Up until he became sick, my husband had a list of things he wanted to do before he kicked the proverbial bucket.
- Own and rebuild a ’57 Chevy. Done and add one more.
- Own and work on two or three Jeeps. Done, with one to finish.
- Climb the 14’ers in Colorado, done, and for years drive or pull one to climb the mountains in Colorado. Done.
- Pass motorcycle riding test. Done and #1 in class
- Buy a motorcycle, a brand-spanking-new one, but not quite good enough which led to:
- Pre-order everything for a new Harley. Done, somehow with my blessing.
- Lots of stuff to do remodeling a gutted house. Elbow shattered, so what? Use the other hand.
I am not saying I didn’t have a list because I did too. Most I accomplished, but one was still out of the can, visiting the last of the continental 48 states.
So we planned my bucket list entry to visit Vermont. Incidentally, I centered on Stowe, the village I needed to research and visit because my next protagonist, her family, friends, and other Vermonters were born, raised, lived there until they came to Minnesota–many to Clearwater— to settle. So why Vermont? Simply, none of our other trips connected with this delightful and beautiful state.
In addition, my husband and I have been planning our 50th, which is this December. (What an awful time to get married. My poor mother did this though with one arm held behind her back.) This area with all of its natural beauty seemed a nice fit to start our celebration.
We also had a special tour around the town by Stowe, VT, History Society president Barbara Baraw. She led the two of us on an extensive walk and ride throughout the village, showing us where many had lived, and where historical hotels and businesses were at one time.
Here is where Abigail Robinson Camp Porter was born in Stowe, Vermont, in 1819 on Main Street. Her father, Dr. Joseph Robinson, worked at his trade, lived with his wife Hannah Perkins Robinson and his children, all but 2 came to Minnesota. After Abigail’s first husband, also from Stowe, died in a gold camp in Marysville, California, she took the chance to start new. She accepted the offer from the Clearwater townsite founders to travel to Clearwater to become the hotel housekeeper. Born on Main Street in Stowe, Abigail moved to Clearwater in 1855 where she became the first of Clearwater’s Main Street Women. Her sisters and brother, as well as her father after his wife died, settled in the new village.
The Community Church of Stowe is just that–a non-denominational church that has stood near the center of Main Street since 1863. Larger than the Clearwater United Methodist Church built by S. M. Marvin, its inside reminded me so much of my family’s gathering place on Sunday mornings. With its split pews and red carpet as well as simple sanctuary, one can see how the New Englanders wanted something to remind them of ‘home’ when they moved west.
A bit cliche’ish but my bucket overfloweth once we traveled to Derry, New Hampshire where we stopped to visit Robert Frost’s home and farm. You know I was an English teacher and a fast fan of Frost. While my husband went around taking pictures of various poems, trees, the house with an attached barn, I decided to sit on his porch and wait for inspiration. I looked at the railing on the porch and saw one last morning-glory clinging to the vine, opened, perfect, and blue. It was like the great bard had opened his door and said, “experience my place with all your senses.” And as I sat, there on Frost’s little white waiting bench, I smelled apples that were past ripe and harvesting.
As I made my way to one of the two apple trees left that Robert Frost planted, I walked carefully between fallen apples laying all over the grounds. In”After Apple-Picking,” all those that fell from the narrator’s hand would surely go to the cider-apple heap.”
What a wonderful trip we had. Now, after sleeping in my comfortable bed for a few nights, I can admit we had a few glitches, which I’ll write about someday. Thank goodness, we got home despite a horrid Nor-Easter pounding its way onto the east coast.
I could go on about setbacks, sidelines, disappointments, fears, and even “never agains,” of some of the best things I have added to my bucket. Yet, the joys and lessons I have had far out way the problems I (and sometimes WE) encountered along our journey. Isn’t that life though? Sometimes the roads we travel are not paved with gold, but they lead us to amazing experiences.
Happy Fall and early Christmas events:
November 13, Becker Lutheran Church, Arts & Crafts, 9-4
November 27, Perfectly Unique Arts & Crafts, St Could Event Center, 9-3
December 11, Kimball United Methodist Church Arts and Crafts, 9-4