Day 611: Swell in Orwell

The route from Mount Tabor to Orwell, Vermont, the Mind’s Eye group’s next destination, passed near Bomoseen State Park, a recreation area surrounding the largest lake that is entirely within the borders of Vermont. After canoeing on Bomoseen Lake, the group headed on to Mount Independence State Historic Site. Located on the shores of Lake Ticonderoga, it was a major stronghold of the rebelling colonists during the Revolutionary War.

Mention “Orwell,” and most people think of George Orwell, the pen name of British author Eric Blair, who is best known for his books Animal Farm and 1984. He was a staunch opponent of totalitarian governments—either right or left—and the propaganda techniques that keep them in power, including the corruption of language. He coined the words “doublethink” and “newspeak.” The former is defined as, “the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct,” and the latter means, “deliberately ambiguous and contradictory language used to mislead and manipulate the public.”

But historians believe that when the town was chartered in 1763 it was named after one Francis Vernon, a minor Irish politician whose title was Baron Orwell. Despite the town’s having no known connection to George Orwell, there is ample evidence that most of the residents of the Village of Orwell think for themselves. After a nineteenth century threshing accident that killed several of the town’s young men, the town passed a law banning the use of “modern farm machinery of all kinds.” It remains in force today. The village has also staunchly defended itself against fast-food franchises. However, at happy hour, Laetitia heard about at least one town resident who found independent thinking challenging. Before going off to join her group for dinner, she turned the story into the limerick of the day.

There was a young man from Orwell
Who with “Victory Gin” plied his Nell
And lied to his niece
When he said, “war is peace”
For he thought that newspeak is quite swell.

Day 610: Mount Tabor Saber

After leaving West Dover, Laetitia and her group drove west along the Molly Stark Trail to Bennington, then took U.S. Highway 7 toward Mount Tabor, Vermont, at the north end of Green Mountain National Forest. On the waythey hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail.

Named after the mountain in Galilee believed to be the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus, Mount Tabor is a small town of about 200 inhabitants. Since the town is somewhat remote from urban centers and lacks abundant entertainment options, residents tend to entertain themselves with house parties. Local gossip about one such party provided the limerick of the day.

At a Halloween bash in Mount Tabor
Mel danced in costume with a saber
‘Til he tripped o’er his tunic
Becoming a eunuch
Thus ending his trysts with his neighbor.

Day 609: West Dover Clover

Laetitia and her group headed north across the border into Vermont. Their first stop on the way was in Molly Stark State Park. The park is the namesake of the wife of Revolutionary War General John Stark. Her name became part of the region’s folklore when her husband said to his army just before the Battle of Bennington, “There are your enemies, the Redcoats and the Tories. They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow.”

After a hike in the park, the group moved on to West Dover, Vermont, which is at the eastern edge of Green Mountain National Forest. The group went to nearby Woodford State Park, where they rented kayaks and spent the afternoon on one of the park’s lakes. They returned to West Dover in late afternoon. The day’s limerick was derived from some bar gossip about a local couple, Curt and Barb, who chose an unfortunate trysting place.

When Curt begged Barb over and over
To go for a roll in the clover
With luck that was ill
They lay on an anthill
And jumped up and ran nude through West Dover.

Day 120: Last Night in Paradise

For their last day in Hawaii, before moving on to Alaska, most of Laetitia’s group wanted to go shopping. Some went to elegant shops for clothing and beachwear, but others went to Hilo Hattie’s looking for bargains. In the evening, they came early for happy hour and had drinks for several hours before having a late dinner. It was the last evening in “paradise,” and Mike, a rancher from Montana, Daphne, an office manager from New Jersey, and Clem, a retiree from Vermont, were desperate to have one last fling before going home, providing Laetitia with material for three limericks.

Young Mike from Montana’s Big Sky land
Cruised beach bars as he tried to beguile and
Entice young wahines
With double martinis
To wed him and leave the Big Island.

When Daphne from near Perth Amboy
Came to visit Hawaii for poi
She escaped her bikini
Just like old Houdini
When seduced by a beachcomber’s ploy.

Old Clem from near Ticklenaked Pond
Viewed himself as a senior James Bond
On Hawaiian adventures
‘Til he lost his dentures
As he tried to make time with a blonde.