Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Do Not Drink List

Thirst. That's what I remember about the last time I drank iced tea. I was about 9 years-old, and I was coming in from hours of outdoor time at our camp in North Hero. I was parched and needed something to drink. In the refrigerator was a pitcher of something that looked like apple juice. A big fan of apple juice, I put the pitcher directly to my lips and tilted.

It was at least 4 huge gulps before I realized that whatever I was drinking was not apple juice. I gagged, choked, and got iced tea up my nose. I never touched iced tea since (and haven't had much apple juice either).

Until this week. On a visit to the McKains in New Haven, Ruth offered me something that looked like iced tea. When I declined, she said it was just "mint water" -- water that had had been steeped with mint leaves. I -- because I am so open-minded -- said I'd give it a try. Pretty good -- and very refreshing! We got to talking, and I realized that this is basically what iced tea is: water with a few tea leaves steeping in it for awhile. I wondered if I had been missing out?

Yesterday morning, I put 4 or 5 bags of my green "energy" tea (yes, it's caffeinated) in a quart of water and left it on the windowsill. When I came home from work, I put it in the refrigerator. This morning, I gave it a try. Pretty good -- and refreshing too.

I'm not sure, but I may be ready to remove iced tea from the "Do not drink" list.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

State Slogan Envy

It's never good to envy your neighbor. But I admit it... as a Vermonter, I've always been a bit jealous of New Hampshire. Not because of their mountains (although they are higher...). Or because I think they're a better state (I don't -- after all, what's New Hampshire but Vermont upside-down?).

Rather, I have always secretly envied their state slogan -- Live Free or Die. The truth is, Vermont's slogan -- Freedom and Unity -- has always seemed just a bit... tame... in comparison to our neighbor's more in-your-face mantra.

That is, until some college kids came to our town and started a new farm. "Have you been to the F.U.?" everyone kept asking.

Once I realized I wasn't being flipped off, I always answered the same: "What's the F.U.?"

It's the "Freedom and Unity Farm" located on Bridge Street in Richmond -- otherwise known as the F.U. The emergence of Richmond's F.U. has given me a whole new perspective on Vermont's motto -- which I now love.

The motto originally appeared on the official seal of the Republic of Vermont (above) in 1788. Ira Allen drew the seal and is generally credited with the motto too. Ethan Allen, founder of the Green Mountain Boys, had appealed repeatedly to the Continental Congress for admission into the union, but they shot him down. So I enjoy picturing the Allen brothers settling upon this motto as a little wave to the rest of the neighborhood. And kudos to Tom Chittenden and the rest of the 14th state's founding fathers for holding onto the slogan.

So F.U., New Hampshire. Who needs your tired old slogan anyway?