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A Flat Flatlander's Guide
A Bit about the Book by Janine Weins

Friday, when a Cadillac with Massachusetts plates pulled into the parking lot at the Extension Office, Jeff turned to Elwood and said, "Looks like our next visitor is a Flatlander." Thelma looked up from her desk and said, "What is a Flatlander?" Jeff, to whom the term was as familiar a noun as corn, granite, silage, and oxen said, "It's those foreigners who come from down Massachusetts way. They don't know which side of a mountain is up, and they get lost going around a bend in the road, but worse than what they don't know, they don't fit in up here. They might wear a pink tuxedo to a funeral, or those sandals with soles made from old tires to walk down a muddy road in March."

Thelma who had moved up from Massachusetts at the beginning of the summer said, "Do you consider me a Flatlander?" Jeff, not prepared for, and a bit embarrassed by the question said, "Not really," and then headed back to his office.

Monday, Jeff arrived at work carrying a bright yellow book which bore, in big black letters, the title A Flatlander's Guide - How to be Accepted in Vermont. On the way to his office, Jeff stopped by Thelma's desk. Handing Thelma A Flatlander's Guide, Jeff said, "I realize it was written for Vermont, but it works equally well in New Hampshire. If you master the advice in this book you will never be mistaken for a Flatlander."

Jeff had been in his office only a few minutes when he heard Thelma laughing. Shortly thereafter Thelma showed up at his office door saying, "Where did you get this book? I'm going to have to get some for the family so they won't be mistaken for Flatlanders when they come for a visit. I like the bit about driving around." Thelma then opened A Flatlander's Guide, laughed and started to read -
    Traveling about the rural state is much different than driving on an Interstate Highway. Signs are few and you will have to make many decisions on your own.
    If the person you ask for directions doesn't know, remember that he is not the one which is lost. North is up, south is down, and east and west are over regardless of elevation.
    Before relieving yourself on the roadside learn to identify an electric fence.
    A cornfield offers much privacy.
    Broad leaves are a good substitute for paper. Beware of poison ivy. . .
    If you plan to drive slowly with lots of stops, place a reflective triangle on the rear of your vehicle.
    A farm animal, farm equipment, or log truck always has the right of way.

As she closed A Flatlander's Guide Thelma said, "I hope the bookstore has lots of copies in stock. Since it costs only $2.95, I can afford to give the book to all my relatives."

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