Northeast Kingdom Chamber of Commerce Business Directory

Corners of the Kingdom

Newport, VT

Corners of the Kingdom

I was at the Newport Natural Market & Café this afternoon, having a bite to eat with my husband, when I saw snow being thrown in the air. My first guess was that it was from a Main Street retailer, clearing the sidewalk, but when the snow shoveler came into view, my jaw dropped.

The snow shoveler was, in actuality, a senior with a walker, armed with a red, plastic shovel. Slowly and methodically, she went about her task, gently scraping the ice and snow off the sidewalk so people would have a clean path to their cars. With the typical abrupt departure that my husband is used to, I jumped out of my chair and headed outside. I needed to know this woman’s story.

In those first few seconds of being out on the sidewalk with her, I must admit I did not know what I should do, help her out or find out why she was armed with a shovel this sunny Sunday afternoon. It did not take long to realize that she did not want assistance. This was a job she enjoyed and something she took pride in doing. I listened as she explained why she had taken it upon herself to take to the streets.

As I introduced myself, she did as well, explaining, in a crisp French Canadian accent, that she loved clearing the sidewalks each and every time snow fell, from Goodrich Memorial Library to the Emory Hebard State Office Building. For those of you that do not know Newport, that is a very long block, one that would humble shovelers much younger than this 68-year-old woman. It made me admire her all the more.

Micheline explained that she had been disabled decades before in a car accident, and she not only enjoyed shoveling the walk but liked that it made her feel useful. It intrigued me to think what had prompted her to pick up that shovel for the first time and head outside into the cold. I was very appreciative for the pride she had in her community and thanked her as I headed upon my way.

 Even with a region of only 50,000, there are a million stories like Micheline’s out there, women who visit complete strangers in nursing homes, men who plow neighbors’ driveways and communities who rally when a tragedy occurs … simple acts of quiet kindness. My husband went on this Sunday drive thinking we would see beautiful views, and we did, on a busy street in Newport.

In the course of a year, I visit many businesses, talk with many people and drive thousands of miles along the roads of the Kingdom, and I think it is important to share these positive stories, especially in these challenging times. These personalities form the fabric of our region, differentiate ourselves from other spots on the map and make me proud to call myself a Northeast Kingdom resident.

(March 23, 2014)

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