What Spare Time?

Before I retired a couple years ago, I’d ask my mom if she would do me a favor and [fill in the blank]. I’d undoubtedly hear her say, “I’m very busy today, but maybe I’ll have time.” Now that “blank” could be filled in with any number of things, from making a batch of brownies to running an errand for me. I figured she was bored with nothing to do since she was retired many years at that point so, heck, she’d just say yes.

Well, fast forward 2+ years into retirement. I’m busier now more than I can say and still can’t quite seem to find the time for all the things that “need” to be done or I “want” to do. Now what point, you may ask yourself, is Anne trying to make here. Well, the point is that our annual car meet is next month, and I’ve taken over the task of registering cars from Jessica Bean, who did an amazing job of handling things these past number of years. Now it’s my turn to register your cars, and that’s definitely a “need” because if I don’t do it, a lot of car owners will be mighty unhappy.

Also, at last year’s car meet I thought the Valve Cover Racing track could use sprucing up (yes, you can say busy-body), so I spent the three days of the meet painting the track, except for the “winner’s circle.” That, Don and I hauled home after the show. But do you think I’ve finished painting it?

Nope. Nada. And it’s been 10 months! Another “need.” And I was so enthralled with the Valve Cover Racing last year that I bought not one but two valve covers to build a couple cars. Do you think I’ve done that? Uh-uh (though I have to say I’m still waiting for my nephew to get me the wheels off his old in-line skates). So these race cars I’d put in the “want” column.

I need to weed my garden. I want to fit in lunch with friends. I need to feed the cat. My list could go on and on. How about your list?

The 65th Annual Vermont Antique & Classic Car Meet is August 12, 13 & 14. You “need” to get your registrations in. Do you “want” to have to pay the increased rate by missing the deadline of July 15?

So get your registrations to me and you’ll be good to go. And by the time you read this, I’ll havefinished the “winner’s circle,” but, alas, I won’t have a car this year to send down the track.

We all “need” to be at the car meet in Waterbury this year. We “need” to welcome back all our Canadian friends. It’s been far too long. So see you next month. And if you get a chance, come to the registration booth to see me. I “need” to meet you in person!

Loves in a Hooker’s Life

I suppose not all women would be so open about the loves in her life as I am going to be with you in this short writing. Right off the bat, I will tell you, if you do not already know, I am a card-carrying “hooker.” I am just one in a large group here in the Northeast Kingdom that has and continues to enjoy sharing our craft with all that show interest in it. As you might guess, this brings us in touch with a diverse group. In Derby Line, fellow hookers meet every Thursday to talk and catch up with what our week has brought about and what might be happening in the next week or month. We keep track of each other and the loves in and out of our lives.

My “loves” have come in many shapes, sizes, and colors with names like Willy #1, Sugar, Bismarck, Willy #2, and at present Willy #3 and Serena. All have had such different personalities, some sweeter than others, some full of mischief and seemly pure distain for me and anyone allowed into their space, but all have been loved and cared for like they were the best companion anyone could have. Their backgrounds were as different as their personalities. The one thing they all had in common were that, until me, no one wanted them and, in some cases, had thought to have run away from some bad situations.

Willy #1 did come from a loving home, my grandmother’s, but we had been warned (because Willy was a foreigner, a Siamese) be careful – they can turn on you! (Really, that was the warning.) Sugar was from Texas where he had been hit by a truck and so developed a dislike for anything with large tires. Bismarck came to us because he and his brothers (and mother) were dropped off at the vet to meet whatever fate. Willy #2 lived under our car trailer for a year until we took him in when winter approached. And a few months ago, Willy #3 and his sister, Serena, we rerescued from a bad situation in St. Johnsbury and have been settling in over the last few months. Willy #3 is a pure lovebug and his sister is “his sister”! She barely tolerates him; she will not let him lay on the bed and rushes him if he is unsuspecting. He creeps around trying to avoid all conflict. In the night, when Serena is snuggled in next to me, Willy #3 cries but is never allowed in to join us no matter how sad he
sounds.

As I am sure you have guessed by now that these “loves” of my life are all the 4-legged kind. I have had one of the 2-legged “loves” (still have him), and we celebrated fifty years (50!) together on April 29.

P.S. The only “hooking” I do is rug hooking!

From your W T Co-editors.
CONGRATULATIONS
Nancy & Gary
HAPPY 50TH
ANNIVERSARY!

