My Gypson Tours

The other day I saw a photo of the car I rode in for the Gypson tour this year. It was BJ Gonet’s 1931 Chrysler, a beautiful car. It was a lovely but cool day and Cousin Hal and I rode in the back with the top down for better visibility. I started out with my winter coat on and eventually put on my hat and gloves. Filling out the answers on the papers was a bit difficult but when I dropped the pencil for the umpteenth time, I ditched the paper and just enjoyed the scenery. By the time we arrived at our destination I was under one of the blankets that was kept in the back of the car.

1931 chrysler gypson tour
Fred (driving) and BJ Gonet, in front. Cousin Hal and Judy Boardman, in the back

I was reminded of past Gypson tours that we took, one in particular. We were to meet in Jeffersonville, so the Sanders probably had something to do with the planning. It was a cold, blustery, drizzly day and by the time we got to Jeffersonville in the 1929 Chevy I was frozen. Gael loved open cars and he never seemed to get chilled. Anyway, in drives Jim Sears, in his closed car. It didn’t take me long to make arrangements to ride with Jim and I think Cousin Hal might have ridden with Gael. We eventually departed and Jim and I headed down the road in a closed car with windshield wipers and heat.

The tour took us all over the back roads of the neighboring towns crossing over many railroad tracks. Here again, Bill Sander must have had something to do with the route because a lot of questions were railroad related. Because I was trying to fill out the paperwork without much success, I happened to tell Jim about a dear friend of ours who lived in Underhill. Stan Hamlet was a true railroad buff. I then mentioned to Jim…if only I had a cell phone, I would call Stan for help. Jim whips out his phone and for some strange reason I remembered Stan’s telephone number. I dialed the number and much to my surprise, Stan answered. I proceeded to explain the situation to him and read him some of the questions. Well, he knew the answers to most of them and then told me much more about the railroad scene in that neck of the woods than I needed. He did go on a bit, the way old car guys can do with their conversations. I promptly filled in the blanks. Fast forward and you can imagine what happened next. Jim and I won the Gypson tour that year. Thanks, Stan.


1928 packard gypson tour
Dave Stone’s 1928 Packard sure fills the bridge!

The Gypson Tour this year started at Wendell & Mary Noble’s home in Milton and ended at Tom and Michelle Noble’s Home in Fairfax. Their two homes are 22 miles from one another and somehow, they made member’s old car travel 50.4 to get there while finding the answers to 27 quiz questions on the way. The Gypson journey traveled North with a loop through Fairfield, including a covered bridge in East Fairfield, then South through Fletcher to Fairfax. We heard one vehicle was too tall to fit through the covered bridge and had to detour a bit. One quiz question at the 32.1 mile mark was “This is maple country but what are they tapping here?” (Answer…. A field of huge solar panels was tapping the sun.)

This year’s Gypson Tour was won by Buzz and Sandy Stone, congratulations. The Gypson family has provided a trophy since the beginning of the tour, 32 years ago and you will be presented yours when this upside down world allows us.

A little VAE history from Ken Gypson:

This tour’s first name was called the “Fall Foliage Rally” and started in 1956. It was won the first year by Rod and Emily Rice.

In 1960 the name changed to “Gypson Trophy/Fall Foliage Tour”. (Ken’s dad, Ken Gypson, was a founding member of the VAE.) In 1969 the name changed again to “ Fall Foliage Gypson Trophy Tour”. From 1977 to 2002 it was simply called “The Gypson Tour”. The 1988 Gypson Tour began in Vergennes and had 16 pages to the quiz…that is 144 questions! Aren’t we lucky it is the year 2020?

In 2002, my Mom was sick and in Long-term care. My Dad requested the VAE Board change the name to “The Anne Gypson Tour”, which it is presently called. In January, my Dad received a letter from board members, Jim Willett and Gael Boardman, agreeing to change the name. Mom passed in September 2006. Dad passed in August 2004.

How much wood can a woodchuck chuck

You all probably know I love to garden. 

