Pudding Hill Pete 2013

I trudged up to Pudding Hill Thursday for my annual visit with Pudding Hill Pete. The wind was blowing gale force as I beat on his door trying to get his attention. Finally he opened the door and said, "Git your butt in here so's I can shut the door afore the wind wreaks the house." And without saying hi or asking how I was doing, he said, "What da ya bring me?"

Knowing I would never get the interview without loosening Pete up, I had come prepared and handed him a bottle of Eden Vermont Ice Cider.

Pete grabbed it, quickly opened it, and took a long swig. "Man that is good," he said. "I never had any of that before. Where'd it come from?"

When I told him it was made up in West Charleston he said, "I gotta get up to see how they do that."

Pete sat down with his bottle of Eden Ice so I took the liberty of sitting also although he didn't invite me. Soon the talk turned to weather which was near 50 Thursday morning and felt a bit like spring.

Pete mentioned that warm spring weather brought bears out of hibernation and that Governor Shumlin should be reminded to, "Pay attention to what your Fish and Wildlife Department has been sayin for years. Take in your bird feeders and clean up around them in the spring to avoid bear problems."

He chuckled as he recounted the tales about the governor's close encounter with a bear raiding his bird feeder last year.

It seems that one night the Governor was awakened by four bears at his bird feeders. "So what did he do? Why he jumped out of bed and ran outside barefooted and some say buck naked to scare them away.

"One of the bears was a sow with two cubs. Most Vermonters know you don't mess with a sow who has cubs with her. The Governor now knows that. Apparently his Fish and Wildlife Commissioner had failed to brief him on bears with cubs and how bird feeders are like candy stores to bears in the spring.

"Accordin to what Governor Shumlin told the editorial board of the Valley News, one of the bears charged him on the porch and he barely made it into the house unscathed.

"Governors get special treatment from many, but no one told the bears or perhaps they are not impressed by titles."

As it was an election year, I asked if he thought the Republicans had baited the bears. He replied, "I don't know about the rest of them Republicans but I checked and can say with some assurance that Lt. Governor Phil Scott was not involved in any way. He is in no hurry to become governor. Maybe the Progressives were involved."

I told Pete that Fish & Wildlife thinks there are too many bears in some areas and has extended the season to cut back on the number of bears.

Pete scoffed at that and replied, "Heck, the reason all those bears are coming down out of the hills is those wind towers. They can't get any peace with all the noise from the turbines and them protesters always trompin around.

"Hey speakin of wind towers how about that hoax that had a photo of wind towers on Lake Champlain. Sure got them tree huggin, high top sneaker wearin, tofu eatin people in the socialist republic of Burlington upset. They like towers on our mountains in the Kindgdom but don't want their view of the lake spoiled.

"You met Joe Bertolino the new LSC president yet? He pops up everwhere, even stopped by here to introduce himself. Nice guy even if he is a flatlander.

"Speakin about colleges, how about them knuckleheads at the University of Tennessee who give each other alcohol enemas. What a waste of good booze. And it sounds like it can kill you.

"I'll bet them students on Vail Hill are smarter than that.

"Talk about dumb ideas, what about that faux pas Public Safety Commissioner Flynn and Motor Vehicles Commissioner Ide made last July. The two local men got a bit ahead of the Governor with their no tolerance speed enforcement announcement. They got slapped on their hands by Governor Shumlin who called the proposed level of enforcement 'idiotic' and 'irrational exuberance.'"

Taking another long swig, Pete Paused and then spat out, "Dumb ideas, why that's about all is comin out of St. J under the rule of the Rusty Troika. Things ain't much better over in Dalton.

"Then down in Bradford you got them water board boneheads doin their best to keep the public in the dark. They eliminated fluoride from the water supply in the spring and never told anyone, only fessin up after a local doc found out and challenged em. Then they tried to avoid lettin the voters decide.

"They ain't too bright at times down in Concord either. They's considerin sellin namin opportunities for state properties.

"What da ya think it is worth to rename Mt. Washington? Bethlehem has Mt. Casella, but I bet the company would rather have its name on the highest mountain in the northeast."

As 2012 was an election year, I asked Pete what he thought about the various outcomes. He surprised me by starting off talking about Quebec.

"Don't think I will be crossin the border much in the near future. PQ leader Pauline Marios was elected premier and surely made me and my friends in the Eastern Townships nervous. If she manages to put in place many of the things she promised durin the campaign, we anglophones will not be overly welcome in Quebec."

"Could you believe it? New England gave no electoral vote to Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor with a summer home in New Hampshire.

"Republicans took a real drubbin. All U.S. House members from the six New England states are now Democrats. New England now has only two Republican senators and only one Republican governor.

"New Hampshire Democrats trounced the Republicans as voters threw out 75 incumbent house members. They elected Democrat Maggie Hassan as governor and two Democrats as congressman and one as senator.

"Our own Vince Illuzzi was defeated in his run for statewide office. Maybe he shoulda stayed in the Senate. Oh well, at least he won't starve now that he is a lobbyist over in Montpeculiar."

I agreed that the Republicans did not have much to be grateful for.

Gary Moore, of Bradford, is an outdoors columnist for The Record.

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