EAST ARLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Don Brown is a man of precision. The longtime Arlington machinist has mostly retired, but he has a workshop full of tools.
"I'm going into my machine shop now," Brown said. "My wife used to call this my playroom."
Brown does special orders.
Reporter Joe Carroll: You get paid for these projects?
Don Brown: Oh, you bet I do.
His pay has vastly improved from the early days.
Reporter Joe Carroll: You started off as how much?
Don Brown: 34 cents an hour.
Brown was just 13 when he started working in a machine shop in his native Massachusetts. After a stint in the Navy, the World War 2 veteran found his love with a Vermont native named Eleanor. "And it was just love at first sight. That's why I came to Vermont, just because of that," he said.
The couple raised eight kids in Arlington. "I think I was born a farmer and didn't know it, cause it was before long with all the children that I needed a cow," Brown said.
Fifty years of bliss. But then Eleanor got cancer. Don was devastated when she died.
Reporter Joe Carroll: You just didn't have the will to go on?
Don Brown: Yeah.
He of course did go on. "And then Irene came on the scene and changed my whole life," Brown said. A few years after Eleanor's passing, he met Irene Navotney at church. She was also widowed.
Reporter Joe Carroll: So you two are an item?
Irene Navotney: Yeah.
His prayers were answered. He calls Irene his significant other. They're also a team. Twice a week they run the senior meal at a church in East Arlington. "I still refer to them as the old people, and here I am older than them," said the 94 year-old Brown.
Don is the set up man and Irene works the kitchen. "Actually this is much more than a lunch, it's more like a five-course dinner," he said.
Piping hot chili on a cold winter day. Just before noon the regulars arrive, and it's time to say grace, break bread, and catch up with friends.
Longtime friendships coming together, and for Don -- love found again. "She's so kind, and the fact that everyone in town loves Irene, everybody loves Irene," he said. "Oh, I thought she was pretty beautiful."
A hunger for companionship fulfilled.