It's early spring in the village of Jacksonville. The streams are running and so is the sap.
Clyde Twitchell knows the town well, he's live here most of his life. On Tuesdays he gets a lift to work. His only wheels now are on the bottom of his walker. The hard truth is Clyde's hearing and sight are dull, but his mind is still sharp. Clyde has been a lister in town for 28 years. He gets help from both Judy Carrier and Jenepher Burnell in the municipal office.
"Sometimes we have to keep him in line," Jenepher said.
No would ever say Clyde doesn't have an opinion. He wishes the folks in Montpelier wouldn't stick their noses in town affairs.
Clyde Twitchell: My name will be mud up at the state when I'm through.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Well, they probably won't come after you.
Clyde Twitchell: Well, I don't care if they put me in jail; they have to feed me.
The 94-year-old appraises property and tries to keep people happy.
Joe Carroll: Why do you keep working?
Clyde Twitchell: Well, if you keep working you have something to do... I'm too old to chase the hot redheads.
Clyde was actually born near Boston. He did some farming as a kid and then worked as a machinist in the Bay State. He yearned to get back to farming, so he moved to the greener pastures of Vermont.
"I milked cows for 50 years, so I don't know if I'm a flatlander or not," he said.
He and his family milked 40 cows. But when a pinched nerve left him flat on his back, it was time to give up farming. Soon after, he became the town lister.
Joe Carroll: What does Clyde bring to this?
Jenepher Burnell: He brings history, 25 years or so of knowledge.
Since Clyde no longer drives, both he and Jenepher will go and assess property together. She measures and documents; he sees the big picture.
"I think they do find inspiration in the fact that he's 94 years old and can still get out and can still do this and still communicate," Jenepher said.
Clyde is also eager to show me Jacksonville, directing me on a ride through town.
"That's the store. It's been here as long as I have," he said.
Clyde Twitchell: Half the people come up here and want a piece of Vermont.
Joe Carroll: Well, you wanted a piece of Vermont, too!
Clyde Twitchell: Well, no, I wanted a piece to farm!
Clyde sold much of his land. He now owns 34 acres. It's up a dirt road in the hills above town. Clyde lives alone in a 200-year-old farmhouse; his wife, Florence, died over a decade ago. Three of his four kids live near their dad.
Clyde knows he has limitations, but he carries on without a care of what people think of a guy in his 90s working.
"If they like me, they like me. If they don't, they don't," he said.
A man with a sharp mind and a sharp tongue.
Clyde was recently voted in again as town lister. He'll be 97 at the end of his term.
PO Box 4508