Last week I drove 126 miles to Vermont for…breakfast. Yes, just for breakfast. My wife and kids thought I was a quite daft for driving all that way for only 2 ½ hours. Well there was another motive. More on that later.
The drive was beautiful as it was at or near peak foliage color in middle New England that week. It really was a beautiful red, yellow, and orange splashed trip. I left home at about 5:30 so about the first hour was in the dark. After that it was just what the picture post cards of New England in October are supposed to look like. I passed through the North-Central part of Massachusetts, part of the Mohawk Trail. Through this area the hillsides and small valleys were draped in their Fall Finery and was very bright when the sun hit it.
Later there were some clouds and sprinkles as I entered southwestern New Hampshire. The scenery was colorful but not as bright. Through this very rural part of NH and into southern Vermont I was able to see roadside items I never see near my home in the Metrowest area of Boston. There were many barns, cows, horses, other farm animals along with farm houses and farm equipment. My dad grew up on a farm in Southern NH for the first part of his boyhood so these things reminded me of him. To offset the country character of the area I listened to my iPod for the entire trip. Around this time the Beatles Long and Winding Road appropriately played.
Some of the fun (odd?) things I saw along this Long and Winding Road were a billboard for an attorney who claimed to have “Knuckles of Brass, Heart of Gold”. Another landmark was a sign in front of a Diner that read “Famous since 1988, before that, not open”. A store called Sam’s that claimed to be the “Biggest little store in the world”. And finally an Inn that advertised on the sign out front “PLAN YOUR SPECTACULAR EVENT HERE”. Too bad the place was boarded up with a Closed sign on the door.
So, why did I go to Vermont in the first place? Lyn Gaas and I first met when we were 12 or so. (Her name was Lyn Beard then.) She was the grand-daughter of my Aunt Lillian from Lillian’s first marriage. Lillian had married my Uncle Max and they moved to Nashua, NH. Lyn’s family was up visiting her grandmother and we had a big family party. The next time I saw Lyn was just after Max died in 1974, when Lyn and I were 16. Now by this time I was past the “girls have cooties” stage and in the two days we spent together I developed a crush on Lyn. While my mother and Lillian packed for Lil to go back home to Texas, Lyn and I just hung out. We walked to Dairy Queen, watched TV, just hung out. It stunk that she lived 2,000 miles away and I figured when she left, that would be it. Lillian had other ideas.
Lillian and I continued to communicate, mostly by letter, (you remember those, with an envelope and a stamp) and a couple of letters went to Lyn too. Lillian thought it would be great for me to come down to Texas to go to college at Rice University. She also thought it would be great if Lyn and I got together as a couple and told me so many times. That would not have hurt my feelings either. In a 17 or 18 year-old’s head that sounded damn good. Aunt Lil was sure Lyn was going to go to Rice too, so she convinced me to apply, and visit the campus. So I applied and made arrangements to go down, but a few days before I was to leave she broke her wrist and we postponed the trip. I ended up going to Northeastern Univ. in Boston. If I had gone to Rice, it would have been some joke, since Lyn went to school in Missouri. That was 1976.
Fast forward 34 years…2010. Lyn finds me on Facebook. We converse on FB and then on the phone. We have both married and had 3 kids. When we talked it was very comfortable. She remembered an amazing amount about my family which she met only twice. I found that Lillian had passed away a year or two before my mother. We kept in touch a number of times after this and saw and wrote to each other on FB. She called 10/2 to say she was coming to New England the next day and for 4 days, was there any way we could meet up. She had some stuff of my uncle’s she wanted to give me too. She and her husband were staying Friday night in southern Vermont and that was the closest point she would be standing still for any time at all. And that is why I drove to Vermont for breakfast.
So, the reason I went to Vermont, was to meet up with someone I had not seen in 39 years. I got to my destination in Vermont about 8:10 and she was on the porch of this quaint little New England Inn with her husband. She came out to the parking lot to greet me and told me she recognized me right away as I drove by. We went in for breakfast. Lyn and I talked for 2 ½ hours and could have talked for 2 ½ more. It was great. Rich, who seems like a good guy, joined us for much of the time and went to do stuff at other times. It was a thoroughly great time with thoroughly great people. I am so glad I drove up. Lyn promised the next time they come up they will come closer to my home area. No need Lyn. It was a beautiful drive and time. Next time though let’s plan to have more time to chat.
Here are the Texans in New England. She wanted it to be colder…just wait a while Lyn, just wait a while.