Every time I look at the thermometer it's gone down another degree or two. It's going to be a cold night! The reading on my weather station is 16.6 - oops, 16.5 degrees. I just decided it's more important to feel a little warmer here in the house than it is to have Christmas lights in the windows, so we took away all the candles and lowered the shades throughout. I still have the lighted Christmas tree and the lights on the fireplace mantle. I usually leave everything up until New Years Day, but as cold a night as this will be, it's prudent to end the season a little early.
We have sad news today. Ben Harris (Old Homestead Road) died on Sunday. Ben was 101. He and his dear wife, Rosalie, have been Joe's Ponders for many of those years. Ben has been a remarkable part of the community of St. Johnsbury, having operated Nate's Store back in the day when Railroad Street was a busy shopping district with Hovey's Shops, the Jeanette Shop, a couple of shoe stores, a bakery, a Jewelery store, two or three banks, the Fitch Clinic where the Passumpsic Bank is now, the A & P Store, a Woolworths and a McClellans - so many stores, it's hard to remember.
Ben and Rosalie came to St. Johnsbury in 1949, the same year I started working at Fairbanks. Early the following year, I went to work for Lesnick's DeSoto-Plymouth on Memorial Drive, where Aubuchon's is now, and I first met the Harris's through my employer, Louis Lesnick. Rosalie was an active member of most of the organizations in town, and I quickly realized she was a mover and shaker. Nate's was the best place around to buy men's clothing. Ben and his associates at the store knew their customers' taste and could without fail provide a perfect fit, style or color for any occasion. Both Ben and Rosalie have always been generous in their support of the town and their many friends. Our sincere condolences to Rosalie and her family. It is especially sad when we lose someone of Ben's caliber.
The temperature is still sliding downward - just in the few minutes I've been writing, it's gone down to 15.1. The wind went down with the sun, and that's a good thing - wind chill would be dreadful. There was a sifting of snow early this morning that made roads slick. A car went into the Lamoille River in Cambridge - it will be on the news tonight, but at noon they didn't know who or how many were in the vehicle and it hadn't been retrieved. Someone went off the road this morning just past the turn for W. Shore Road going towards West Danville. We stopped for a few minutes at Bill and Diane Rossi's and Bill said the police were there when he went for the mail. It was after 11 when we went down and everything had been cleared away by then. The roads were dry by the time we went to the village, so except for it being cold, there should be no problems on the highway tonight as long as everyone stays sensible.