Well, by now I’ve started to put the flower beds to rest for the long winter ahead, but I’ll tell you about my August/September problem. And it turned out to be a BIG problem. 

It seems we had a gopher invade our lawn. Well, at least that’s what I thought it was. I even looked up pictures of it and, yep, seems like that’s our guy. Well, the little bugger was living in the culvert that goes from one side of our driveway to the other and would come out to eat. It was eating the clover and I thought, great, I gotta deal with that clover at some point anyway, so have at it. 

Well, fast forward through to September and – dang it! – it turns out that it wasn’t a gopher at all. I discovered it, one morning, standing on its hind legs eating – EATING! – my flowers in the very large pots on our front porch. It stood 14-16 inches, and that ain’t no gopher. Gophers weigh between one and two pounds, and this was much bigger than a couple pounds. So back to Google I went and, lo and behold, it turns out that it’s a groundhog, otherwise known as a woodchuck. 

Okay, so this means war. I tolerated it for the previous month because it wasn’t doing any serious damage, so I thought, and then to find it eating my petunias and brand new phlox in my brand new front bed, plus it started on my Montauk daisy that I’ve been babying since last fall, and I’d had enough. 

Out came the animal trap. As you are reading this, I’d like to say we caught the woodchuck, but I can’t, so you’ll have to stay tuned to my future Softer Side and I’ll put a side note in to let you know how this terrible saga ended either for me or the woodchuck. 

I’m sure reading this, what comes to mind, is the following, which I’ll end on: 

“How much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” 

Editor’s notes…. 30-aught-6 comes to my mind Anne. 

Just saying. 

Stories for your Grandchildren

I was thinking, the other day, about Covid-19 and what it will be like to be on the other side of this horrible time. Of course, I hope that we will all get to the other side of this virus. Like most things in history at some point our grand or great grandchildren will hear of the terrible epidemic of 2020 and want to know how it affected us, good and bad. So, the following is the story I will tell (if I remember!). 

This is not your grandpa, or his camp, just an example. Actually, he was very happy at camp, with his old magazines.

It was March 2020 and Grandpa had left for his yearly trip to Chickasha, Oklahoma with his friend, Vin Cassidy. Before he left, we had been hearing news of a deadly virus in China, but things seemed to be simply fine here in the USA, so he left. He was probably two thirds across the country when there were cases in Seattle, Washington being reported. They continued toward Kansas first and then on to Oklahoma. About the time they hit Kansas, events started to be can-celled but so far, the Oklahoma event had not been. Grandma, being somewhat of a worry wart, suggested they head home to Vermont but Grandpa, being an Olney, moved on with no fear, even spent time with some ‘car guys’ from Seattle headed to Oklahoma. Suddenly it seemed that overnight a great concern hit the country and you could not keep up with the cancellations and closings. Grandpa and Vin headed to Oklahoma even though the event had been cancelled, thought they would just say, ‘Hey’. 

This is when Grandma said, ‘COME HOME!’. There was talk that some states were about to close their borders to all who were not essential. Of course, Grandpa would not believe he was not (essential), but they did high tail it back to Vermont. Now, we had to decide what to do with Grandpa once he got back. Answer: go to camp. Grandma packed food, water, clothes and other items in totes and put them on the porch 

because Grandma was not letting him in the house until he had quarantined for at least 2 weeks. The plan was to come to the house in Derby Line, get the truck and the packed items and head to camp. 

Problem #1: big snowstorm all the way from Massachusetts 

2. Truck would not start. So, Grandpa slept in the front of the 2006 Ford Fusion and the next morning shoveled out, jumped the truck and headed to camp. Thankfully, the snow did not last too long and with 4-wheel drive he could get in and out. 

The camp had no running water, (which causes a bathroom problem), camp not well insulated and totally open underneath so a bit tricky to keep warm with electric and wood heat. At this time, the lake was frozen over, still. 

