Thoughts…

Thoughts………………. 

There are a lot of eventful days in our lives which we will remember for all time or at least the time we have. One of those days, for me, was December 29, 2022, at 12:30 pm. I am sure that it wouldn’t be as important or eventful as “the day that would live in infamy,” but in a very small way, it was for me. That marked 65 years of having a paying job, and the day it was officially over, I retired from my job which I held for 54 years. 

Now I said I had had paying jobs for 65 years. I got my first job at age 10, and that was when I had to apply for a Social Security number. Just thinking, I never paid any taxes until 1969. Maybe I shouldn’t be admitting that but don’t think the IRS is monitoring Wheel Tracks, or if they are, maybe the “statute of limitations” has run out! 

My first job was at a summer camp in Chester, Vermont, and I was hired to watch the camp owners’ four-year-old son during the day, clean, and make the owners’ bed (while the child was napping), and help with the family meal at night and clean up. This was a 7-day a week job from end of June when camp started, and went until the end of August when the camp closed and the owners went back to New York City and I went to school. 

Must admit, I hated the job. The child was a brat, the owners were super picky, and the 

grandmother was mean! I look back now and wonder what you can expect from a 10-year-old! 

Thankfully, it was only one summer. I didn’t get a chance at a second “nightmare summer” because the camp closed, and it wasn’t because I was a bad employee. 

The next summers were more babysitting and cleaning jobs, and in high school, my summers were being a housekeeper, cook, and shopkeeper for the “well to do” in Grafton, Vermont. I guess I did well enough that they offered me a permanent position in their home New Jersey, but I had my eyes set on going on to school after graduation, and did. 

That training gave me my lifetime job of 54 years, and I must admit I had planned to work for a few years and find myself a “rich” husband and spend my days in the lap of luxury. Well, I did find a 

husband. He was not rich, but he was smart – he has been retired for 20 years!! 

Oh Christmas Tree

Here we are once again, December, and the upcoming Christmas holiday. Thanksgiving is over and it’s all about leftovers and pumpkin pie for breakfast. Now it’s the craziness of Christmas. The grandchildren are all adults now and the days of board games and new mittens are a thing of the past. Now it’s gas cards and Visa cards. One stop shopping at the local grocery store. I like that. And no wrapping boxes. I’m beginning to sound like a grumpy old lady. Well, I guess that’s what I am. So be it. 

grandpa gael

Looking back on all our Christmases, one thing Gael and I agreed on from the get-go was trimming the Christmas tree on Christmas eve. It’s what his family did and what my family did. For a few years I believed Santa trimmed our tree. Our first Christmas after we were married, we trimmed our little tree on Christmas Eve with the help of P.F Peake. I think I have pictures of that. Gael gave me an Electrolux vacuum cleaner that year. The next year it was a belt sander. But that is another story. 

When we moved to Underhill, I started cutting our own tree. I don’t remember much about the trek into the woods, but I do remember going across the river and up on the side hill across from the house. How I got there, I’m not sure, but I dragged a tree back to the house. A few years later, we 

purchased the property where we are now, and I had trees everywhere to cut, and they were easy to get to. I do remember taking walks in the summer and marking future trees for cutting, forgetting that we might get a good dumping of snow early in December. I did have to scramble then. In the process of driving back and forth on our road every day, I would spot good trees close to the road. There were 

only a few houses on the road back then, and people didn’t post their land the way they do now, so I would carry a saw with me just in case I spotted the perfect tree. Fast forward to Christmas eve when the kids finally went to bed, we would bring the tree in and secure it with anything we could find. In a few years the kids were old enough to help trim the tree. My mother would come out, and she and Gael’s mother were the tinsel people. I would read The Night Before Christmas to the kids from a book that I had when young. My name is written in the front. I still have it. 

In recent years, because all of our good trees have grown too big, I actually buy a tree from the local Boy Scout troop. I don’t know if I will ever get a fake tree, but the friends that have them think it’s great. Gael always thought a table tree would be good. I may be headed that way. We’ll see. Fruitcake, anyone? 

The Annual Olney Shuffle

All families have traditions, some with food at different holidays such as there would be no Thanksgiving without green bean casserole or Christmas without eggnog. You get the idea, right?

I am sure that if asked, every family has something they do year after year and would not consider doing it any different or, heaven forbid, not at all!

It did not take me long to realize the Olneys had traditions when I (as new member of the family) suggested we have prime rib instead of turkey for Christmas dinner. “We always have the same dishes as we have on Thanksgiving,” which was exactly why I was suggesting they agreed, and my mother -in-law volunteered to bring the beef.

