Friday, March 18, 2011

Postcard from Vermont

Dear Readers,

Last weekend, the Boy was out of town, so I wrangled some friends and went to Vermont for the day.  Vermont's the last state in New England I had to visit, so I was excited to cross it off of the list.  The day involved two breakfasts, two factory tours (Cabot Cheese and Ben & Jerry's), and some snowshoeing.

And it involved me learning how to pronounce "Montpelier."

Montpelier's the capital of Vermont; however, with less than 8,000 people, it's the smallest state capital in the country.  We drove through the city fairly quickly and saw the pretty golden dome on the statehouse, and once we were out of town, I brought up the pronunciation.

See, I was traveling with a German, a Brit, and a Japanese (there's a joke somewhere about us walking into a bar...if you can come up with a good punchline, I'll send you something good, like whoopie pies or something) and we all pronounced it differently:  The German pronounced it very French (Mon-pell-ee-AY), the Brit pronounced it almost the same, but less French and more "t" sound.  The Japanese...well, wait a second--I don't think she ever said the name of the city.  Hmmmmm......

Me?  I said, "Mont-peh-LEER."  To various peals of laughter.

Well, I had a mystery to solve!  Soon thereafter, we arrived at the Ben & Jerry's factory for a half-hour of snowshoeing on the grounds, plus the factory tour.  Almost immediately after we got on our snowshoes, our guide asked if we have any questions.  I responded, "So, how do you say the state capital?"

Granted, I think I was supposed to ask about snowshoeing, but our guide was pretty game. "MONT-pell-ee-er," she replied.

"Oh.  OK," I said.  To more laughter.

Then I had to get all Midwestern defensive on my friends.  See, you learn things from your parents or at school.  Ma Jaracz is not the most accurate enunciator in the world--she occasionally slips up and says things like "worsh" ("wash"), "Worshington," or "wauship" ("worship").  And since Vermont is a small state far from the Midwest, it's probably easy to mispronounce it.

My German friend was sympathetic.  She'd gone to school in Carbondale, IL.  It's near Cairo, IL (pronounced "KAY-ro").  She got it.

Still, that didn't stop my brain from repeating "MONT-pell-ee-er" on a loop for the rest of the day.  Now I'm determined to go back there for a proper visit--with proper pronunciation.

Have a good weekend, everyone!
Your pal,

1 comment:

  1. I'm doing the same brain repetition now, because I always thought it was Mont-PEE-lee-er. Yes, I'm one of those geography geeks that knows all the state capitals (or used to; I've forgotten a few).

    MONT-pell-ee-er, MONT-pell-ee-er...