Grandpa stayed over a week before he came out to stock up, again, still not being allowed in his house. Probably the children will ask, ‘what did he do?’ Well, he read newspapers, clipped old Life magazines, cut wood, and did yard work (once the snow was gone. Of course, some time was spent making his own meals, but he would bring his dishes to the house and Grandma would wash them and send them back. It was about 3 weeks before he was allowed home to shower and shave. 

To get all the yard work done and wood cut, he ended up staying for about 2 months. By now, Grandma was used to being a single woman and enjoying it, I might add. But it was Grandma who finally said, ‘pack up and come home’, Willy the cat misses you. And so, he did, and he is still there (home) today. 

The End. 

What to do with all these photos…

Thinking back on the winter chores that I didn’t get done, one thing that is always on my list is ‘photos’.

I went through boxes of greeting cards, birthday cards and Christmas cards that seem to have accumulated in the desk.

Does anyone else save cards for thirty years or more? In a weak moment I discarded cards from people I don’t even remember, Christmas cards that go back to the time when people sent cards to everyone, even people you saw almost on a daily basis. That was when postage stamps were only a few cents. I did save those special cards that the kids made when they were little, the cards Gael made with the funny little poems in them, cards from the grandparents who are no longer with us. The kids will have to go through them next.

How about calendars. I saved calendars for thirty years or more. I’m not sure why, but there have been times when I couldn’t remember someone’s birth date and would look it up on a calendar in my stack.

family photos

But back to ‘photos’. If your house is like ours, you might have pictures from your grandparents, your parents, your in-law’s, not to mention all the photos of your immediate family, starting with your early days of marriage and then the kids, animals, etc.

Here, at our house, we have an additional category… old cars and equipment. These go back to the days of the Brownie camera with the film that would be taken to the store and a week later you would go back and pick up the photos.

Gael wasn’t too keen on having his picture taken, as many of you know, but he loved to take pictures of old stuff.

I came upon stacks of photos of trips to auto museums, automobile meets, various auto trips, Gael’s collection of things here at home, Stowe VAE shows, some having people from the club who have been gone a long time. Bob Jones, Peveril Peake to name a few.

My first trip to the Stowe Show was in 1960 when Mahlon, Gael and I took the speedster that they made from a fire truck in St. Albans.

I haven’t tackled the boxes of family photos that go back generations, I’m not sure what to do with them, so they will remain in their boxes another year. Throwing them out is not an option. At this point they are tucked away in safe places where I know they are.

Gael’s photos, on the other hand, are finally in a few shoe boxes, all in one location and sorted out as best I can. Is there anyone out there that would like to go through them with me and perhaps identify cars, equipment and people so they can go back in their boxes in some kind of order. Here, again, throwing them out is not an option. A little dust on the top of the boxes won’t hurt anyone.

My musings from the past six months

Happy 4th of July! This day and, really, the past six months have probably been for you and me the most challenging in our day-to-day lives. We’re all self-distancing except for family and close friends. What, the Governor has said we can be in groups of 25 now? At least that gives us the chance to enjoy family and those friends who you know well, and trust they have taken the same precautions. We will get through this and hope-fully come out the better for it! 

So what have you been doing these last six months? After pondering the question, you can probably rattle off some answers: doing nothing!, cleaning out closets with bags and boxes for Goodwill, puzzle-making, working from home, taking care of your children/grandchildren, maybe working on that old junker you never had time for, cooking up a storm. The answers are endless… 

By the time you read this article, my family will have grown by two! The end of June my niece, who lives in Maine, will have delivered baby girl Morgan, and my nephew and his wife, who are local, will have delivered baby girl Blair. The babies are each couple’s first child and my mother’s fifth and sixth great-grandchildren. My younger brother Tom and his wife Beth are hoping to see baby Morgan at birth, their third grandchild. They will have isolated for two weeks prior to the birth so they can travel to Maine and hold this pink bundle of joy. Unfortunately, Tom and Beth have not seen their daughter since December and have only seen pictures of her pregnant. There’s nothing like putting your hand on the mama’s belly and feeling that baby kick. 