But you should know that the turkey and all the fixings were also planned. As we sat down to Christmas dinner, it was announced that Nancy had suggested beef this year, and with all eyes on me, my mother in-law put the “prime rib” on the table. The first thing I noticed was it was in a bowl, and as it passed to me, I could see imagine – the turkey that came after was hailed as “the best ever”! We never spoke of this again.

Another tradition the Olneys had (and have) is what I call the annual Olney shuffle. This is where you try and move all your great abundance of “stuff,” not to sell, not to give away, not (heaven forbid I utter the words) throw away, but just move them east or west and sometimes north and south in the warehouse. I will tell you this is no easy task, but there is something born in you to move it around.

Of course, there is never enough help or space to make this happen. More often than not, tempers flare and frustration abound and, on occasion, some “sailor” language is uttered, but you push forward.

This year the move was especially difficult because none of the cars could be driven. What that means is using all “man, woman, child, neighbor power” to get the job done! We have lived here long enough for the neighbors to recognize what is about to happen, and they plan day trips (out of town). I think they visit our “kids” that happen to be away!

I will say one of our neighbors, Andy, always comes and helps with the move. I have not figured out if he enjoys it or cannot find an excuse fast enough; but what I think is that he is just a great guy and probably it has become one of his traditions every year.

This year’s move is almost done. No major mishaps – like a few years ago we were moving a pickup truck (the one bought by the “Pickers”), Gary was towing it, and I was to throw a tire blocking the wheel when the tow rope broke and it barreled down the hill and went through the neighbors’ fence!

I guess the only almost disaster was the Studebaker’s tether broke and that almost went down the same hill and would have hit a tree, but Andy and Gary were able to stop it!

The only problem now is that we have two vehicles out that need to go in and the space is full!

We will have to figure that out before winter. Of course, I will have to say it is not exactly as one would want it, but, oh well, there is always next year!

Clutter? What Clutter?

A while ago, when the woodstove was going 24/7, which meant I couldn’t do any spring house cleaning, and we were dealing with mud season, I decided to do something with the mess in the cellar. We had accumulated stuff from Gael’s grandparents’ house, Gael’s mother’s house, my parents’ house, and our own personal pile (sound familiar?). It was getting pretty bad. You really have to be in the right mood to tackle something like this. So I acted quickly when that mood hit me.

I discovered a lot of stuff I never knew was down there and found some interesting three bud vases for old Volkswagens, for starters. I started asking people if they had ever heard of Borgward and, much to my surprise, only a few people had.

Then, behind boxes I found Gael’s collection of comic books that had been through a few floods in the cellar. Unfortunately, most of them were beyond saving. I did salvage one…..a 1953 Donald Duck comic book.

Donald Duck was one of my personal favorites. How many times has someone told me something was worth a lot of money? I went on eBay and found the same comic book for a mere $4.95. Not going to get rich selling that.

I pulled out from the bottom of some shelves a trunk that must have belonged to Gael’s grandmother, and it was filled with women’s clothing from years ago. I’ll save that for another time. Another thing I found was my toy gun and holster that I cherished when I was quite young. I was a big fan of Roy Rogers back then and would go to the matinee on Saturday afternoons with friends and my bag of popcorn.

I ended up throwing away a lot of things that were full of mouse droppings or sunflower seed shells from many years ago, gathered up all the canning jars that seemed to be everywhere and got them all together, old bird feeders and suet feeders — some I tossed and some I saved — broken things that would never be fixed, magazines that were taking up too much shelf space. I did save some boxes with AACA magazines and Bulb Horn magazines from years ago. They were too heavy to move, so they are still on the shelf.

I discovered an old record player, an old typewriter, an old adding machine, one of those old set tubs that women used to use with wringer washers, a big floor scale with weights. I also organized all the Christmas decorations that seemed to be spread all over. They are now in one place on another shelf.

Speaking of shelves, many years ago a few people got some old shelving that came from the local Grand Union store when they were remodeling, and one wall in the cellar is lined with those shelves. They are great because they are deep and can hold large boxes.

I was able to reorganize my gardening supplies, the painting supplies, the pet supplies, and can now walk down there without feeling overwhelmed. There is still much to do, but it was a good start.

Thank goodness for pickup trucks and recycle centers where I unloaded many truckloads of junk. Warm weather finally came and my cellar cleaning is now put on hold, but at least I made a dent in the cellar clutter.

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!