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A Vermonter’s View of Davidson

by | Nov 7, 2021

(Marguerite Williams photo)

“What a splendid morning for a walk downtown!” we said to each other last Saturday. There was a slight chill to the air but the sun was shining brightly and there was a wispy breeze. My husband and I are northerners, moving from a small island community in the Vermont Champlain Islands to The Pines at Davidson. We came to escape the snow and ice, the gloomy, gray winter days that seem to be endless, and the biting winter wind that blows off the lake, never stopping. We came to immerse ourselves in the culture of a small college town.

Our mile hike downtown was delightful. We found plenty of falling leaves to kick and crunch our way through and found delight in fall foliage that wasn’t as spectacular as a Vermont fall but pretty enough. We stopped at the street light by CVS to “mask-up” and studied the knitter’s remembrance pole before crossing the street to the Farmers Market. Naturally, we found many items to purchase. We filled our yellow canvas bag with four of the biggest beets I have ever seen; a crusty loaf of olive herb bread; a plump head of red leaf lettuce; and after debating, grabbed a full bag of artisan popped popcorn.

Next stop, Summit Coffee for a 16 ounce, hot cup of Chai Latte Tea for two. It was worth the twenty-minute line that snaked outside the store. There was an iron table right outside that must have had our name on it! We settled in for some people watching time.

First observation: bags! There were canvas, cloth, expandable, the dollar variety from supermarkets that come in all sorts of patterns, and thankfully very few plastic ones. Most women didn’t seem to be carrying purses over their shoulders but rather just stuffed keys and plastic or cash in their pockets. Backpacks were worn mostly by men.

Second observation: coats! Lots of sweatshirts today, some puffer coats, a few long fashionable ones worn by women in heels. Bare bellies and coatless men in shorts were the rare exception. Kids’ coats provided the colors of fall that danced around like falling leaves as they ran circles around parents.

Third observation: shoes! Tennis shoes in every style and color. We saw a bright yellow pair of Crocks being worn by a very happy woman and a mother and young daughter in matching UGGS. Vermonter’s reserve these for winter but then what child doesn’t desire a pair of winter boots just because! A few daring individuals were strutting around in leather or suede designer boots. We saw no knee-high fashion boots in Davidson.

Fourth observation: vehicles! The sidewalks contained strollers with layers of kids under layers of blankets. Children on scooters were tagging along beside strolling parents. Wagons in a variety of styles contained tots too tired to walk. We saw no red radio flyer wagons from our generation. My favorite was a bike peddled by a dad with a deep wagon like box attached to the front containing his herd of three happy kids! The street contained the usual cars and vans and one fully restored, bold, royal blue Chevy Malibu from the early 1970’s with a white stripe on the middle of the hood. Totally COOL…

Fifth observation: climate! I’m not talking about temperature but the prevailing trend or aspect of public life. We saw no tears or frustrated children or parents for that matter. Everyone was wearing a smile and said hello. We did not observe any trash of any kind on the street. We observed some diversity but would like to see more in the coming years. One gentleman stopped to chat and when we mentioned we moved from Vermont to The Pines, he informed us that he was a retired art professor from Davidson College who would be speaking the following Monday at The Pines. So, now we know Larry Ligo.

How could we not like moving to Davidson? With the college connection, the positivity displayed to us on a Saturday morning, the ability to walk to town or to our church, and a climate that agrees with our aging bodies, this is a place that we now call home.

Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson and her husband have recently moved from Vermont to The Pines. She earned her BS degree from Carroll University. She was a teacher until retirement, once owned a quilt shop, and currently calls herself a fiber artist. Ginger enjoys writing and has authored four books. She is the proud grandma to five grandchildren. She is happy to now call Davidson her home.

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