VPR commentator entertains at Slate Valley Museum

B y Jaime Thomas

About 75 people gathered at the Slate Valley Museum Thursday evening to listen to Vermont Public Radio commentator Willem Lange tell stories about the area and about his life.

In order to remain relevant to the area, Lange started off talking about ‘The Place Called the Slate Valley,’ and the geology of the various places he’s lived. From the first few minutes he had his listeners laughing, and his dry humor kept them entertained throughout.

“I spent 40 years in New Hampshire the same way Moses did—wandering in the desert,” Lange said. He also mentioned his years in Syracuse, Keene Valley and Ohio, talking about the rock formations in each respective spot.

He said this region’s geology and that of Vermont, for example, is similar to a Volvo after a crash, and unlike other states provides useful resources.

“You have farms here and you can mine Slate here; in New Hampshire all you can mine is granite and pine trees. Over there all we grow is rocks,” he said.

After finishing about geology, Lange told various stories. He spent a while talking about being a “grouchy old-timer” like many of his fellow Vermonters, and how he has a little too much fun giving out-of-state leaf peepers a hard time.

Kate Weller, executive director of the museum, thought the event was a great success.

“We were absolutely thrilled. This program was both educational and entertaining, and people really seemed to enjoy it,” she said. She thought Lange was gracious, as he took time before and after the talk to mingle with those who came to see him.

Lange finished the hour-long talk to a room full of laughter and applause. Listeners then had a chance to speak with him and enjoy a buffet provided by O’Callahan’s Restaurant.

“We were blown away by O’Callahan’s; we loved that people were able to stay and enjoy a warm inviting environment and amazing food,” Weller said said. She and Amy Mincher, assistant director, also said they were grateful to the Brass Butterfly, the Hubbardton Forge and Ed Works for their sponsorships.

Weller said she hopes to bring in more programs like this in the near future, so that people who have never seen the museum can visit it in a less formal setting.

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