Your Vote, Your Choice

Well, another Town Meeting Day has come and gone without a physical meeting to go to. It just doesn’t feel right. Let’s hope next year we’ll be back to normal, whatever that is. 

I remember the first Town Meeting I went to. We hadn’t lived in Underhill very long, and it was all new to me not being a real Vermonter yet. The meetings were held at the Town Hall, and we walked up the road to the Elementary School for the pot luck lunch. I walked with some old guy who was telling me he always started his tomato plants on Town Meeting Day. Being new to the veggie garden thing, I went home and planted some tomato seeds. By May they were so long and leggy, I tossed them out and bought some nice tomato plants that were all set to put in the garden when the time came. 

The Town Hall had a wood stove which was going for the meeting, and it was so hot people moved their chairs away from it. The Underhill Ski Bowl was open, and people would leave their kids off to ski. When the kids had had enough, they would walk — yes, actually walk — down to the Town Hall. If I remember correctly, Clark Wright talked about sitting up in the balcony as a kid and watching the whole process. There was the year that folks in the Town Hall noticed a house nearby was having a chimney fire, so the volunteer firemen left abruptly to take care of that. 

We had a resident artist in town for many years. He and his family lived in the old Green Mountain Academy in Underhill Center. He was known for making the best dandelion wine, and I still have the recipe he gave me. For years, he would sketch drawings for the covers of many town reports. One, in particular, had a sketch of town meeting, which included a lot of old timers, the interior of the Town Hall, and the moderator. A great drawing. I must make a copy of it and identify some of 

the people I recognize before I forget who is who. 

Gael was moderator for a few years. It was back when the town started growing and the Town Hall was getting too small to hold our meetings there. The only other place that would accommodate all of us was the local middle school, which is located in Jericho. That didn’t set well with Gael. There was something wrong with having Underhill’s Town Meeting in another town. So he politely(?) declined when asked to be moderator the following year. 

The luncheons that followed the meetings were always something to look forward to. I was always 

involved in the luncheon preparation and cleanup, so in recent years I was always in the kitchen instead of the meeting. I would hear what went on at the meeting or what didn’t go on while eating lunch with friends and neighbors. I was a ballot clerk for many years too. I always took a vacation day off from work to do that. For years I knew almost everyone, but not anymore. Times change. I could always count on the same women to come in with their knitting and the same people that would have writing on the pages of the Town Report concerning things they wanted to ask about. Sometimes there wouldn’t be much discussion about anything and the meeting would be over quickly; other times it would continue after lunch. 

Tomorrow I will go and vote at the Town Hall, see a few folks there, and go home. The weather sounds good and the roads should be fine. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next year. 

The Softer Side of Barrett-Jackson

Don and I have been snowbirding in Arizona these last few months, and he got us tickets to the Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale for January 27. I have sat through hours of TV viewing of the auctions while Don was engrossed in them, and I was intrigued by the whole “up close and personal” side of it but also hoping not to spend THE WHOLE DAY just watching cars being auctioned! Well, I can tell you that Barrett-Jackson has so much more to offer than cars. 

So early on the 27th, we left for Scottsdale. We arrived about 11 a.m., and making our way with 10,000 other people into the main pavilion, the first order of business was to find a bathroom! Ladies, I can tell you they’re all over the place, stall after stall after stall, and spotless, with NO waiting lines! Deliriously happy with that good start to the day, I continued following Don through the main pavilion and then 10, count ‘em 10 huge tents with cars either already sold or waiting to cross the auction block. 

In the midst of the main pavilion, we passed concession stands selling anything and everything you’d ever care to eat. Plus, outside in the beautiful sunshine in between the car tents were more food vendors. I felt like we were at the Champlain Valley Fair. The hardest part was figuring out where and what to eat. 

After satisfying our hunger, we made our way to the grandstands and watched the auction. Car after car passed over the block. We saw some cars sell for $20K and others over $100K in the blink of an eye! We then made our way through the automotive vendors. They were hawking everything: car lifts, concrete coating for garage floors, insurances, powder coating, chrome everything, tools……you get the idea. And as interesting as all this was, I was looking for something more. 

Well, next thing you know I’m standing at a jewelry booth trying on a $1.2 million natural pink diamond surrounded by 3 carats of top-of-the-line diamonds! It was gorgeous. (I think the booth was catering to the men who were dropping big bucks on cars and then, feeling guilty, buying jewelry to make their wives or girlfriends happy also!) 

