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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Monday, October 27, 2014

Home in Vermont at Last!


Monday October 27, 2014 Kitchen Counter Post Mills, Vermont

Bill laughs when I express pleasure at being home AT LAST!  When we are travelling in winter I do everything I can think of to prolong the trip and avoid returning to Vermont. I must admit that there was some missing him in my anxiety to get home! There is, however, the added factor that returning to Vermont in late March, early April does NOT guarantee that winter is over or that snow is gone, no matter what the calendar says about the seasons. I can handle the delay of leaving for the warmth and sun until February but the return from Paradise to bare trees, snow on the ground and general deadly scenery is much, much more difficult.

On this trip, I wasn’t really anxious to get home until we were definitely irretrievably in the industrial East as exemplified by cities such as Erie and Buffalo, even Columbus and Cleveland. Once reaching that point of no return, I just wanted to be back with my B’s and the cats, in our cozy log cabin asap. Even Barb’s house, which I love under most situations was a trial—so close and yet so far from HOME.

Nonetheless, I did enjoy our last days wandering the Finger Lakes region and other areas of New York. No matter how long I’ve lived in Vermont and how beautiful I find it, my heart will always consider New York State home. The wider valleys, the wide pebbly streams, the foliage that is every bit as beautiful as Vermont’s, the two distinctly different mountain ranges, the Dutch influence in the Catskills, the vast forests of the Adirondacks, sprinkled liberally with crystal clear lakes, the mighty rivers that flow in all of its regions, the Hudson, St Lawrence, Mohawk, the variety of geographic formations and the fact that throughout my childhood and young adulthood I explored all of them numerous times with my family. Vermont can never fill me with love the same way, though I’ve explored every inch of it, as well. The last two hours of travel, then was quite pleasant though not on backroads but on I 90—the Thruway, that I hated as a child because we gave up using the Taconic once it was built.

We arrived at Barb’s around noontime on the 24 th and took our time cleaning out the car. Each time we brought in a load we immediately sorted through it, Barb put her things away and I packaged mine to make it easier to transport to Vermont. It is not that we bought a great deal, though Barb bought more than I since many places were places I return to and so can get things as I run out. Also she was buying things for my nephew and his family and again, I didn’t buy many things for Betsy since I already have her Christmas gifts and she has requested money for a trip to England and Germany in February. We took a break for coffee and another to just relax a bit. In time the pantry was sorted, the china closet emptied and things put away, the refrigerator ( cooler ) was one of the first to be emptied and what little food we had left put away in the real fridge. Our andouille from La was still frozen and put in the real freezer. Our cake from the bakery in La was checked –well, Barb’s was—I left mine wrapped until I got home. Her’s was a bit dried out but mine were in good shape this morning and Bill has already eaten at least three of his praline brownie today! By three o’clock, George, as we named the Red Vibe that transported us on our journey was picked clean.

Barb called Charlie and since he and Cheryl had to work all weekend she went down to pick up Damian around 4 ish. We were to go out to Olive Garden for dinner but I was truly tired and hoped we would not. She called around 6 to say she was picking up Chinese and would be home in about an hour. I was waiting to open the birthday gift she’d carried across the country and didn’t give me until we got home. Finally, I couldn’t wait any longer and opened it to find a beautiful scarf in rich blues and burgundy. I put it on, so that she’d see that I really loved it. Around 7: 30 I took it off and refolded it and got out one of my new books: Search for the Navajo Code Talkers by Sally McClain. It is a slim volume describing her research for her book, Navajo Weapon, which is the story of the development of the idea of using Navajos and their language to send coded messages in the Pacific Theatre of WW II, the recruitment of the men, the development of the alphabet and vocabulary of the code and the battles in the Pacific and the involvement of Navajo Code Talkers in each one. The first book was a quick read and I had almost half of it read by the time Barb and the wonderful Chinese meal appeared around 815. My first Chinese food in two months and just delicious. Watched Hawaii 5-0 and BlueBloods and I headed off to bed.

I got up late Saturday morning and was relieved to see that Damian had returned to his normal active, bright eyed self. He had been terribly subdued on Friday night and didn’t show any real enthusiasm for seeing me. I felt disappointed and somewhat alarmed and hoped that two months in a home with another dog and a larger family hadn’t somehow altered his personality. I should not have worried—he greeted me as always with a soft toy and the invitation to play ” tug of war, Damian wins”. It is one of his favorite pastimes!  Barb had already started the laundry. We tore the Sunday papers apart and read just the comics and Parade magazine. Barb cut our coupons and went out to the store to get dog food for Damian. She brought back some apple cider donut holes which we demolished while reading. We folded laundry and switched stuff from washer  to dryer. I gave her the notebook from the trip to photocopy and some CD’s to burn and then I headed in to take a nap. Damian did the same. When I got up around 5:30 we  ate leftover Chinese, which was better than the night before. We then binge watched The Blacklist to catch up on episodes we missed because we never seemed to get the TV times synchronized with our EST TV watching biological clocks!! And so another day was gone.

