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Super Senior: Paul Letourneau - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Paul Letourneau

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DERBY, Vt. -

"This is a good maple," Paul Letourneau said.

Paul Letourneau loves the outdoors. There's no TV or radio, just the sounds of nature and his chainsaw.

Reporter Joe Carroll: So you don't mind picking up wood and getting your hands dirty?

Paul Letourneau: No way!

At 85, it's a rare day the native Vermonter isn't outside, tending to his trees or stacking wood.

"My son-in-law and I did it all. I did all the cutting and he helps me split," he said.

They also tap 7,000 sugar maples.  

"Very nice, very nice colors," he said.

He enjoys the change of seasons and even though he's an outdoor guy, he's got another job inside.

"Today is kind of a special day," he said. "Very."

It's the 40th anniversary of Paul's Sugarhouse. It's a place to get dressed up or unwind, whatever way, today it's a party.

Joe Carroll: So we're going to party?

Paul Letourneau: Yup, going to try.

Paul's Sugarhouse is really two businesses: a dance hall in the front and a sugarhouse in the back. It was a deal between Paul and his wife Rhina.

"She said we'll build a dance hall, and I said no, we'll build a sugarhouse. So finally we said let's build both of them together then," he explained.

Paul even brought back the first band to play at the dance hall in 1972, the Warner Band. Back then it was $1.25 cover.

And just like a wedding, there's a first dance; a swirl with his daughter, Pam. Paul has eight children and 27 grandchildren.

"He's just my rock," Pam said. "When you have one parent, you have to hang on all you can."

Rhina died at the age of 48 of Lou Gehrig's disease.

Paul decided to keep the business going. Now, it's open for special functions like wedding receptions.

Today is a reunion; most haven't been here for years. So for one day, Paul's Sugarhouse is a place of memories, where love was found and sometimes lost.

Joe Carroll: does it seem like 40 years?

Paul Letourneau: No, it went by very quick.

As another season passes, Paul is determined to keep going both inside and out on his 75 acres of paradise in the Northeast Kingdom.

"I can't keep up with him!" Pam said.

Like so many people near the border, Paul only spoke French at home. He didn't learn English until he was 5.

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