Is Now the Time in Life for Regrets?

I don’t know if others about my age have moments when they think back and kind of scroll through their life and have some regrets about what they did or didn’t do, but I have. I think it was Robert Frost who wrote about coming to a fork in the road and “taking the less traveled” which got him where he was at that time. I know I took the “more traveled” as I have never been adventurous; actually, kind of a scaredy cat. As I look back, I know there have been times where I have thought I wish I had done this or that, but it is more in the realm of should have taken a pie to the new neighbor than any life-changing event.

I know I don’t regret not moving to New Jersey in the ‘60s for a housekeeping job, no matter how enticing they were making it sound. I had wanted a daughter, but when I was blessed with two (wonderful) boys, I don’t regret not trying again! I don’t regret not marrying the undertaker I had been dating, but thinking about that now, maybe it would have made more financial sense as I ease toward needing said service! No, I don’t think I have any REAL regrets. I can see what, I think, are things other people will or do regret.

I was watching the Final Four last night and the commentors were sitting at a table “commentating” when a young man came up behind them with a totally inappropriate sign for all the TV world to see. I

About 20 years ago, my son, Joshua, was just out of college and working as an assistant golf professional at a very prestigious club just outside of Boston. This job was special and unique especially for the sports minded as the owner of the Patriots football team was a member and that meant that many of the team would play golf and Josh would get to meet them. One day a man came in and asked i Drew Bledsoe (quarterback for the Patriots) was there because he wanted to get his autograph. Joshua said that “no, he wasn’t there, but the backup quarterback was,” and the man said, “Forget it. Wouldn’t want to waste my time,” and left. Do you think that today he is regretting his decision to not “waste his time”? Of course you have figured it out. He passed up getting the one and only TOM BRADY’s autograph. Guess this proves that some “regrets” can be bigger than others. Hope you don’t have any.

Ever wondered how a beauty shop gets its name? 

Have you ever wondered how a beauty shop gets its name? Well, riding shotgun in our truck as my husband, Don, drove us around Tucson this winter, the signs over the doors just sort of jumped out at me, there were so many, practically on every corner. Names like Inspirations Salon, Exotic Hair Salon, All Natural Beauty Parlor, Shear Glamour Salon. I’m not making these names up, I promise. “All Natural”? What, do they cut hair with “green” scissors? “Exotic”? Will I find male strippers in the shampoo room? 

This one was one of my favorites: Maple Leaf Hair Salon, in Arizona, no less. I so wanted to yell “Stop the truck!” and get out and go in the salon just to ask the origin of the name. Is this a transplant beautician from Vermont? because I don’t think you’ll find a maple leaf anywhere here in Tucson. I’m not sure Tucsonans even know what maples trees are let alone what comes from them because Don and I seem to have stumbled on an endless supply of – horrors! — Aunt Jemima at the Sunday morning pancake breakfasts at our RV resort. 

Well, as usual, I digressed from the topic at hand. So how about a salon called A Cut Above? Above what? Above 6th Street? What are they trying to imply, that they’re better than everyone else? Then there was Daisy Diamonds Hair Salon. That’s cute and intriguing, but it’s a mouthful. [Phone ringing] “Daisy Diamonds Hair Salon. How may I help you?” Maybe the joint is owned by someone named Daisy and she likes diamonds. Don saw this one: Better Beauty Parlor. Better than what? Better than All Natural Beauty Parlor? 

And of course there were the salons that wanted their name front and center: Remilah’s All Beauty Salon. Bassett’s Fine Hair. This one made me think of Bassett’s Fine Furniture; wonder if they’re related. 

I thought this one was cute: The Beauty Bar. Maybe I could get a cut & color and order a frozen margarita all at the same time . 

Lastly, my personal favorite: Blush & Bloom. It just sounds lovely. With all the grey in my hair starting to peek through, I wonder if they have an opening for an appointment. 

And this one intrigued me enough to write it down: Nueva Imagen Salon. Not knowing Spanish, I just had to get Google to translate it for me. It means New Image Salon. How about Rogue Salon? Merriam-Webster defines the noun “rogue” as a dishonest or worthless person, and the verb means to weed out inferior, diseased, or nontypical individuals. I don’t think I’d’ve chosen that name for my beauty shop. 

Tap Time

I was talking to a nice (cute) young man who is doing a little logging here on the property. He was saying that he had to go to Richmond to clear a lot of blowdowns in someone’s sugarbush. I think of March as sugaring season, but some people have already made syrup, so I guess it’s all weather related. It got me thinking about when we moved here in the sixties. The farmer who lived here had a sugar-house out back, and you can still find his buckets in the woods when out walking. The old sugarhouse has collapsed, and I’m not sure if I could find it today. 

A neighbor down the road has a growing maple  business and keeps increasing the number of taps by thousands every year. He taps the trees on my hill across the road and recently tapped a neighbor’s 400 acres. I got a ride through the sugar woods in the fall with his sister, and she showed me where she found the remnants of an old sugarhouse and arch deep in the woods. According to the Beers Atlas of 1859, there were a few houses on that piece of land that are no longer there. 

Everyone remembers when the sap buckets would appear on trees along the road and on people’s lawns. Does anyone use buckets anymore? It’s turned into a high-tech business. Sign of the times. 

When we moved here, there was a retired priest that lived a mile down the road, Father Spear. He grew up in Enosburg on a farm, and when he bought 100 acres on the English Settlement Road, he tapped a few trees near the house. We were given a pony back then that we couldn’t keep in a fenced-in area, so she wandered around the neighborhood. Fortunately, there were only a few houses on the road then, so it wasn’t much of a problem, and Father Spear always enjoyed seeing Ginger show up at his house. 

Except when he had buckets on his trees. Ginger knew when he hung up the buckets and would wander down the road to his house and drink the sap out of any bucket that didn’t have a lid on it, then  meander back home, walking in the middle of the road. Always when the mailman was trying to get to our house. Ginger wouldn’t budge and just kept walking in the middle of the road. I found it humorous, but Wendell, the mailman, didn’t. 

We had a similar experience here when the kids hung a few buckets around the house. Our goats would drink the sap out of the kids’ buckets. The kids gave up. I wish the sugarmakers well in the  upcoming season and hope Mother Nature cooperates. I look forward to the neighbors having their Open House in March. 

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.