I've got to say right off ... this year's trip to Vermont with Buddy as my traveling companion was fantastic. We have so much in common we could have been twins. And we laughed and joked and improvised silly skits for the pleasure of everyone around us. Thanks, Buddy.
// On the drive to VERMONT we stopped in Hoosick, NY, to pay a surprise visit to Ruth. She graciously invited us in and we played our life's history tune to fill Buddy in with the details of how we know each other.
// Had lunch at the Double Hex Restaurant
// Checked in at the Inn at Manchester
Apparently when I booked the room, I failed to notice it only had one double bed. The only way they could add another sleeping space was to remove a stuffed chair and lay a mattress on the floor. And that's what they did.
.. I thanked the fellow as he finished moving in the mattress and apologized for his having to do this extra work. "Sorry you had to do all this." He answered, "I'll make it up," and then left the room.
.. Buddy and I looked at each other. We both got the same impression ... was this a veiled threat or was he joking. Next thing we knew, the door burst open and for a moment we were taken aback ... till we saw he was coming back with linen to make up the bed. Phew, that's what "I'll make it up" meant.
// The story of the Bolt Lock
The door to our room at the inn had a bolt lock. It opened with a key from outside. It locked from inside with a lever. As I left the room I reminded Bud to lock the door behind me. "Wait a minute," he said, "If I do that, how will I get out."
.. "What do you mean?" says I.
.. "Well," he says, "You told me I have to use the key to open the door. But, the only place to use the key is on the outside."
// Went to the "Christos & Pasta" restaurant for dinner.
Listen to Buddy sing "Fly Me to the Moon"
Christos is a noisy place filled mostly with families sitting in a wide open dining area. In a somewhat hidden corner, there's an electric keyboard where George (an elderly, heavyset man) sits and plays tunes from a bygone era that no one can hear over the din of the non-stop customer conversations. He's the piano man - complete with a money jar, but no microphone 'cause he doesn't sing.
.. While we were eating, I teased Buddy (who's got a great singing voice) to get up and sing something. "But they don't have a microphone - they'll never hear me over this racket." "Sure they will," I continued, "once they hear your powerful voice, they'll quiet down."
.. I looked down for a moment to cut a piece of my chicken parmesan and when I looked back up, Buddy was gone. I started looking around the room but then I heard "FLY ME TO THE MOON" and the room fell shocked and silent "AND LET ME PLAY AMONG THE STARS." Everyone in the place was trying to figure out what was happening. They all stopped eating and talking, and then they just sat there, perfectly still and listened. Buddy's voice can do that to a room. And when he finished they applauded as if it were a standing ovation. Buddy humbly thanked them as he walked back to our table to sit down and finish his meal.
.. Couple minutes later we got up to leave. I walked out and started to across the street to the car but when I looked around, I'd lost Buddy. Where's he wandered off to? ... nowhere outside. So, I went back in. Sure enough, Buddy's back in the corner talking to George. I gave him a moment thinking he's probably just thanking him and saying goodbye, but then I heard ... OH DANNY BOY THE PIPES THE PIPES ARE CALLING.
.. Okay, I figured, but you're not getting away with a solo on this one. So, I joined him.
.. When we finished that tune the crowd applauded wildly again. But while Buddy stayed bowing back in the corner, I walked out into the dining area and held up my hands saying, "Stop clapping, please ... or I'll never get him to leave."
.. Well, that did it (I thought). But as we started walking out, Buddy saw two you children sitting at a table with their parents and he couldn't resist. "Hello, how are you?" It was Donald Duck's voice. The kids were shocked. The Dad said to the kids, "Who's that?" But then Mickey Mouse's voice chimed in, "That's me good friend, Donald." And now the Dad and the kids were shocked once more. "Okay, Mickey," says I, "it's time to go. We can't stay here all night."
.. What a blast. Buddy's as crazy as I am. We make a good team.
// After dinner, we went back to the Inn and met Norman and Sandra from Canada. Sandra says very little, but Norman chats a lot. He's a chunky guy with deep intense eyes, that got him a big role as an extra in film. So, he and I had a lot to talk about.
