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'Secession & Meatballs'


Published November 4, 2008 at 10:28 p.m.

Around 7 p.m., I arrived at Montpelier's Langdon Street Cafe and ordered a stout and a tempeh Reuben. But the guy at the counter was pushing the special: spaghetti and meatballs. Seven bucks for spaghetti with real meatballs. Five for vegetarian ones.

The meal coincided with "Secession & Meatballs (A spaghetti dinner)," the official name of an unofficial gathering of Vermont secessionists. Thomas H. Naylor of the Second Vermont Republic was sitting at a nearby table beside a very nice guy who used to live in my Old North End apartment.

Vermont secessionists, by the way, are gearing up for the Vermont Independence Convention, which takes place this Friday at the Montpelier State House. The event features speakers from the Alaskan Independence Party, which Republican veep candidate Sarah Palin supported earlier this year.

Later on, an acoustic-electric Rutland band called The Peace took the stage. The Langdon Street Cafe was still pretty empty. "It's election night, hence this place is packed," joked the lead singer. "People are home watching Al Franken and what's his name, Keith Olberman?" he added. "I don't watch TV anymore."

During a set break, the singer, a preschool teacher named "Bobby K," stopped by my table. He said he was antiwar and "pro-self," in the style of Ticht Naht Hahn. The Peace, as it turns out, performed at an Anthony Pollina fundraiser earlier this year.

"I've met him a bunch of times," Bobby K said of the gubernatorial candidate. "He's just pure Vermont: sensible, logical and grounded."

With that, Bobby K hopped back on stage and picked up his guitar, which has a peace sign and a sticker that reads, "NEW ORLEANS." Now the Langdon is filling up with dancers, and Bobby K is leading them in a song:

. . . Welcome to Vermont,
where the senator's a socialist.
Welcome to Vermont,
where we always make the most of it . . .