It has been an amazingly busy summer. I've gotten married, sold my house, moved my worldly goods and plotted how to best transfer my business from the corporeal world into cyberspace.
My fiancee has been away for the year, serving a fellowship with a major medical institution...somewhere around last Christmas, they offered her a job.
However, an MD and four years of residency was obviously not enough, and so they want to send her to the United Kingdom for a year to receive specialized training.
Since we've had MORE than enough time apart this last year, we decided that I would go with her. We also decided that we had waited long enough, and so, this summer we tied the knot. (Thanks to Heather at Gourmet Knitting Disaster for the photos.)
Now, with the move complete, we are awaiting our departure date.
While I'm excited to spend a year in the UK, the prospect of leaving my beloved Vermont for three years is not a welcome one.
After all, Vermont is truly unique...in addition to being the only state that George W. Bush has not visited, despite the fact that it has a proportionally high number of it's citizens serving in his Iraqi War; it is also one of the few places in the country where democracy really seems to work. One of the reasons for this, I believe, lies in the fact that those who hold office are never far from those who send them into office.
An example: A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on Church Street eating my lunch and reading the newspaper. The front page article (picked up from the AP, so, a national story) detailed the terrier-like efforts of the Senate Judiciary Committee to call all of the President's Men (and some of his women) to justice. This committee is, of course, lead by our own Senator Patrick Leahy.
As I put down my paper, I glanced over and saw a tall man with a shiny pate walking alongside his wife. "My god," I thought, "that's Pat Leahy."
The last time I met Pat Leahy was in my recording studio when he, his wife Marcelle, and the late and much missed Liz Jeffords recorded the audio for what Philip Baruth rightly calls "The Best Campaign ad of 2006" on behalf of Peter Welch.
It was a special occasion. Liz Jeffords and my grandparents struck up a friendship, over the years- partially because they were neighbors, and partially because they often met in the doctors office while both Liz and my grandma battled illness. This friendship is, in itself, a typically Vermont story: the wife of a US Senator on a first name basis with a retired factory supervisor and his wife, a retired school district secretary.
Senator Leahy took some photos of the occasion, and I was really hoping to get a copy to send to my grandparents. But, in the confusion of the election, and the shift of power to the Democrats, my little packet was forgotten.
But, as I sat there on Church Street, watching the United States Senator waiting for his wife outside of a clothing shop (just like any other married man), I thought to myself: "Alex, you'll never have a better chance."
So I went over and introduced myself. I complimented the Senator on his performance in Washington, and was treated to a gleeful analysis of the situation. (For a detailed conversation with the Senator, don't miss Baruth's interview.) I explained what I was hoping for and the Senator wrote some information down on the back of my business card.
The next morning, I received a message on my machine...not from an intern, or even a staffer, but a message from the Senator himself- explaining what happened to the photos and letting me know that he'd send me a copy when he returned to Washington.
This, then, is Vermont. I am a man with no great role to play in industry or commerce, with no piles of money to contribute to campaigns; I am, in fact, a man who is completely anonymous to all but his friends and family. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I can imagine no other state in the Union where a man like me rates a personal phone call from a United States Senator.
But I got it.
Am I going to miss Vermont? You Bet.