NORTHEAST KINGDOM — I am thankful to have been a local newspaper reporter for 35 years this year.
I am thankful for the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who have been kind to me and patient with my questions and insatiable need for more information … just one more question …!
I am thankful to the newspaper that gave me my start, down at the Claremont NH Eagle Times, and to the newspapers that followed, first at the Peabody (Mass.) Times (it’s no more, like too many small papers), the Beverly Times (also Mass.) the Hartford Courant in my home state of Connecticut, The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, and for the past 15 years, since I chose the Northeast Kingdom as my adopted home, The Caledonian-Record.
Since the start of my journalism career, the old-school Man on the Street feature has remained a favorite of mine, and whenever my editors and publisher let me wander out with my camera and a question, often around a holiday or a major news event, the people out and about whose faces appear in the newspaper, along with their thoughts, seem to enjoy it, too.
So with another season of Thanksgiving came another chance to take to the streets with camera and notepad in hand. It was Sunday morning in the Kingdom and the question was “What are you most thankful for?”
• Dave Potter of Sharon, Vt., was in Lyndonville. He’s visiting the NEK to spend time at his brother’s hunting camp in Averill. “I’m very thankful to have my family healthy,” he said.
• Kris Anctil and Michelle Roya of Sutton, are expecting their first baby and recently bought a property with 15 acres in Sutton. Those two joyous life events were shared by each of them as reasons to be thankful. Adding to that, Kris said, “I’m thankful that I finally woke up my growth in terms of losing my ego and no longer letting the external aspects of the world dictate my happiness … It took a dark place to create a happy place … you have to experience terrible things to see the good things.”
• Martha Young of St. Johnsbury and her adult children Mevilyn Wilson and Rudolph Wilson, also of St. Johnsbury, stopped to share what they are most thankful for.
“I’m thankful for all of us being healthy and happy and at home for the holidays,” said Mevilyn.
Martha added, “I’m very grateful for the love of my children.”
Said Rudolph, “I’m grateful for my family and friends and hope they have a good holiday and enjoy it!”
• Jonathan Morrison of St. Johnsbury, working at the Price Chopper collecting carts on a brisk weekend morning, surrounded by holiday greenery already advertising the fast-approaching Christmas season, stopped for a moment to reflect on Thanksgiving.
“I’m thankful to be alive, because I’ve had 47 brain operations,” he said. He was born with hydrocephalus and epilepsy, and has battled the conditions all his life.
• Mother and daughter Evelyn Dudek and Susan Saulnier of East Burke, paused to respond.
“I’m thankful to still be alive,” said the 99-year-old Evelyn.
Susan gave a two-word answer - “My mom” - then added a few more words: “And my family and my friends that are family.”
• Ellie Houghton and Ron Moses are parents to a little girl, Shelbie, age 6, and they both said without a doubt it is for their daughter they are most thankful.
• Enjoying a Sunday morning stop at Boule, the new bakery in downtown St. J, Sally Pransky of Waterford stopped to say, “I am thankful for my kids.” She has two so far, “and one in my belly!”
• Suzanne Masland of Danville: “I am grateful for so many wonderful aspects of my life. Family is the most important, and this year we welcomed my first grandchild, Granite. Granite and his family live in California and I am so grateful that I was able to be there for his arrival, and recently when he took his first steps. He is a joy and how fortunate for me that I can enjoy my first grandchild in my late 60’s and in semi-retirement - all during a world pandemic!”
• Marie Thresher of Lyndonville: “I am most thankful for my husband, Gordon. He was my rock when I had my total hip replacement, my comfort with COVID anxiety during that time. I could not have gotten better care and compassion from anyone else. 15 years married and looking forward to more. Thank God for my husband.”
• Jesse Coté of Waterford: “I’m thankful for my friends and family, both here and abroad. If COVID has made me realize anything, it’s been that the people who support us and encourage us are something truly special to be grateful for … And we can always be grateful for ice cream!”
• Karla Elizalde, Jesse’s wife, shared this: ’’As an Ecuadorian who had the joy of fell in love with a Vermonter, despite the fact of being far from home, this year has brought me many blessings, being in a foreign country I’m very thankful to be surrounded by a wonderful family and special friends, people that have been very supportive and make me feel like home, and especially grateful for my husband who has been my greatest support!’’