Our family had to make the difficult decision to cancel both baby showers. It was disappointing but understandable, I was so looking forward to oohing and ahhing over little pink baby things. 

My COVID-19 isolation has been mostly home and driving two miles to my mother’s, grocery/pharmacy shopping, and then home again. I’m so looking forward to dinner out where it’s not eating in the car or take-out. I’d like to eat at Zachary’s seated in a booth, have someone to cook for me, wait on me, and do the dishes after I’ve eaten. My husband calls me a “cheap date,” and I’m proud of it! 

My biggest joy the last few months has been my gardens. With the weather so cooperative, I managed to get into the soil the first of April, and what a difference it’s made. One flower bed that I had decided last year to take apart and grass-in has instead flourished, and I’ve been weeding like crazy, then hubby and I have been bordering it with stone. That’s where my gor-geous burgundy red lilies live! To think I was going to cause their de-mise. And the new 30-by-4-foot piece of landscape in front of the porch that had god-ugly shrubs has now been replaced with new perennials. 

Lastly, I gave my hubby Don a flag and flagpole for Christmas. It’s proudly installed next to the front island flower bed. It even has a solar light that beams downward to the ground. 

So what have you been doing these last six months? And Happy 4th of July! 

A note from the editor…… 

Miss Anne, “they” are not old junkers. “They”, are special, unique, precious pieces of history. “They” are the reasons we, in the club, are put on this earth. 

“They”, are the reason we do not have to think twice, when “one” needs rescuing. No matter the finances required. 

“They”, are the reason we need all those specialty tools in our shops. No matter the finances required. 

“They” are the reasons our wives love us so much and we are so easy to get along with.. 

I can talk to the people at the end of the road now

A few days ago when I turned the calendar to a new page, I noticed something that I haven’t seen in all my years of keeping a calendar. The page for May was blank. There was nothing written anywhere, with the one exception that there was a reminder to give my dog, Dixie, her heartworm and tick pills on the first of May. I promptly did this because the ticks are out in full force. 

There were no appointments, no reminders of meetings, dates to have my weekly and monthly breakfasts with friends, no community dinners at the church, not even a dental appointment. No Meals on Wheels transport, no Bone Builders classes, nothing. This is what my world is all about lately. I don’t have one of those phones, that everyone else has, where people text other people every five minutes. I’ve tried Zoom meetings without luck. Fortunately, most of my friends are older and we are still fine with e-mailing which has been happening a lot lately. Some include pictures which is great. 

Now that the weather has finally decided to show signs of spring, neighbors have been out walking and I can visit at a distance with them, find out what’s going on at their house, if anything. Someone rescued two miniature ponies, another spotted their first wildflower, someone else had her first encounter with a tick. The road crew working on the road and got the grader stuck, that was exciting!

When the snow is gone, I can use a back way (Class 4 road) to my house so now I can visit with neighbors on Lower English Settlement Road that I haven’t seen since last fall. This is always a sure sign of spring. I now can find out all the gossip on that end of the road. A few friends make a point of calling someone every day to check in and visit for a few minutes. My elderly friends have found someone to pick up a few groceries for them, take care of the trash and recycle bin for them, and just check on them once in a while. 

Once in a while someone sends me something in an e-mail that is timely…one such thing has several timely sentences. Here are a few that I found I could relate to and chuckled. Commercials in 2030 will be like… ”Were you or someone you know overly exposed to hand sanitizers, Lysol or bleach, during the 2020 Corvid 19 pandemic? If so, you may be entitled to compensation”. 

Not even a dental appointment

There were others like…. 

  • “If you thought toilet paper was crazy, wait until 300 million people all want a hair cut.”
  • “I’ve spent weeks hanging out with myself and I’m so sorry to every person I spend time with”
  • “After listening to Linda, his human, for 4 weeks while in quarantine as she complained for hours on end, Sparky realized he was not cut out to be an emotional support dog”
  • “Anyone else getting three weeks to a gallon?”
  • “My husband and I decided we don’t want to have children. We will be telling them tonight at dinner”.