After reluctantly handing back the ring, the next booth had beautiful bakery items for sale, or so I thought. I was salivating and just about ready to buy that irresistible-looking lemon/vanilla cupcake when I realized it was actually hand-made soap! 

You could get a facial, have your makeup done, get an astrology reading, buy cutlery. There were clothing boutiques and vacation resort promotions. It was like a Vermont home show on overdrive. And there was even live music every day of the auction from noon to 3 p.m. at Billy’s Tequila Stage. 

After a very full day of watching cars pass over the auction block and walking many miles by more vendor booths, Don and I made our way back to our car, but first I had to check out my new want: the new, all-electric 2022 Ford Lightning in pearlescent blue! 

The New Year 2022

Here we are in a new year, 2022, and I am left wondering how I got here so fast. It seems like only a couple of years ago I was talking to Gary about how we were going to say 2001. Would it be two-thousand and one or twenty-01? And now it is twenty – twenty-two. Amazing! 

And now is the time some people are making or have already made a resolution for the coming year, taking stock of oneself and deciding what we should work on or, in a lot of cases, “work off”! I personally have made a few over the years of the “work off” kind but always seemed to start very motivated, and then think I could do it tomorrow or next week and, as it turned out, had the thought that it would be a good one for next year! 

I really admire those that can plan and stick to it, but guess I am not one of those. I have a friend (from childhood) that plans her eating and exercising every day and never veers away. While on one hand I think doing this is admirable, but my thought is that you will miss something 

wonderful in your quest to be perfect. We took her to a fabulous restaurant once, and we could tell it was almost painful for her to decide what she could eat. She chose eggs Benedict with meat and hollandaise sauce on the side (both left untouched), and she let Gary order her dessert and take it home. Gary was happy, two desserts! But have to say, “To each his own.” But also will add that is why she looks like a toothpick and I look like a bush! 

So am I making a New Year’s resolution? Not really, but I will try to be kinder, happier, smile more, and not always passing on dessert might just be the answer. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Doggie Doors

I’ve had a house full of family members visiting this fall, and with all these people came 4 dogs. Now, I must say all the dogs, along with my old dog, got along really well. One thing that helped was the fact that I have a doggie door next to the back door. Unfortunately, 2 visiting dogs never figured out how to use it. I have forgotten what it is like to have to open the door whenever a dog wanted to go out or in. What a nuisance. We originally installed the door for a dog we had many years ago. We were both working and the dog, Phoebe, was afraid of thunderstorms. The doggie door allowed her to go in the house when the weather got bad.

A few years ago, I came down in the morning to find a sweet little beagle sleeping on the couch. I had never seen this dog before. After making a few phone calls, I put her in the car and drove around the neighborhood, but no one knew who she belonged to. I finally found a family that just moved into a house down the road; the dog was theirs. She came back to visit several times after that. Sweet dog.

We had a cat that used the doggie door too. Steve Dana gave us a cat many years ago named Rosie. Rose liked chipmunks, live ones. We had it down to a good system. Rosie would bring a chipmunk in the house, drop it, I would quickly barricade doors, open the back door, get a broom, put Rosie in another room, and chase the chipmunk out the back door.

There are also the times in warm weather when the windows are open at night that our dog (or dogs) would hear something outside and run out the doggie door only to bark and bark and bark, waking everyone up. This is when I would get the dogs inside and put the sliding panel in that closes the door, not letting anyone out.

A neighbor has a huge St. Bernard, and this dog has a doggie door that a bear cub could walk through. It has never happened, but I have heard stories about raccoons using doggie doors, and if a racoon can, a skunk can too! Not a pretty thought.

Our dog, Dixie, likes to walk down the hill to the neighbors’ house to go swimming in their pond. They love Dixie. Everyone loves Dixie. She has a wonderful smile and is very fond of dog biscuits. After her swim, she uses their doggie door to go inside to visit and maybe look for a treat before walking back up the hill.

Sadly, Dixie is getting too old to do that anymore. She would rather just nap in the house now.

The other day some of the visiting family finally left and took with them their 2 dogs. We are now left with just 2 visiting dogs plus our own. Unfortunately, one of the dogs is one that doesn’t know how to use the doggie door. Good grief!

