Another Autumn in Enosburg Falls, Vermont - "On Vermont Time"
By Timothy Stetson

This is the second in a series of stories about the little Green Mountain Village of Enosburg Falls, Vermont. It seems funny to be writing again about fall but as I look back at my first "On Vermont Time" it was written in the fall of 2000. Here it is 2002 and this is just the next little entry in this journal. Enosburg Falls is tucked in the northern portion of the state, just 7 miles from the Canadian Border. I hope you find the time to come and visit our little village and spend a little while "On Vermont Time." If you can't come to us...I hope these stories bring us a little closer to you and provide you with some relaxing enjoyment.

The sun is setting behind the mountains and hills filled with the reds and oranges of autumn. "I don't think they are as bright as last year but they sure are beautiful," says my wife Kathy while we stand there not only looking at the leaves but watching 2 flocks of geese flying over head making their annual trip to the south. "They're following the river," Kathy says, "Look at the small group trying to catch up with that big one." The continual squawking is a true sign of fall this time but also signifies spring earlier in the year.

It is autumn again here in little Enosburg Falls, Vermont. The corn fields are in varying states of harvest. Some are completely bare, some are half chopped and then others are still standing tall awaiting their turn of the harvesters. It is a kind of fun time of year here. The air is a little cooler, the sun is not out as much but there is still the smell and feeling of autumn in the air. It brings back the memories of jumping in a tall pile of leaves, something we used to do as kids. It is a little difficult to explain but very fun to experience.

Our sons David and Daniel and, of course, Kathy and I are currently working on preparations for the Annual Opera House Talent Search. The Talent Search, this year, is celebrating its 10th year. It has been fun to view the videos from the past ten years as we put together a multi-media collage that will be shown the night of the show. Oh…some of the acts from the past…you just have to laugh. This annual event though pulls out some of Northern Vermont's finest talent of all ages. If you ever have a chance to visit us during the fall season, usually the talent search is in October. It is a show that you don't want to miss.

Of course, I can't forget the annual Haunted Extravaganza that we work on. It features the Haunted Spavin Cure. This great old building… I have written about it before… was the home of the Dr. B.J. Kendall Company many years ago. They manufactured many products, one of which was Prof. Flint's Horse and Cattle Condition and Renovating Powders. We are going to manufacture 2 days of eerie haunting fun there. The whole town gets involved in one way or another. We have school kids and adults that have been helping us with building and, on the days of the 2 shows - oh yeah, this year we actually extended the event to 2 days because we had to turn 400 people away last year - will be the actors. There will be all kinds of other events around the village - a spooky activity room on Saturday, a haunted barn for the kids on Sunday, the pumpkin glow on the park on Saturday night and hay rides, bands, and refreshments. What's even better? A portion of the proceeds go to benefit the work of the Enosburgh Fire Department and Enosburgh Ambulance Service. Here again, is another great facet of living in a small Vermont town. We like to support each other and the services that serve our community.

There is much talk right now about the elections coming up. Our current Governor, Howard Dean is in his last month of office. He is currently doing all the legwork to make a run for President. Each of the parties this year has a strong candidate for Governor. It sure makes the race a little more fun than normal when you know that one party or the other doesn't have a "shoe in" for the slot. Elections in our little town are basically the same as they used to be and still use a paper ballot. The Board of Civil Authority, as it is known, will get together on election day and work throughout the day making sure that everyone who wants to has a chance to vote on paper ballots and then will take whatever time it takes after the polls close to count the ballots…a fun process.

What is the Board of Civil Authority, you say? Well it is made up of all of us Justices of the Peace. There are more than 1800 Justices of the Peace in Vermont making it the most numerous and popular public office in the state. It is among the oldest public offices and was first created by the Vermont Constitution of 1777. Justices are elected by the voters of their respective towns and serve as election officials, a responsibility that actually started in the mid-Nineteenth century, as well as hear tax abatement questions and appeals, administering oaths and acting as notary publics. Oh yes, we can solemnize weddings and civil unions. This part of our job was first established in 1779, but at that time the jurisdiction was limited to the county for which each justice was elected. In 1975 the jurisdiction was extended statewide and in 2000, the authority to certify civil unions was added to the duties of the office. These are the real fun responsibilities of the job. Being a Justice of the Peace is a Vermont tradition. Thank you Secretary of State, Deborah Markowitz for the information described here from "The J.P. Guide" published in 2001.

Well I hope you have enjoyed reading some more about our little town, village, and the state in which they reside. I can hear Kathy calling "Tim, it's time for supper." So I must leave you now. I look forward to sharing more with you next time.

© 2002 Timothy Stetson. All Rights Reserved