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January 06, 2009
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Today's Cap Picture brings to mind this entry for the Robert Service Poetry contest in 2007. If you ever wanted to know who invented skiing - read on!

The Legend of Bald Mountain Jack

Dark is the face of this mountain man's mug,

With a beard all twisted and black.

The scar cross his nose all jagged and bowed

Tells the tale of a frenzied attack.

For the wolf that did pounce from the brush that cold night

In Vermont's uncharted far reaches,

Was the wolf that men say, that stands to this day

By the side of this renegade's breeches.

This Jack from the woods, now hoisting a pack

Weighing twice what a work horse could carry

Had headed for town with a squint and a frown

For the bride he had promised to marry.

From Bald Mountain he trudged with a stride that was long

His clenched fist as broad as a stump

While whistling a tune that mimicked a loon

Down trails huge boots they did thump.

On through Lyndonville, Barton and West Burke

Jack scaled each summit with grace,

Though down in the valley he thought of his Sally

And the scowl on that hard women's face.

'Twas a visage he savoured, for mountain men claim

That beauty abounds in the snow.

Imagined with fondness, an image distinct

The true love ignited to grow.

Sal's clothes, though so tattered, were all that had mattered

For Jack saw through all her pretensions

It was the strength of her sinew, that made Jack continue

His most honorable marriage intentions.

Now Sal was a gal that gentlemen feared,

For her arms were tattooed and quite hairy,

And most of the town, though sensibly sound

Had lost track of her husbands since buried.

So St. Johnsbury's streets were deserted that day

The townsfolk retreated and staring

Through curtains now drawn, as they waited for dawn

And the betrothal of that notorious pairing.

Now Sal left her hovel and strutted her way

As she sloshed through the snow in a hurry.

She had waited so long with a love that was strong

For her Jack and his pet that was furry.

Jack slipped into town, then stopped in his tracks

When he saw the bold face from afar

Sal stood in the snow, her features aglow,

From the light of her blazing cigar.

Jack trudged through the slush, and likewise did Sal,

The distance between them receding.

The wolf and the man, the gal with the plan,

Which fatefully now was proceeding.

With arms full extended, they met at the square,

Embraced in a hug of redemption

And the kiss that they kissed both crackled and hissed

With the love that had been in suspension.

The wedding most say was a sight to behold,

The couple each riding an ox.

With Reverend Bob Speck, so staid and erect,

Standing high off the ground on a box.

With vows thus exchanged, the party got started

The townfolks were ripe for a bash.

But Jack and sweet Sal had too much to drink

Barrels of hootch they proceeded to smash.

With a crash and a crunch, the partners guffawed

As the townfolks ran hither and thither.

But the blizzard that roared outside the great door

Placed Jack in a delirious dither.

For how would they get to their honeymoon hut

Which stood high on a mountain near Stowe.

An impossible task to walk on the track

Because of the depth of the snow.

Jack had an idea that came in a flash

So he plunked himself down in the middle

Of the barrel staves shattered that rustled and clattered

To his feet his hands they did fiddle.

So strapped to their feet these parallel boards

Slid gracefully through the fresh snow.

As Jack and his gal, the sensational Sal

Down mountain face slickly did go.

Legend now has it, at least so I'm told

That the coupling described in this poem

Resulted in skiing becoming the sport

For which the State of Vermont is well known.








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