Big Shoes to Fill

As you all, I’m sure, are aware by now, Gary Fiske a number of months ago sent word to the Board of Directors that he had made the big decision to step down as Editor of Wheel Tracks after publication of the October 2021 edition. He did not come to this lightly and let the board know that he needed to slow things down in his life and felt now was the right time to pass the job on to another person (though how can he slow down when he’s now the new president of the VAE and, as we saw in the recent October Wheel Tracks, his wife, Sharon, surprised him with an anniversary gift in the form of an antique GMC fire truck that needs A LOT of work?!)

Gary put out the call for a new editor, and after not hearing from anyone who wanted to take over, he embarked upon an ingenious way to break up the 12 pages of the magazine with 3 editors each taking four pages, and so far he has found two people (yours truly and the duo of Nancy & Ken Gypson). Unfortunately he’s still looking for that special third person but will continue editing pages himself (fortunately for us), until that time comes. So Nancy & Ken and I have agreed to become editors of eight pages. It’s a monumental task for us as neither Ken & Nancy nor I have any experience with MS Publisher. Gary has spent countless hours giving us a crash course on the software, even driving from his home in Enosburg to Colchester where I live not once, but twice, and driving to Poestenkill, New York, and staying overnight with Ken & Nancy to get them up to speed. So please be patient with us as we climb this steep learning curve to deliver to you the quality you’ve become so accustomed to.

Now back to Gary……..

Do you realize that at the end of this year he will have been editor for 11 years?!? That’s 11 years of gathering stories and photos and ideas from anyone and everywhere he could to compile 121 +/- monthly editions. And that’s month after month after month………for 11 years! Every month we’ve looked forward to seeingwhat he’s gathered, what submissions he’s received, what pictures he himself has taken, and every month Gary puts together a magazine as slick as any you might find from an association like ours.

So this is our inaugural issue. I know the Gypsons will agree with me that we have big shoes to fill. We’re up for the task, but please be patient with us as we learn how to make text boxes, insert pictures, line up headers, align, arrange, clip, cut & paste, change fonts, colors, scream, holler, and call Gary for help when you’ve just spent a couple hours on a page and it all of a sudden moves right by six inches seemingly on its own!

(Really, I didn’t do anything, and that’s a true story and I’m sticking to it.) He is ever so patient and calm in the midst of hysteria, even nine o’clock at night at the other end of the phone. Thank you, Gary, for giving all the VAE members a truly wonderful magazine delivered to their door each month. Ken & Nancy and I will hopefully do you proud!

Saying Goodbye

I have written a couple of times about my precious kitty, Willy, and how he came into our lives, along with his history or what was the last 7 years of his life with us.


Well, his time has come to an end, and we have had to say goodbye. We were fortunate to have about 2 weeks to know he was living his last and to try and pamper him and love him even more than usual, if that was possible.
It just amazes me that an animal can work his way into our hearts, even when he wasn’t a perfect kitty by any means. At times, he seemed to love me as much as Gary but then he would run at me and bite and run away. Then he would just stare at me, his face looking like, ‘what are you going to do about that?’ Gary did get bit a few times but never with the frequency of me. He always laid in Gary’s lap but never mine. The closest was him settling himself on the arm of my chair.


He slept at our feet and usually tried to sleep on mine. Doing this he became like a lead weight, and it proved extremely difficult to get him off. Most days he was up at 6 AM and would cry until one of us got up and fed him. By the time he had us up, he would go back to bed for a few hours – so no making the bed until after 10.
He had long hair which was scattered through out the house.


He loved treats and would sit by the dishwasher and cry until you accommodated him, even when he had exceeded the package recommendation of ‘no more than 8 pieces a day’.


He hated going to the Vet and would hide when it was time to corral him into his carrier. I have had to cancel appointments because we couldn’t find him in the house. This behavior led to a long list of tricks, which would never work twice. But, even with all the annoyances, and ‘bad kitty’ behavior, we loved this guy and wept for him when his time came. We still miss him, and I am sure I can hear him in the night coming into our room and jumping on the bed.


My advice to anyone out there considering adopting a pet, whether it be a dog, cat or another animal, know that…..

  1. They probably won’t be perfect
  2. There will be times you will think, ‘why me’ and you will try to think of any place that would take them.
  3. But know, in the end you will have a broken heart for awhile and wish them back no matter how they acted, but you will come to the realization that it was all worth it.

