That’s either a Biblical paraphrase or a Microsoft credo. Either
way, as your host joins you in this holiday countdown and the
waning days of 1997, it’s time for a fireside chat. Besides, I
wouldn’t be much of a humorist if I didn’t wax nostalgic right
You’ve probably all seen the Budwiser commercial: the
regal-footed Clydesdales hauling the beer wagon along a snowy
country road, the picture postcard views of snug houses, frosty
window panes and rock bridges...and in the background the jingle
bell jingle has you humming “When You Say Bud” like a Christmas
carol, as the King Of Beers rides to dethrone the King Of Kings.
We were here in Vermont when it was filmed ten years ago.
We stood outside the village store on Main Street as the mighty
equestrian team prepared to parade the Anheiser Busch rolling icon
past us into its eternal 30-second ad. We waited. We waited some
more. We waited most of the day. We are accustomed to this.
There are no such things as long waits in the country. There are
It’s called Main Street not because it is Main Street. It’s the
MAIN STREET. Here, turning up or down a road has nothing to
do with elevation, and turning off a road means one thing coming,
but turning on to it means another thing going. These are
unspecified compass points, not hipness meters.
Simpler, yet sublime living to be sure, but I’m going for the true
meaning of Christmas & New Year’s here. Just think of this as a
sneak frontal assault on King Beer’s Muzak.
Thus, if you all go along past the post office, turn-up by the old
tavern, turn-down by the new school house, turn-off when you see
the porch with the wicker goose flowerbox, and turn-on to the next
driveway with the blue mailbox, you’ll get here.
Careful, there’s a green one just before you come to it. It looks
blue, but it’s really an off-brown.
Driving in the country is what would happen if Yogi Berra made
The nearest traffic light is either twenty miles away or “two
towns over.” The longest distance between two points is something
to treasure. You never wait until the well runs dry to miss your
water. Good neighbors help you make good fences. And you,
Nothing travels as the crow flies except crows...and your dog
chasing the postmistress’s cat. Everything goes the long way ‘round
the barn except cows.
We once lived across the way in a house called Green Hollow
Farm, not because it was Green Hollow Farm, rather we just liked
to call it that (across the way is somewhere between a hoot ‘n holler
and a fair piece). If you’d sent mail to us addressed to Green
Hollow Farm, it was delivered, assuming our dog never caught the
mail cat. But, that’s the point.
He wasn’t supposed to.
Out here, it’s the chasing, not the catching.
The whole point of country living is like fishing. You don’t go
fishing to catch a fish. You go fishing to go fishing. I remember
once seeing the cat stop in mid-pursuit, apparently tiring of the
game. It had a clear two hydrangea-bush jump on the dog and was
pulling away, but suddenly it just stopped and turned around.
The dog went berserk, grinding to a halt on his nose, then
dropped stone-still into a prostrate silence...and the cat walked
away. It was the first time I ever saw animal politics. The dog
skulked back across the yard, trying to hide it’s humiliation when it
“It’s alright, Elwin,” he said, bravely (I speak Dog). “I may have
chased the cat out of the country, but not the country out of the
cat. We’ll be at it again tomorrow.” He knew I knew he’d been
stupefied, but I knew he knew I understood. Besides, he was right.
The second time was waiting for the Clydesdales to tug the brew
down Main Street. They chomped at the bit and strained in their
harnesses, nostrils blowing steam, hoofs tapping the pavement.
Atop the wagon, the Budwiser Dalmatian riding shotgun was
getting nervous and the two shivering actors were trying their best
to not look like shivering actors. All around them, the film crew
was doing what film crews do before filming.
To me, it looked like a roadside construction crew working a
state contract. Ten guys leaning on shovels and standing around a
hole in the ground. One guy in the hole doing the digging.
The horses could’ve cared less what they were hauling, and were
starting to bicker amongst themselves (I speak Horse).
“Hey!” said one in the lead team. “Can we get this done
sometime this year? It’s bad enough that everyone thinks all we’re
good for is lugging beer around the countryside. Let’s go!”
“Oh, yeah?” said one from the rear team. “Why don’t you try
the view from back here?”
“No talking in the ranks!” barked the Dalmatian.
“Shut up, you crazy critters!” thought the freezing actors (I
When, right then, an old man standing next to us leaned over
slightly to say something to his wife (I speak Country).
“Well, Emily,” he said soberly. “They STAND pretty good, eh?”
With that, Mr. Father Time took Mrs. Christmas Eve’s hand,
and we raced back to Green Hollow to crank out a few snow angels.
The TV beer was eventually delivered, but back here in our short
stay through the long winter...we’re still cutting to the chase.
Marching and standing pretty good.
Happy holidays to all.
Drinks are on us.
Copyright 1997 B. Elwin Sherman. www.toolkitinparadise.com All rights reserved.
W H Y C O P S H A T E Y O U <<<<&l <
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Have you ever been stopped by a traffic cop and, while he was
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