On a good night, the total population of Story can go up to as many as 40 people. Permanent population: 4 or 5, depending on how you count it.
“We definitely have close to as many dogs on property as we do people,” says Rick Hofstetter, owner of the Story Inn.
The Inn really comprises the entire town. Every year on January 1st, Hofstetter opens nominations for the position of Village Idiot. Anybody who’s been a customer at the Story Inn is eligible, and people are encouraged to vote early and vote often.
Past nominations have been…colorful.
“We had one of our people somehow run over her own foot while she was driving her own truck,” Hofstetter says. “I was Village Idiot a few years ago. Did a few dumb things, one of which was hit myself in the head with a hammer while I was hanging up a birdhouse.”
This year, on April 1st, the title went to Eleanor Haltom. At 92, she’s the oldest candidate to win. She was nominated for, among other incidents, a 1955 formal ball at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
“I had a strapless gown on, and I didn’t realize it, but it had folded over and there I was with just the bottom of the dress. Everyone thought it was pretty funny, but I was pretty embarrassed,” Haltom says.
Haltom’s actually not the first in her family to be elected Village Idiot. In 2007, her granddaughter won for using poison ivy as a substitute for toilet paper, and in 2012, her son-in-law won for dropping his wife on her head.
Haltom holds the position until March 31st, 2015. She says next year’s Idiot will have their work cut out for them: “They’ll have to do some more idiot stuff to catch up with me.”