By Manfried Rieder Starhemberg
I know, it is not normally done that one newspaper gives a review of another paper but since I moved back to Vermont I have been enthralled by the "Green Mountain Trading Post". It is certainly no competition for any of the other fine print media the state of Vermont is lucky to still have, rather, It is a mixture of an excellent literary magazine and the Sears catalog of 1920.
On its front page the "Trading Post" proclaims to feature :the best original writing in the North Country. And it is and for 43 years has showcased some of the very best poetry, fiction, memoirs and either uplifting or deeply saddening stories of the lives of Vermonters of all ages.
Published every other week and eagerly awaited in Newport by this writer and others, it still only costs 75 cents and for that a reader will get 28 pages of pure joy. The stories for which the paper pays "check cashing money" make up the front section but then the fun begins: I always look at the "miscellaneous" and found things from my 20 ft wooden extension ladder ($ 20- in great shape) to a lovely old solid wood door with a large glass insert which set me back $ 15.- For $ 50.- I found two almost brand new tires and for $ 25.- I could not pass up that vintage Gilbert school house clock.
Right now I am lusting after that 12 inch planer and table with extra knifes because I cannot afford, not do I have the space anymore, the vintage Ford tractor. However, if it were not right at the New Hampshire border, I should like to see the collection of model airplanes and engines.
About the only thing that cannot be found are personal advertisements, probably in keeping with the paper's motto "No News is Good News". But if you need breeding bunnies or turkeys, fertile pheasant eggs or the occasional Angus bull or a flock of alpacas, this is your shopping paper for you.
What I like about it most is that every advertisement has a telephone number and you will reach real people not some scam artist as you are likely to encounter on Craigslist. I recently purchased a stained glass lamp in need of repair which is one of my hobbies. In the course of this purchase I found out that the gentleman who advertised it shares another hobby of mine, old clocks. He is also of my age, a charming old Vermonter, raconteur of the first order and a joy to know. The man I bought my $ 15.- door from delivered it to me for free from Derby even though I had offered to pay him for this service. He did share a beer with me after we dragged the door upstairs.
As the advertising going goes: "Priceless". For everything else go to Amazon or eBay but for me and my simple needs, the Trading Post will stay a part of my shopping experience unless old age or my wife puts a stop to it...