Over the past week, signs have gone from shouting "Come On, Irene" to proclaiming our great strength as Vermonters. I quick pedal around the Access Road reveals that that our community has banded together to fight the devesation that has hit us and the surrounding communitites.
These signs are also a constant reminder of what has happened. Instead of encouraging passersby to stop in for the Killington Classic this weekend, the town sign has posted where residents can find emergency information.
But the signs also show how stubborn we are. "Don't Mess with the Beast" reads the marquee at JAX, which isn't opening until 7pm. Several Killington residents have had to leave town to find temporary employment elsewhere so they can pay their bills. Those that have called unemployment have found themselves on hold for a rather large portion of the day.
"And you thought the Beast Couldn't Swim" at Casey's Caboose acknowledges our winter strength, but reminds people how tough we are really are. I think thst the resiliancy of Killington residents has surprised a lot of people. We are going to have most of our full-time roads repaired before the federal disaster bureaucracy shows up. While we would much rather have snow, we certainly didn't drown.
The Grist Mill, a favorite of the long time residents, pays tribute to our homeland. "We LoVermont!" And we do! What a most beautiful land we are fortunate enough to live in. Remember, all the mud and rocks thst now cover our once beautiful marshlands will soon themselves have plants growing up through them. Vermont will be green again. We are a state that respects Mother Nature. She will work with us.
"Killington: Still the Beast"
Hell Yeah we are! Gotta love a town where the toys owned by the boys are excavators! 'Cause we're beasts, that's why! There's a whole in the road? Well, just fix it. The Beast doesn't let some silly tropical storm walk all over us. As Whit said, we are already on our feet. We are still the Beast!!
Because we will not go quietly into the night. Even though the Birch Ridge is closed for two nights, we are not taking a break. Frizz is donating time to feed to workers and volunteers, Bill & Mary have been spending days at the command center and answering emails for the town. We are not shutting down, but reorganzing the entire menu and bar to make sure that anyone who wants a relaxing night out this week, a much needed break, will get it. We are Killington residents, after all - and the Birch Ridge has one of the best wine cellars in the state - gotta have access to that!
But we can still laugh at ourselves. Amidst all the seriousness, the sign above the Outback reads "Best Pizza on the Island." Paying homage to the shattered roads and biways all around us, we should also celebrate our times as a unique town. For the first time, Pittsfield, Mendon, Plymouth, Ludlow, Rochester...we have all had time to bond with each other as individual towns. There have been town meetings, block parties, farmer's markets, etc...where there are no tourists or out-of-towners. It's a strange feeling, but it has been a builder of strong bonds as well.
We had our FEMA town meeting today. There is a general sense of life getting back to normal both the school and the post office will reopen on Tuesday. But there is also a sense of anxiousness as the next storm approaches. May we all be safe :)
P.S. These signs - and two big trucks - mark the entrance to the resort.
May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
How to Help: Purchase an "I am Vermont Strong" T-Shirt. All proceeds benefit the VT foodbank.