Sunday, November 6, 2016

Friends and films

These past few days have been filled with friends and films. Thursday evening we went to see Power Struggle, a locally-made full-length documentary on the closing of Vermont Yankee, a nuclear power plant in the neighboring town of Vernon, Vermont, and the role citizen activism played in that closing. The filmmaker, Robbie Leppzer, the governor of Vermont, Peter Shumlin, and some of the key "players" in the film were all on hand. They formed a panel after the showing. It was not a beautifully crafted film, but it did drive home the need to keep up the pressure on corporations and government officials, and the fact that the struggle is not over: a lot of radioactive nuclear waste is still stored there in aging containers.

  The panel discusses Power Struggle

Friday evening we went to a potluck supper at the home of Mary Cay Brass  and Manny Mansbach. Mary Cay is our River Singers leader. They were "christening" a new room they have added to their house. It proved to be a great room for singing, which, not surprisingly, we did quite a bit of. The food was good too! The potluck had a Mexican theme, and Ellen brought a tres leches cake, which proved to be very popular. She had never made it before! 

         Singing in the new room.

We also got to know better a fellow River Singers person, Beatrice Birch, who founded and directs a residential community called Inner Fire, which offers adults dealing with addictions and traumatic life experiences the option of healing without the use of psychotropic drugs. It has been an amazingly effective program, and we were very interested to learn more about it. (Google InnerFire). 

Saturday morning we met Mark Kennedy and Cathy Rude at the Brattleboro Coop for tea. They were traveling from their home in North Hero, VT down to Connecticut and wanted to see us as they passed by. When I first met Mark, many years ago, he and his two children, Anne and Joseph, were going through sort of a traumatic time, and I helped them out a bit. I have stayed in touch but hadn't actually seen them for a long stretch, though Ellen had met Mark and Cathy a few years ago. Anne and Joseph are doing well now in college. It was good to see them. 

    In the Coop with Cathy and Mark

After we said goodbye to Mark and Cathy, we hightailed it over to Bennington to have lunch with Mary Anderson and her daughter, Erica, who is visiting from Capetown. Mary had surgery last week and is doing well. After lunch we walked through the beautiful cemetery in Old Bennington, where Robert Frost is buried, and other Vermont notables. It was a beautiful day, and a very lovely cemetery, with hundreds of very old headstones with cherubs and willow decorations, in very good condition. Very nice! 

     The cemetery in Old Bennington

      A typical 18th c. cherub decoration

        Robert Frost family gravestone
                  Erica and Mary

After the cemetery, we made a quick visit to the Bennington Museum, which Ellen had never seen. It is famous for its Grandma Moses collection, but you can't photograph anything there. But there was a special exhibit of the artist Milton Avery (d. 1965), and his years in Vermont.
There are also permanent exhibits of Bennington Pottery ceramics and life in Bennington in the "gilded age." 

          Milton Avery's The Picnic

        Bennington Pottery water jug

Imagine riding in this Milton-Wasp touring car!

When we stepped out of the museum we were treated to this scene which was like a painting:

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