Jud’s Journal: Vermont

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Jud Hale joins us in his next installment of the New England states. This time we discuss Vermont’s common sense.


Well, we’ve been doing the States during this 75th anniversary of Yankee Publishing, the New England States. So, it brings us to Vermont. There’s a lot you could say about Vermont, but I think common sense is associated with the Vermont culture, common sense.

They had a seminar out in Utah of United States judges. It was fairly recently, and they asked him at some point during the seminar to list the criteria they used in making their judicial decisions. Thirty to 40% of judges nationwide listed common sense among those criteria for making judicial decisions; 72.4% of the Vermont judges listed common sense first.

You probably remember back in the Vietnam War, another example, when Senator Akin had a suggestion for how to deal with the war. He said, “Why don’t we bring the troops home and say we won.” That’s common sense. The country smiled, not because it was funny but it came from a Vermonter. I’ve had personal experience with common sense. I went up to Montpelier some time back doing a story about legends.

There was a legend that they used to freeze the old people in the fall up there around Montpelier and keep them frozen all winter long, so they wouldn’t have to feed them and this and that. And then, they’d thaw them out in the spring.

Okay? Well, I went up there, and I went into the general store, and there was an older couple there that were running the store. I’m doing a story for Yankee on legends. I heard about how they used to freeze the old people here in the fall, then thaw them out in the spring. Have you heard of that? And they both nodded, everyone around here has heard of that.

And I said, what I’m interested in was: do you believe it? Do you believe that they used to freeze the old people and then thaw them out in the spring, and they both nodded. They believe it. They believe the whole thing, all except for the thawing out part, they said. Common sense, Vermont.


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