What is wrong with people?

scarecrow convict

by Bethany M. Dunbar, October 9,2009

My question of the week is what is wrong with some people?  They seem to feel the urge to ruin something nice that another person has done for everyone’s enjoyment.

On Sunday afternoon in Barton, a local couple set up an elaborate roadside decoration celebrating fall.  By one count there were 38 scarecrows all along Route 5 between Barton and Orleans.  It was amazing.  Each one had a beautiful painted face and clothes.

A pair near the turn to Lake Region Road had a sign saying, “Go Rangers!” to encourage the high school’s soccer teams.  The boys are undefeated this year.

Others included a scarecrow dressed in rain gear and holding an umbrella, a hunter scarecrow in camouflage and an orange vest, one in medical scrubs, one in firefighters’ clothes and gear, a skier, and a convict in prison garb, to mention just a few.  A “just married” bride and groom were perched on a bicycle built for two.

At the beginning and end of the row were signs warning drivers to watch out for “scarecrows crossing.”  At the northern end of the collection were a pair of Santa and Mrs. Claus scarecrows with a sign, “Coming soon.”

The town was buzzing.  People kept coming in to the Chronicle office to tell us about it.  It just kind of made the whole town’s day.  There were rumors about who had done it, but part of the fun it seemed was that no one had taken credit.  These scarecrows were just out there looking cheerful.

My car was in the shop on Monday so I couldn’t go look until Tuesday morning.

When I did I was amazed.  It was quite a show.  It was hard to decide which ones to photograph; I knew we couldn’t fit them all in the paper.

In retrospect I wish I had taken a photo of each remaining scarecrow because I found out shortly later that some had been taken, burned, or vandalized.  One dressed like a soldier had been burned and two others were knocked over.

I got back to my desk and started to put the pictures into the computer, and in came Paul Doyle, who owns the sugarhouse along the route.  He said they were all gone.


Photos by Bethany M. Dunbar

Photos by Bethany M. Dunbar

The people who made them had taken them all down because of the vandalism.  Mr. Doyle was clearly upset that someone would wreck this random act of kindness meant to brighten everyone’s day.

So this isn’t the biggest injustice in the universe.  But it just really stinks, particularly because of the generous nature of the placing of the scarecrows in the first place.  I hope whoever got their jollies ruining someone else’s nice work feels really proud of this little prank.

What goes around comes around.


Thank you to the creators of the scarecrows.  Clearly you put a huge amount of effort into making them.  A lot of people saw them; it was a fun thing.  You did a good deed, and with any luck something good will come back to you.

To anyone thinking of visiting to see foliage:  This is the weekend.  It’s spectacular.  For those looking for activities beyond driving around looking at the scenery, there is a fall festival at the Orleans County fairgrounds in Barton and an arts and crafts fair at Jay Peak.

For more on these events, and other listings, check out the Chronicle’s web site, or better yet, pick up the actual newspaper!

Thanks for reading.


2 responses to “Scarecrows

  1. That is so depressing… I wish I had a chance to see them. I feel terrible for the scarecrow creators. As something of an artist myself, I would be disappointed if something like that happened to my work, and I don’t blame whomever for taking them down at all… But taking them away ruins it for everyone, so it feels like the vandals really “won” here… I guess I’m trying to encourage them to put the scarecrows back up — taking away the work will prevent them from being vandalized again, but it also prevents anyone else from seeing them.

    But thank you to the creators for contributing something so creative to the community!


  2. This is truly awful…a coupl of weekends ago we were driving from Derby Line down 5 and 16 to Montpelier and saw these treasures. We saw a man and women putting up another scarecrow so we turned around to thank them. Such a gift to us all and what hollow souls these vandals must be.

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