husband Bernie until late October, when those coming to Stowe to see all things country-cute had come and gone.

Mary never missed work because of sickness to my knowledge. She viewed sickness as something that, akin to tourists, would eventually be gone if you stayed the course.

Mary's ability to speak the truth, at all times, was exceptional.

"Hey Mary, the new street lights in the village? I don't think we need em, do you?"

"Well course, I don't know - really, I mean," she'd reply, not offending your opinion.

"But Mary, I've lived here for 40 years and I have yet to get lost on Main Street. We don't need 'em."

Mary would say: "Well, I guess I see your point there. Yah. Course it iz hard ta get lost on Main Street."

Mary was socially gifted, because if for some reason you had cause to question your own thinking - "But then again Mary, I'm surprised how good the street lights look, and, well, these days folks like to feel more safe" - Mary would ride the swell: "Well, yah, I mean, course that's true, too."

I'd rarely pass up an opportunity to stop by the house to see Mary, Bernard, and their son Russ.

A solid knock on the door would elicit a chime from Mary - "Come in!" - and I'd step through the doorway and see her rocking, in her chair, head back turned toward me, and smiling. "Just leave your shoes on Rusty, that's alright," she'd say.

As I'd be getting settled on the living room couch, Mary would do something that is one of the most respectful things one can do for a guest: She'd reach for the remote and shut off the T.V. For that move alone, Mary deserved the U.S. Medal of Freedom.

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