I have more but I might save them for the next time it’s my turn to write the Softer Side, if things continue like this for three more months. Meanwhile, be lucky you live in such a great state, enjoy the spring, be thankful for good friends and neighbors and keep wearing your masks. They are colorful, aren’t they? 

The Upside…

There probably isn’t one of us who hasn’t said, “I wish I could do this or that but just don’t have the time”. Well, now, chances are you do – have the time. 

I have heard people say that they would like to make their own bread, make a quilt, or just finish those projects that you started ages ago. You know, back when you had more time, whenever that was! 

Some will have more time than others. Those of you who are still going into work everyday or working from home to keep things, out there, running – Bless You. 

For those of us who are just sheltering in place with no children to home school and no job, we have an opportunity to get those extra projects done. 

What have you wanted to do that you felt you never had the time for i.e… clean closets, wash windows (a friend of mine was washing her walls) that particular activity isn’t on my bucket list but may be yours. I am sure everyone has a different list but if you are having trouble coming up with one, let me help you. 

Make pasta, make a quilt, hook a rug, frame your pictures and posters, organize your ‘stuff’, make bread, read books and magazines that have accumulated, write letters, notes and cards, learn a language, write a family history for your children and grandchildren, paint a room, clean your oven, make calls to others that you haven’t talked to in a while or to those alone and just ‘check’ on them, make a book of favorite family recipes, plan the first big get together for when we are safe and released from home confinement We will see an end to this (hopefully sooner than later). These are only a few suggestions, I’m sure you all could add many more to the list. 

Look at this time as an opportunity to do something you have wanted to do or just to ‘catch up’ and maybe for some of us just to slow down. 

One thing I know, if you have a dog, they are thrilled you are home and in hopes of an extra walk or two. Cats, they are probably just annoyed that the routine has changed. 

Until we can all get together again, stay safe and in good health. 

I was in the car the other day…

I was in the car, the other day, running errands and having a conversation with myself (Dixie, my dog, was not with me that day). 

I was muttering about the depressing state of affairs in the nation and world, when I found myself singing a song that just popped into my little brain, “Keep On The Sunny Side”. I felt much better after a few minutes. 

Then I started to think about all the songs that were written about sun, and sunshine and in just a few minutes thought of quite a few. How about these: 

The Sunny Side of the Street, Here Comes the Sun ( Beatles), Good Day Sunshine (Beatles), Keep on the Sunny Side (Carter family), Sunshine on My Shoulder (John Denver), You Are My Sunshine. 

Years ago, when Joe Kaelin would call Gael, they would often start singing OLD songs on the telephone and that would last for hours, it seemed. Fred Cook was another one that knew all the OLD songs. Fred and Gael would, again, sing at length. I have fond memories of Fred starting to sing without any notice…..a good memory. 

One of my favorits is… Keep On The Sunny Side which played a part in the recent Ken Burns series about country music. Years ago, when we would sit around a camp fire with neighbors, we always started singing and one song that was sung was “You Are My Sunshine”. I wonder if kids these days know that song. Do people sit around camp fires and sing any more? Maybe, maybe not, but I will continue to sing these songs, especially in the months to come. Singing, and humming, is good for the soul and it makes me feel a little bit better, if only for a short time. 

Can you think of any more songs that you could add to my list? 

PS… There is a good video on You Tube about dogs at the beach with the song ”Walking in Sunshine”. I think that’s the name of it, another sunshine song. 

Flowers

I love flowers! I am addicted to gardening! There. I’ve admitted it for all the world to know. It’s my #1 passion (well, besides Donald and Millie, hubby and cat respectively, though some days I’m not sure who outranks whom). So this time of year my mind starts wandering…….. 

I’ll let you all in on a little secret. I purchase most of my annuals and perennials at Claussen’s in Colchester. I love that garden center. Because my passion/obsession can get to be a little expensive, I’ve found a great way to save 20% +. I’ll explain how — though please don’t tell anyone else! 

