Money and Community — and More

As Woodbury’s town librarian (population 888), my wages are paid directly by the townspeoples’ property taxes, a few donations, and Woodbury Pie Breakfast. Now the main yearly event in town, nearly 300 people showed up at the town’s little elementary school, trudging up the stairs to the second floor gymnasium, to eat pie yesterday morning.

Friday evening — and this is my most beloved part of pie breakfast — people arrive with covered dishes, explaining this is pumpkin and maple or bacon and sausage with a little dill. 

Late last fall, Vermont’s State Board of Education mandated that Woodbury’s elementary school merge with two other local schools — one school much larger. After a winter of endless adult meetings about how to keep Woodbury’s school and library open, what pleasure — and relief — to fill the school with live music, the redolence of warming quiche, laughing kids — and adults in need of coffee.


Of all my photos, this is my favorite: the little girl waiting for pie to be served, while adults do adult things….

Summer, Again

On this first day of summer, mock orange blooms beneath our bedroom windows — an enormous bush that nearly reaches to the second floor — its scent so sweet it’s nearly liquid.

Yesterday, a day that perhaps reflects our summer world: chaos combined with a languid beauty winding through. The chickens fly over their fence. My two jobs clamber for my attention. My oldest daughter coughs. My bank account teeters on dipping into the red.

And yet, a small dog named Dammit wanders through the library. The little children play in the sandbox for hours, digging with bent spoons and old trucks. That evening, I return to the library for a novelist to read. Four kids whose mother is at the food shelf follow me in. They check out books. I give them handfuls of bookmarks and Reading Rocks! tattoos. The youngest plays on the floor with the dollhouse, eating potato chips, sharing her life story with me.

Each summer I bring friends out
to note and share the (garden) display and produce.
Here is life’s habit on grand exhibit
and the hard work hidden.

— Leland Kinsey


White Mountains, New Hampshire