Snow-covered mountains in the Sierras evoke wintry thoughts of Vermont.

By Pierre Ratte

Dear readers, may your holidays be happy, healthy, and filled with light and love. Thank you for reading Snapshot of the Week and the Healdsburg Tribune! May 2024 bring a joyous New Year!

Vermont’s New Year’s gift is not merely snow. It’s not merely Robert Frost’s poetic winter settings. Nor is it the joys of rewatching a White Christmas, where snow appears on time and Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye uplift their World War II commanding officer in song and praise while reuniting with their hearts’ desires in Pine Tree, Vermont.

As lovely as the movie’s story is, there is another gift from Vermont at holiday time, and that is Vermont Connecticut Royster’s gift of prose reprinted annually during the holidays in the Wall Street Journal under the title “In Hoc Anno Domini,” in Latin meaning: “In the Year of Our Lord.”

Vermont Connecticut Royster asks: “What was a man for but to serve Caesar?” Indeed, what is a human life for? Mr. Royster reminds us that in much of the world men labor in bondage. And yet during the holidays we freely celebrate hope, peace, joy and love, with Mr. Royster saying, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Fun facts: White Christmas is a 1954 Paramount musical originally intended for Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, but Astaire disliked the script. The production was recast with Donald O’Connor, who dropped out with illness. The script was rewritten for Danny Kaye, who asked for and received $200,000, plus 10% of the gross. Irving Berlin and Bing Crosby split the profits with Paramount Pictures.

Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen were the female leads. Trudy Stevens’ voice was dubbed for Vera-Ellen. The fictional Vermont town is Pine Tree; actual filming took place at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, while Twentieth Century Fox’s back lot provided the setting for the train station.

Vermont Connecticut Royster’s great uncles were named after states, too: Arkansas Delaware, Wisconsin Illinois, Oregon Minnesota and Iowa Michigan Royster. All were born in North Carolina.

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  1. I grew up in Vermont and in Connecticut both. Good to see this article and be reminded of those years in New England, after some 30 years in northern California.

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