Claussen’s a number of times a year has a 20% off gift card sale, so I go in and, let’s say, buy a $50 gift card, and it only costs me $40. Bingo! Then when spring and summer roll around, just about every week, they have a different perennial Special of the Week: Buy one perennial and get the second free! Well, you don’t have to twist my arm. So I’ll go in and buy maybe two perennial Montauk Daisy* plants (my new favorite) but only have to pay for one — with my gift card, of course. Boy, I’m way ahead now. Then of course Claussen’s has “annual” specials, i.e., buy four geraniums, get two free; buy one pack of marigolds, get a second ½ price. 

Now I digress: Late last fall I finished putting my flower beds to winter sleep, pruned and trimmed bushes, cleaned out bird houses, and generally put the outside to rights for the long winter. I’ve made it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, a trip out west with my hubby for a month, and now I am planning my first foray, into the gardens, once the shovel can make its way into the thawed ground. 

I have big plans this year. I’ve already removed five very ugly bushes that were along the front porch. I still have seven left to go. First I will dig two circles around each bush with my favorite Christmas present from last year, my sawtooth shovel, and then I’ll hop on my trusty outdoor toy, John Deere, hook up a big, heavy, long chain with giant hooks, snake them around each of those dang bushes, gun the JD, and not-so-gently riiip!! those suckers out of the ground one by one. To feel those roots give up the ghost is very satisfying — “he-he.” 

After that I’ll be placing two layers of edging stones along the 24-foot length of the porch, backfilling with good soil and compost, and then, my most favorite part of all, heading to Claussen’s where I’ll purchase a dozen perennials that will be spread over the length of my newest garden. I won’t be using any filler plants or ground cover plants; just mulch. Oh, how I can’t wait to get my hands in good old Mother Earth! 

Gardening is my obsession, my passion, my joy, my happiness. What’s yours? What brings you much happiness in the spring time? 

Montauk Daisies

*Montauk Daisies, pictured right, are a herbaceous perennial flower that forms a mounded clump. In this area, they bloom late summer to frost. While other flowers have died off, these gorgeous plants are in full bloom, and on sunny days you can find the last of the bees collecting nectar and pollen. 

Christmas Past

Most of us have just ‘signed off’ on another Christmas and are packing away the decorations and ornaments and dragging the tree to the curb. 

We were late with the tree and decorations this year, so we will leave them in a bit longer. Can’t wait too long, as a lady at church today said that Walmart has all it’s Easter candy and related stuff already to put out this week. I refuse to buy Easter eggs in January! 

What I wanted to talk about is the change I have seen in the Christmas season since I was really ‘into it’. I remember the real highlight was the stockings that Santa left on Christmas Eve. I have a picture of my brothers, sister and I up at 3AM holding our stockings. I believe my mother took our picture and sent us back to bed! The stockings were, for sure, the most important part of the ‘gift getting’. I have often thought about why, but can just say, they were always fun. 

Gifts under the tree were great too but we could almost always predict what would be there. If you needed PJs, they were under the tree. The same with other clothing, shoes, school supplies, etc. The key word is ‘needed’. I am sure most of you reading this can relate to that. Santa saw to it, that things in the stocking, were fun and not necessarily needed. Probably some candy, socks, books, always a box of lifesavers (one item this Santa still gives everyone) and in the toe – a beautiful, large orange. 

When I tell my grandchildren about the orange and how it was so eagerly welcomed, they look at me like I have two heads! I must realize that in their lifetime, oranges have been available and affordable all year round. The orange has now been replaced with a gift card to Xbox. What’s an Xbox? A box with a X on it?? I dare say most things given at Christmas now are not on the ‘needed’ list and maybe that is good if it means families can afford the wanted list. 

So what I am saying, is that waiting for Christmas for some needed things is just fine, especially if Santa supplies the fun things right along with the needed. Wishing you a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.