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For Whom the Schoolboard Bell Tolls

By alan handwerger, published on Mar 5, 2010

Do I plan to run for school board again? Inquiring minds want to know. Whether this is owing to the strength of my convictions or the unintended entertainment value that seems to attend my campaigns I couldn’t say.

There is a history here. When we moved to Stowe, Vermont, we didn’t know a soul in town other than our realtor. I was working in Montreal at the time. I only mention this because my status as a weekend resident contributed to the fact that after six months in Stowe I still only knew a handful of people.

Lorrie already knew a whole slew of people through her involvement... (more)

Tags: education, humor, school board, local politics, drug use

Excerpt from a Father of the Bride-to be's Journal

By alan handwerger, published on Feb 27, 2010

February 16, 2010

Expect a long entry, today being a day wrought with sentiment. As of today, Lorrie and I have been happily married for four years, which, we both agree, is pretty good out of thirty-one.

Of our wedding day, I most remember three things: the soup course, the dessert, and the entrée. Lobster bisque -- the lobster meat diced so finely and uniformly, the liquid so silken -- as wondrous on the tongue as it was delicious going down.

Several hours later came dessert. On huge silver platters were set “clouds” of pink cotton candy, amidst which floated meringue... (more)

Tags: humor, fathers, relationships, weddings, brides

The Power of the Purrs

By alan handwerger, published on Feb 22, 2010

Oliver the cat is asleep on my head. His strong, steady purring causes a vibration in my cranium, numbing my brain. We are comfortable together.

It was not always this way between Oliver and me. When first we met, eight or nine years ago, Ollie’s only interest in me, and in the rest of the human race, was to assure us that if we came within ten feet of him, he would rip us to shreds with his claws and bite us with great fury. Odd behavior from an animal that was being fed fresh salmon twice a day.

This handsome, ferocious little tiger had entered our lives through the basement... (more)

Tags: humor, pets, relationships, memoir, cats

Nouveau Rick

By alan handwerger, published on Feb 9, 2010

There they stood: marvels of modern mansion design. Eight thousand square foot houses sitting on ten thousand square foot lots.

“I’d hate to be a gardener around here,” I remarked.

“Please, don’t start,” said Lorrie.

Might as well have told me not to breathe.

“Is that their house?”

The Santini’s house was situated smack dab in the middle of a pristine cul-de-sac that had been designed to accommodate five other homes of similar scale. Two of these homes, a French manor and an English Tudor, were already standing. Two others were under construction.

... (more)

Tags: humor, relationships, wine, new money, social gatherings, parties, pretension

It's just a scratch

By alan handwerger, published on Feb 1, 2010

Sue. I once had a girlfriend named Sue. She treated me pretty badly. But not nearly as badly as the Sue who was about to come into my life. My life and that of my twelve-year-old son, Ben. This new Sue was running late for her first day on the job as a waitress at McCarthy’s Restaurant, and, consequently, was driving a bit too fast for the prevailing road conditions.

We had had a big snowfall in the night, and Vermont Route 100 between Stowe and Morrisville was a mess. But Vermonters don’t miss youth hockey games because of a little snow; so here we were, picking our way carefully... (more)

Tags: humor, family, memoir, car wrecks, realtionnships

18th Century Lobster and 19th Century Suntans

By alan handwerger, published on Jan 26, 2010

I was sitting at the bar of an upscale new seafood restaurant, feeling kind of poor relative to the menu prices, when who should come along but Bob and Karen Weiss, looking brown as two berries. I got up to greet them. “Hey, you two. What’s doin’?”

“Hey, Alan,” Bob answered, giving me a hug. “Not much. Heading down to Aruba in the morning for a little R and R.”

“Heading down?” I said. “Looks like you just got back.”

“This?” said Karen, running a hand down her beautifully tanned arm. “Tanning booth. We don’t like to get off the plane looking like a couple of ghosts.”

... (more)

Tags: humor, cooking, writing, restaurants, lobster, tanning, social history

A Face That Longed for a Custard Pie

By alan handwerger, published on Jan 22, 2010

The week that we moved to Stowe, Vermont, the featured crime in the “Police Blotter” of the Stowe Reporter had read: “Woman reports that someone entered her pasture and braided the manes and tails of all of her horses.” Ever since that first week, so very many years ago, it has been my dream to headline in the “Blotter”.

It is not difficult to find one’s way into the police blotter. In a town with two roads, fifteen policemen and over thirty bars, a significant percentage of the local population has appeared as recipients of DUIs. But it was not as a drunk that I hoped one day to... (more)

Tags: humor, relationships, cream pie, roald dahl, retaliation, stowe, vermont, stowe reporter

Catherine from Oregon -- An Observation on Curriculum

By alan handwerger, published on Jan 17, 2010

“So there this lady, Catherine; and she be from Oregon; and she go and marry this king whose name is King Henry Vee-eye-eye-eye. And he be the king of England. But that don’ happen ‘til later.”

Thus began Naomi C.’s book report on the famed union of Catherine of Aragon and England’s King Henry VIII .

“This girl parents, Fer’nan and Izbel from Spain, fix Catherine up to get marry when she be three years old. And her husband – he be two. And his name Arthur. But they don’t get marry ‘til she be sixteen and he be fifteen on November, 14, 1501 at Old St. Paul’s cathedral, that’s... (more)

Tags: education, politics, memoir, american schools, curriculum

Talking Bear Speaks

By alan handwerger, published on Jan 14, 2010

Every once in a while the clash between my wife Lorrie’s need for quiet and my need to be heard will rear its ugly head, causing her to flee the house for a period of time lasting anywhere from ten minutes to however long it takes to drive to the nearest movie theater, watch a movie, take herself out for a drink and a burger, and return to the nest. Last night she went to see “There Will Be Blood.”

“I’m home,” she gave the all-clear signal at about eleven. But as I have my pride; and as I was just then in the middle of a particularly gripping section of the page-turner I was reading... (more)

Tags: humor, relationships, short story, cultural anthropology

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

By alan handwerger, published on Jan 10, 2010

Christmas Eve Day, 2009 Providence and Newport, Rhode Island

“Good. I’ll be down around noon. Don’t eat. I’m bringing lunch,” I said.

What are friends for? One of my dearest – we’ll call him Lucien – was recovering from a nasty surgery that had robbed him of any semblance of comfort and joy. He was alone, on this day before Christmas, his loved ones having dispersed to ski hills the world over. “A bit low” was all that he had offered on the phone that morning – which explains what I was doing at The Sandwich Shack, collecting the smorgasbord of foodstuffs that... (more)

Tags: humor, christmas, friendship, good deeds, newport harbor, cobblestones

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