By Judy Reiss
I have written more than one article about the wonderful community dinners we have in the Mad River Valley. The last Friday of every month is the time and the United Church (the white one in Waitsfield) is the place. However, without the efforts of all the different organizations who take turns cooking the dinner and serving it, it wouldn’t happen. We went to all of them throughout the fall and winter and just went to the last one we can go to at the end of May. And believe it or not, I always feel badly that we won’t be here for the dinners in the summer. It isn’t just the terrific free food that I will miss. It is the opportunity to see so many of the old friends! I can’t tell you how great that is. However, that isn’t what I wanted to tell you about today. Nope, it is the Waitsfield/Fayston Fire Department.
Just like so many of the Vermont towns, Waitsfield and Fayston have a volunteer fire department. I don’t know about the old days when volunteering was part of the culture and a time for men to get together, play cards, chat and have a few beers. I also don’t know how many fires they actually had to put out. But I do know that today’s firemen, at least in our town(s) are also volunteers but very few are still farmers who can run in from the barn and go and answer the call. Now, many of these volunteers work in other places and still take time to learn how to not only put out fire, but how to take care of all the equipment that this job entails. And, I believe I am right, they also have to learn how to care for any and all victims that they rescue from a fire before the ambulance crew arrives. I also believe that most of us don’t think to thank them until their services are actually needed. But the Waitsfield/Fayston Fire Department is an unusual bunch.
Instead of the community thanking them for their service, once a year, they thank us senior citizens! As a thank you to this elderly population of the Valley, the firemen and women not only plan a dinner to honor these citizens, they cook it, serve it, and clean up after it! And let me tell you, it isn’t just a few noodles and sauce either. Nope, we all had plenty of turkey, pork and venison. And on the side was mashed potatoes, and a huge green salad. And for dessert, vanilla or chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate sauce! Because I don’t want him to get away without me telling on him, my Malcolm grabbed the bowl of venison and never passed it to anyone else. I knew he liked venison but I had no idea it was that much. When I asked him what he was doing and why? He said, yes he liked venison but this was cooked perfectly and he didn’t know when he would get a chance to have it so good again! Trust me, for this man to say that and behave like that, it must have been special.
So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Waitsfield/Fayston Fire Department for not just their dedication to keep us all safe from fires, but let them know how much all of us seniors appreciate their time and effort to invite us to a wonderful dinner every year. And I would also like to invite every community in Vermont to plan a community dinner, at no charge, for their own communities. I’m telling you that these days when we appear to be so divided, it is a wonderful opportunity to get together for no reason other than fun! And I don’t really think that I have to encourage fire departments or other service organizations to do the same thing because I think many of them already do. But if they don’t, well tell them to give me a call and I will tell them what a terrific opportunity it is, not just for you and me but for them too!