Yesterday, I moved everything from my room to the living room so Bill could take it out to the car when he arrived. Took my shower and washed my hair, dressed and just as I was sitting down to coffee the doorbell rang and Bill was there. How good to see him! Barb had made bacon so we all gathered round the table and Bill and Barb immediately started talking houseplants—ugh! Eventually, Bill started loading the car and Barb and I finished up writing in the restaurant book she keeps. She’d given me a copy of the book but I always forget to take it with me and usually just photograph the menus, though I didn’t do that this time for some reason. Before long all was packed and loaded and so we hugged good-bye—still speaking after almost eight weeks on the road but glad to have a respite from our 24/7 existence. It was a good trip and both of us were sorry to have it over but we have lots of memories that we will talk about together and with others for a long time.

Bill and I headed North on the Northway, cut over through Ft Edward and Hudson Falls to Ft Ann, where they’ve torn down an old brick building that I’ve loved for more than 50 years—it is such a hole on the corner to have it gone. I wonder what will appear in its place? Then on through Whitehall toward Fair Haven. We stopped at the old apple orchard where we picked apples every year when I was a kid and where my parents took Charlie when he was little. Bought six of the most delicious apple cider donuts to be found anywhere in the world—fresh baked that morning—I look forward to them every year. On to Rutland, over the mountain and to Applebee’s in W. Leb where I bought Bill dinner. Turns out that Sarah, my favorite bartender there, not only shares many of my tastes in jewelry and Native American lore—she’s part Abenaki—but also my birthday!!!! We never knew that before so we wished each other a happy belated birthday before we headed home.

As we pulled in the driveway, I was delighted to see Betsy who was just leaving. She’d dropped by on her way home from Burlington on the off chance we’d be here. Hugged each other strongly and I gave her the few things I’d gotten for her and placed in a separate shopping bag. She was anxious to get going since she had to do her plans for today but she took the time to open her gifts, which I didn’t expect her to do. She liked her “ Cat “ magnet that I bought in Bozeman and the sign about teacher’s loving June, July and August as the best teaching months. She seemed perplexed about pecan oil but I think she’ll like using it in some of her stir fries. Then she was off.

I was amazed how early it was so I started to unwrap and put some of my purchases away. As you can see, most are foodstuffs. Bought Bill a new Buffalo Trace t-shirt, a John Wayne bottle opener for the fridge door and a new Buffalo Bill hat, to replace the one he left in a Donelson, La store several years back. I cannot seem to get a nice picture of the wonderful pendants we bought in Canyon d’Chelly, done by Ted Henry of the Ansel Adams’ picture of his Mom and brother.

I’m not going to bother with the wine etc until Bill goes to work on Thursday—I will do the bills then and go through the box of mail that awaits my scrutiny. I know I have some new books there, too and my other sneakers. But it will be better to deal with those things while alone.

Misty has gotten very thin, her hind legs are almost non-functional by the end of the day and she falls asleep sitting up. She sat in my lap for hours last night while I watched the two Masterpiece shows and the one on Scottish castles. Attila was here with Bets when I got home but very quickly took off to parts unknown returning after I was asleep and waking me about 1230 by taking a bath while pressed against my sleeping leg. He’d come in through the bedroom window sometime after 1130. Misty is very much more vocal now and wants to be in my workroom, which is off limits or in my kitchen cabinet with pots and pans,also off limits. She wanders aimlessly and gives an insistent raucous call for no apparent reason. I think her time is coming and I only hope it happens naturally—I truly don’t want to put her down. She is definitely in her second childhood and loves just being in your lap for hours.

So, after 10,634.0 miles, a little less than $5,000 dollars ( I brought home some money even with stopping at Perry Null and Grandmother’s Buttons) and 52 days ( to Barb’s –actually 54 days for me—2 days less than the 8 weeks I thought to be gone) I am home in Vermont. We had 12 free nights between Choice Hotels and Barb’s Holiday Inn points. We also spent one night at my friends’, Bud and Gloria in Belen, NM. That is always a trip extender though I have to start building up more for our next trip—down to 167 this time!  I lost two more pounds on the trip and Barb lost 4 more so we ate thoughtfully for the most part. We are both pleased with that and my reward was the lapis ring I’ve wanted for two or three years at Perry Nulls, which never fit me til now.  Smile

The house looks great and the sun is shining. I’ve little left to put away and once the bills and mail are done I can start reading profusely again. I’m four books ahead of my goal of reading 52 books this year—actually 5 1/2 ahead, as of this morning, I did my first crossword and crypto-quip in two months this morning and it was fun. Now to start thinking holidays and planning for our winter trip. By February, I’ll be chomping at the bit to be on the road again. Thank you all for joining us in our adventure. I hope you enjoyed it at least half as much as we. The next train will be departing in a few months and I hope some of you will join us once more. Until then, Happy Trails, from the Homing Pigeon Sisters ( and especially from the Blogging Sister) Kathy and Barb

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