Nearly ten years ago now I was hanging out on a beach in Thailand, getting to know a shy Welshman who happened to be sitting next to me. “Fancy a pint?” he might have asked me, in his sophisticated British accent. I heard a lot of “cheers” and, yes, I’ll admit it, some “bollocks” in those early days.
We traveled around Southeast Asia for several months. We thought it was going to be a fleeting relationship fueled by the romance of foreign travel. But somehow we couldn’t get apart. So we toiled through five years of long-distance, while I lived in Los Angeles and he lived in England.
Now we’ve been married for almost four years. And somehow, the sophisticated British gentleman I married, who owned more suits than baseball caps, has disappeared. And in his place is…what we here in Vermont call a woodchuck.
That sometimes pejorative term is usually applied to old-timers whose families have been in Vermont for generations. It’s sort of the Vermont version of being called a redneck. But if not by virtue of longevity, Adrian fits the term by virtue of attitude and aptitude.
He’s joined the local volunteer fire department. He’s happiest out in the woods. Camouflage now overwhelms business casual in his wardrobe. The catalogs that fill our mailbox are from Cabela’s and LL Bean and he pores over the specs on various shotgun and rifle accoutrements. He’s over-informed but underemployed. He drives a beater but in his dreams he’s gone from a Bugatti Veyron to a fully equipped super duty F250 with 400 horsepower.
This video has been playing on local TV channels in the last week or two. Adrian has a cameo. It’s a Heritage Ford commercial promoting the Monkton Mud Bog and Grass Drag. The big event is tomorrow. The whole thing cracks me up. Not the event, which should be a good time and is, by all accounts, a great fundraiser for the fire department. No, it’s the tagline at the end of the commercial that slays me: “Got a little redneck in ya?”
Ten years ago, the idea of Adrian being associated with anything even close to redneck would have been laughable, preposterous even. And yet, here we are. He’s more Vermont than I am. And he’s clearly one of the most adaptable humans I’ve ever met. Which is a pretty impressive quality, now that I think about it.