Vermont Pleasures

By Bob Howard In Essays

Enough of bugs in Eden and snakes in the grass, let me tell you now of the special pleasures of my Vermont.

Like looking out the kitchen window over the sink and beholding the Howard estate with its weed whacked forest edge permitting a view of the deciduous and coniferous trunks of the green hills.

To the forest


Like dining on fresh garden vegetables, especially the tomatoes and the corn from Cross Road Farm, in which one can taste the sweetness of God’s good earth. Pricey but worth it after a winter of BLT’s with tomato slices as tasteless as plywood.


Tomatoes And Corn
$5.45 for these three items!

Or the civilized concoctions of culinary experts, trained in the gustatory arts at NECI in Montpelier, and displaying the appropriated arts at Sarducci’s, a name which owes more to SNL than to any Italian stonecutter who immigrated from Barre Italy to Barre Vermont.



Then there’s our cabin's main room beam adorned with Betsy’s paintings of the camps in the commune, commemorating eighty years of summers begun when Methodist clergy in Depression necessity had a month’s vacation and no cash to spend on it, so what else to do but chip in and buy a Vermont farm of 118 acres with a farmhouse for $900 and share the space with eight other families.

Betsy's Beam Mural


And consider what my two soulmates, an octogenarian from Long Island and a nonagenarian white-haired French lady with an inexhaustible appetite, dears Barbara and Tappy, glory in: walking in the fields unconstrained by traffic and intrusions of strangers (or the necessity of small plastic bags).


Barb and Tappy


And, of course, the total silence of a windless day, mitigated only occasionally by the extremely high flying planes from an air force base seventy miles away.

My cone runneth over

I celebrate too the cones that runneth over, coffee, our favorite, which, sad to admit, causes a few moments of intestinal discomfort in an aged body with an inclination to lactose intolerance… yummy no less!

Ah, yes, easy to forget in this age of global warming, when previous summers in the cabin provided a minimum number of days with open windows, unlike the present moment when the temperature rarely goes below 60: the Franklin stove, a bedroom antique from Amityville NY. When the skies of September cloud over, small logs of dried hardwood warm and illuminate the main room, and, if we are lucky and find an apple log to toss in, provides us with a rainbow of fire.

Franklin Stove


Speaking of which, a rainbow, they are as plentiful in our valley as in Hawaii. Here’s photographic proof of their existence in both places, the one from the oceanic haven from grandson Robert vacationing there prior to the beginning of grad school in Ann Arbor.


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