Flowers – Pruning & Blooming

I have recently come to the realization that I’m not a very good gardener. When we first moved to Underhill, being very young and having started accumulating kids, we moved into a wonderful old house that once belonged to Gael’s grandparents. Gael’s Grandma Bessie was an amazing gardener and she started her flower beds in the late 1920’s. When we moved in, in 1961, there were well established beds. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember what flower was what, so I would have to invite Grandma Bessie’s friends over to, once again, tell me the names of the flowers. 

Fast forward a few years and we bought the old farm up the road and eventually built a house there. When we got around to sell our old house, I had to bring some of Grandma Bessie’s flowers with us. It was pretty much a clean slate at the new place, so we dug some beds to put the flowers (temporarily?) in. I moved as many plants as I could. Because there were a number of stones left over from the house, I started a big rock garden. By this time, we started having goats, pigs, ponies, a dog and cat or two. 

My time was limited, but I was young and had grand ideas. I moved phlox, hollyhocks, iris, lilies and probably some flowers that I couldn’t remember the names of. Some did really well and others didn’t. To this day I can’t get a hollyhock to last more than one season. The goats we had were “flying-goats” and could jump over or crawl under any fence we built and 

they loved to eat (prune?) my flowers. It was an ongoing battle for years. They were really fond of the first daffodils that bloomed in the spring. 

But the flower beds did really well considering the fact that I had lots going on and couldn’t tend to them properly. I would read articles about perennial flower beds and the need to separate or divide things. I just didn’t have the time! But the plants bloomed anyway. 

I don’t know why but friends were always bringing me plants and because my flower beds were getting a bit cramped for space, I would stick these gifts wherever I could. I also had a rock problem, I couldn’t dig a hole without uncovering rocks. Everywhere!!! 

There was one summer when oldest daughter worked at a landscape nursery. In the fall, they were going to toss the perennials out, so she brought home all she could fit in her car, not once but many times. Gael tilled up yet another bed to put them all in (temporarily). 

Well, time flies and here we are in 2021. The flower beds are a mess, crowded and diseased. It starts with little green worms on my azaleas. Then. spider mites appear and soon after the powdery mildew. So, I spray everything with whatever I have on hand and hope for the best. Then there are the weather extremes, hot/cold, dry/wet and so on. I’m overwhelmed. It is much easier to mow the lawn, just sit and steer, than to tackle the perennial flower problems. 

Flowers still bloom, sort of, and not everything makes it through the winter, but I can’t do much about it anymore. I just enjoy the flowers and weeds that do bloom, and that’s about all I can do. A gardener like Chris Sears, I’m not. 

Shuffle off to Buffalo? No, silly. Your list!

Have you ever noticed how things get lost in the shuffle? 

From the extra sock in the laundry room that hasn’t found its mate, to the health savings card sitting on your desk that needs verification on how much money is left on it, to the pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs that needs to go upstairs and find their home. Those are just a few of the things in my life that need to be taken care of. Do we call it procrastinating or ignorance, or are we just bored with the vagaries of life? 

Boredom is defined as the state of being bored; tedium; ennui. Ignoring something can be interpreted as refraining from noticing or recognizing. And of course procrastination is defined as deferring action or delaying. 

How would you define those items in your life? I think most people would say any or all of the above would apply at different times. 

So many things have changed in the last 18 months: how we socialize, learn, work, play. And how much time have we had on our hands that we could’ve dealt with our own personal “shuffle” category? But we’ve found creative and energizing ways to fill that time: Zoom meetings, getting outdoors and enjoying nature, taking online cooking classes. Our own personal lists are endless. 

But now with Vermont past the 80% vaccination rate, things are opening up for all of us to come together. We’re celebrating at a hurried clip. The 4th of July just passed and we got out and celebrated like it was the first 4th! Which brings me to our famous car show that is right around the corner. 

I know the committee has been working diligently through Zoom meetings and finally in person to make this a grand reopening of our wonderful VAE. You can’t say they’ve been procrastinating or ignoring the details. So it’s now up to all of us to put the finishing touch on the show by bringing our cars and that neighbor/friend/relative who has never been to the show. How cool would it be to have a record attendance? Pray for good weather so no one can find a reason not to come. 

Do not procrastinate, become bored or ignore things in your life. Look at the rest of this year and beyond as a whole new time to get those socks matched and clear the path up the stairs! 

What’s on your personal shuffle list to finally deal with?