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English: International Criminal Court (ICC) logo

English: International Criminal Court (ICC) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A long time ago, someone that I hold very dear to my heart, who was like a second father to me, told me that dressing up together with a respectful attitude can definitely put you in a place where you might not get otherwise. Those two things he would often say, would take you far in life.  We are, for better or worse, humans who judge on first impressions. Dressing up doesn’t mean donning a $1,500 designer suit, but rather dressing appropriately and more importantly, respectfully for the situation that you find yourself in and acting accordingly.

Today, my oldest son got a glimpse into the legal world that forms the basis of his mother’s world. We drove down to Massachusetts together to appear for a traffic ticket that he got driving home from a concert during the summer. Entering the courthouse, what I had been trying to explain to him quickly became apparent. Looking around it was easy to understand why it was so important for him to don a suit and dress appropriately for this appearance. There were folks there in sleeveless t shirts, sweatpants, some looking like they had just rolled out of bed, most very clearly not showing any respect for the court or those in it that would decide their fate, for better or worse. When addressed by court personnel, some were out and out rude, others swore and attacked the police officer who had given them their ticket, who incidentally was seated a dozen feet or so and well within earshot of their conversation. My son got to see another side of life, which I think opened his eyes to how important some of the little things are that the adults in his life have been telling him all these years. Personally, while I wouldn’t advocate running out and committing a traffic offense or criminal act, just spending a few hours in municipal or traffic court and seeing what other people go through and how good you’ve got it in a lot of respects, can give a person a great deal of perspective. It is definitely most often a long line of examples of how not to act.

Besides the attorneys and the court personnel, he was clearly the most respectfully dressed. Since I am not licensed in Massachusetts, I was only there as moral support with some legal advice thrown in for good measure. I am very proud to say that when called, he appeared alone before the magistrate and presented his side of the story. He walked out of the courtroom, with a very, very good result– a big part of which I am certain was directly attributed to his appearance, his respectful and apologetic tone and his manners. TJ referred to it as “the power of the suit”. So, bringing the story full circle, my dear mentor had he been there today, would have been very proud of my son, his demeanor and the “power of the suit”.

Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) half-length portrait, s...

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Today is the birthday of one of Darmouth University’s more famous students, Dr. Seuss. Theodor Seuss Geisel, a Massachusetts native attended Darmouth college where after being disciplined for less than admirable behavior (he was caught drinking) and being forbidden to write for the college humor magazine. Not one to be subdued (and for that we all should be thankful) he began writing under the pen name of Seuss.

I don’t know any families who haven’t grown up with Seuss. Some of my fondest memories of reading with my boys surrounded reading books with the rhymes of Dr. Seuss. One of the coolest places with the Seuss Land at Universal Studios, they had the most fantastic Seuss bookstore. It was amazing.

Some interesting Seuss Facts:

  • He adopted the “Dr” to his pen name of Seuss after completing college as a consolation to his father for not pursing a medical career.
  • He also wrote under the pen names of Theo LeSieg and Rosetta Stone.
  • He is credited with creating the word “nerd” which first appeared in his book “If I Ran the Zoo”.
  • His first book was rejected 27 times before it was published.
  • The King of Children’s Books never had children of his own.
  • He always wore bow ties because he said you can’t dribble on bow ties.

“Today is your day, your mountain is waiting. So….get on your way”

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Cover of "If I Ran the Zoo (Classic Seuss...

Cover of If I Ran the Zoo (Classic Seuss)

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Town Meeting Crowd
Image by redjar via Flickr

Town meeting is a New England tradition. It began in Massachusetts in 1633 and has been held in Vermont since before there was a Vermont. The first meeting in Vermont was held in Bennington in 1762. It is held here in Vermont on the second day of March. Today, March 2nd is Town Meeting Day here in Vermont.

Town meeting is the purest form of democracy since the people directly can influence the way that their government is run and voice their concerns. In our town, the town meeting is held the night before Town Meeting Day, which here in Wallingford is purely election day.

Certain items were voted on directly at Town meeting last night, including the town’s budget for next operating year. Other items, such as the election of members to the selectboard and school board will be voted by Australian Ballot today at Town Hall.

Our boys got their first taste of New England government by attending the meeting with us. All three need the requirement of attending a selectboard or school board meeting for their Boy Scout Eagle Citizenship in the Community requirement. I must say that they were attentive considering it was a dual selectboard-school board meeting and took well over two hours. We pointed the items being discussed (line items in the town’s budget and school budget) to them so they could better understand. The fact that many of people that stood up and voiced their concerns, desires or opinions were familiar faces to the boys. What makes town meeting so interesting to me is that I am always amazed at how serious and concerned the citizens are. No one takes their responsibilities lightly and no questions is too minor to be asked. From increasing our budget by $1000 to mail the town report booklet which we didn’t do this year to adding more monies to the road maintenance budge to fix flooded out roads, everyone got their say.

I hope that my boys understand that what they saw last night was democracy in action, a view that they never would have had if we were still in New Jersey since there is no comparable system in place.

Happy Town Meeting Day!

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