by Peter Freyne
Got our 'tis the eve of St. Paddy's Day reminder this morning at the Williston Rest Area coffee stop. The hard-working woman pictured at left pulled in just after me with an interesting commodity in the back of her pickup truck - newspapers. And they were newspapers we'd never seen before.
The "Vermont Shopper." Comes out of Barre twice-a-month. Front page story on drunk driving, Struck up a little chit-chat. She was going to drop off a bundle at the rest stop. Also is a sales rep for the Shopper. Hey, competition for Seven Days...and The Burlington Free Press, eh?
Introduced ourselves. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Judy Collins of Montpelier (not the singer).
"That's not an Irish name?" we asked jokingly.
Oh, yes it is. And she told us she did see "Michael Collins" the movie with Liam Neeson in the lead role.
Told Judy about how dear old dad and Uncle Peter had worked for Mick Collins back in 1920-21. The original Irish Republican Army - Second Battalion Dublin Brigade. The "Collins" name has always grabbed our attention - more than just a summertime cocktail aka "Tom Collins" in the Freyne home on Maple Street in the 1950s and 1960s.
Speaking of St. Patrick's Day, we have it from a reliable source that Finnegan's Pub on College Street in Beautiful downtown Burlap will open at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. The doorman's not due until 10. Best wishes.
Even when I was drinking, I made a point of taking St. Patrick's Day off. Green beer?
Then there's the predicted St. Patrick's Day Snowstorm that the press and city officials are going ga-ga over. Burlington's Commander Tow-and-Ticket (or is is Ticket-and-Tow?) has already sent out his email declaring street-parking bans on both Friday AND Saturday nights in Vermont's largest city:"There is a Winter Parking Ban in effect for all of Burlington from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Please do not park in Municipal Parking Lots over night during the parking bans.Parking is available in the Market Place Parking Garage and the Macy's Parking Garage on the lower decks only. Vehicles must be removed by 8:00 a.m. or they will be charged the full days rate. Any vehicle remaining on the street during the parking ban will be issued a $75.00 parking ticket and will be towed to another location.Please call 658-SNOW (7669) after 3:00 p.m. for updated information."Thank you, King John, er, John King.
And, yes, we did make it to the Statehouse for Speaker Gaye Symington's "Brown Bag Lunch" at noon with the press - you know, the gathering in the Speaker's Office at which coffee cups, but no brown bags, are seen.
Today Speaker Gaye the Democrat (shown above) blabbed on and on for almost an hour with seven Statehouse reporter types: two from the Freeps, two from the Vermont Press Bureau, one from VPR, one from the Associated Press, and me. No Ch. 3 and no Ch.5.
Her political adviser, Bill Lofy, and executive assistant, Alexandra MacLean, also sat in.
Don't know what the rest of the gang will glean from the "Crossover Day" Symington Hour, but yours truly left the room once occupied by Walt Freed (R), Mike Obuchowski (D), and the legendary Ralph Wright (D) with the inescapable question spelled out in neon lights inside the Freyne Brain:
"Why did this nice, caring, good-hearted person strive for and win a quarterback position in a contact sport she refuses to play - a game called politics?"
P.S. Speaking of the Freyne Brain, Dr. Paul Penar the neurosurgeon called this morning to let us know that, after consultation with other docs, there was agreement that there was no evidence of a tumor inside the Freyne Brain. The shiny area on the brain scan could be something that's been cooking in the old columnist's language center for many years. Just to be sure, however, the Doc wanted us to take one more high-tech test - a magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy. This afternoon, his assistant called to see if we could do one on Sunday.
Only have one brain - no problemo.
What is MR spectroscopy?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field instead of X-rays to provide pictures of the brain. MR spectroscopy uses graphs to study abnormalities of the brain.
How does the exam work?
MRI is a unique exam. Unlike standard X-rays, radioisotope studies, and even CT scanning, it does not rely on radiation. Instead, MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create sharp pictures – even different types of tissue within the same organ can be seen. An MRI exam most often consists of two to six sets of pictures, each lasting 2 to 15 minutes.
Look, a number of folks have been telling me my brain is "abnormal " since childhood.
Runs in the family.