Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Lillian's Cookie

BENNINGTON -- She spent 20 minutes walking about Fiddlehead at Four Corners. "I've always wanted to come in here," she said just before 11 a.m. Desire satisfied, she walked toward the vestibule door ready to leave. She stopped at the counter in front of the wine stoppers and said how much she enjoyed looking at the beautiful things.

There was a gleam in her eyes and fancy ideas on the edge of her tongue. She wanted to say something and began to spit out the words. She talked photography and said she didn't notice too many photographs in the gallery. True enough. Art Gallery Dude got a sense of where she was going with this when she reached into her black purse, shuffled around and pulled a medium-sized envelope.

Inside were 7 five by sevens.

She was marketing herself. Cute.

Two photos showed spooky trees without some of their limbs so they appeared to have nubby eyes and noses. Two other photos showed felled fall foliage, burnt orange and light brown and dotted yellow and maybe mauve. Two horses standing in the snow looked at the photographer in another shot. Another showed a barn with an old rusted carriage wheel and what appears to be an old steam train grill leaning against the side with potted flowers resting in the second-story window sill. Vermont imagery at its finest.

The seventh photo was not like the others. It featured a slightly rumpled blue-and-white checkered cloth atop a table, a gold-rimmed china plate with a sloped center, and on the right side of the sloped center is what looks like a Pepperidge Farm Brussels cookie.

Except the Brussels is standing on its edge.

"That's kind of cool," Art Gallery Dude said.

"I had one cookie left and I poured it out of the can and that's how it landed."

Roll a cookie and keep rolling it, what are the odds? Half the time it lands on the crunchy side, half the time on the crunchy side. But in one freakish chance in a million ...

"It reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode where the banker buys a newspaper and tosses a coin in the hawker's box and it lands on its edge and then he's able to read people's minds all day," AGD said, but the look in her eyes said she had no idea what he was talking about. She wouldn't be the first Lillian who had no idea what he was talking about. "It's a great episode. At the end he goes to buy the afternoon edition and throws another coin in the hawker's box and knocks down the coin that had been standing on its edge all day, and then he couldn't read minds anymore but isn't timid either and starts a romance."

"I never saw that."

She wondered if her photographs might work for the art gallery. Unfortunately, no. "But," AGD told her, "I'll show them to the gallery owner. He might like them." Which is true. They're film photos, and he hates digital photography, so there's always a chance.

"Can I hold onto these? You can come back Friday to pick them up. What's your name?"

"Lillian Kennedy."

He wrote Lillian Kennedy on the envelope and as he wrote Lillian Kennedy and asked if she was related to the Kennedys -- "No." -- he was thinking of Lillian from 10 years ago. 

Like a coin, like a cookie, they rolled on the edge quite a bit.


Ten years ago, November 2003, Fiddlehead at Four Corners continued its tradition of community engagement by holding an open photography contest -- "American Family Dog" -- and invited anyone and everyone to submit photos of their best friends.

Joel and Nina Lentzner are progressive in their educational approach to the arts, and since transforming the old marble bank into Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery in 2000 they've donated hundreds of books to parents of newborns while hosting book readings and Dr. Seuss events. They've even let Primus-like teenagers rock out in front of the big vault.

"American Family Dog" was a smash and received big play from the local rag ...

Click to enlarge to read the story

The top 3 winners were ...

1st: Dotty (Photo by Shari Zupan of Manchester)

2nd: Zeus (Photo by Valarie Loomis of Pownal)

3rd: Nigel (Photo by Lani Stack of North Bennington)


Lillian Kennedy's photos probably won't hang for sale at Fiddlehead, but the sweet woman's photos sparked a conversation between Joel, Nina and AGD ...

... and Fiddlehead is announcing the return of its photography contest.

The theme is "Downtown Bennington" ... and while complete details are forthcoming the gist of it is this: submit 1 photo -- film or digital via email or print -- of downtown Bennington.

"Downtown" is the square between Pleasant, Elm, Depot and School. Three gift certificates will be awarded ($100, $50, $25). So this is your first clarion call, amateur shutterbugs: come downtown with your cameras and click, click click. 

This historic town is famous for its infrastructure not to mention all of the old New England buildings. Be creative! And keep in mind that some downtown landmarks will be submitted dozens of times, so be unique in your creativity.

AGD took this photo a few weeks back ...


Like a coin, like a cookie, AGD and Lillian rolled on the edge quite a bit. 

They never heard each other's thoughts.

They weren't one in a million.

They did have fun, though.