// I taught Buddy how to play Backgammon and he taught me that the Big Dipper is a constellation within Ursa Major (the Big Bear).
// Around 10:00 PM went to my favorite star gazing spot in East Dorset. We immediately noticed four orange stars but they were moving - oops, aircraft. There was Quite a bit of cloud cover, but could see enough stars to minimally satisfy me. Tried again later at midnight hoping it would be darker. It turned out that it only got lighter, 'cause the moon was now well above the horizon.
// I came down from our room while Buddy was showering. Met Darrin on the front porch drinking coffee, and we chatted for a while. Darrin's here with his wife, Debra, and their 15 year old daughter, Hannah. Darrin has an interest in antiques, especially silver.
When I went into the dining room, Buddy was already seated and was chatting with Hal. At first they were chatting about each others religious beliefs so I just sat and listened. Then they talked about both being widowers. But when they started exchanging stories about how their wives died with all the medical details, that got to me. So, I left the table a took a walk outside - looking for anything to serve as a distraction. Later on I met Hal alone and found out he was a computer guy his whole career, so we chatted a while.
// After breakfast we took a few pictures of each other. Then Bud took a short stroll around the inn taking a few more pictures and he lost the small tripod I keep in the camera case. Then we browsed through the Jewel of Manchester (jewelry store) and finally stopped to take photos of the statue of the white horse covered with biblical inscriptions. He found it quite interesting.
// Went to Weston for lunch at the Bryant House. Ordered New England Clam Chowder. It had an over abundance of celery in it which watered down the flavor. When the waiter asked if everything was okay, I told him I was disappointed with the chowder. A lady manager came by to address my concern. She defended the chowder saying they hadn't changed the recipe, but she acknowledged that the chef used too much celery and offered to dip me a new bowl with minimal celery in it. I declined the offer, but I was glad to hear they hadn't changed the recipe. "Next time I come," I said, "I'll simply ask to see the chowder before I order it."
// Browsed thru the Vermont Country Store. Took a time out to sit and chat 'cause my feet hurt. Then, made a quick tour of the Weston Playhouse and shot some photos of the waterfall behind the theater.
// Went to the other place (the sister stage for the Weston Playhouse called The Rod and Gun Club) to see the show called "The Other Place." Before the show started Bud and I started kibbitzing with three ladies sitting in front of us. They were good sports and kibbitzed back with us - though I'm sure none of them, nor anyone else in the place, would have known what the word kibbiting meant. The play was a bit weird, and I slept thru a bit of it, but it was generally okay. Bud told me afterwards, it was good that you missed the parts you slept thru, otherwise it may have been too emotional for you.
// Met Elliot and Helene for Breakfast. A delightful couple, they're up here from Florida, vacationing and planning to visit several of their kids near by.
// Drove to the Dellwood Cemetery where I showed Buddy the tombstone with the epitaph I used for Nina's stone. It reads,
Oft you I have addressed.
For you I've shed many a tear
But now I am at rest.
// Went to Middlebury to have lunch at Mr. Ups. On the way I asked Buddy to enter Middlebury Vermont into the GPS. He was having a bit of trouble hitting the right letter so have he got Middlebury in I said, just enter VT. He said V like in Victor. I said no, V like in VERMONT.
// Went to Brandon to see the Lilac Inn. Susan, the caretaker, showed us thru all the rooms. Took photos of the rooms and the garden.
We heard you have music here on Wednesday nights. Is that true? No. Would you like some music? My friend here sings.
Went to the car to get my media player. When I came back in, Bud was talking to the people at a nearby table. Don't know what he was talking about, but I went over and said to the couple, "If this man is bothering you, let me know and I'll take him back to the home."
// Friendly's is no longer in business, so we went to Shaw's supermarket and bought a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and split it when we got back to the inn.
// Stopped at the Jelly Mill. Bumped into Elliot and Helene, and then bumped into Darrin, Debra, and Hannah.
// Got a late start driving home. Stopped in Bennington at the Camelot Village. Chatted with a young lady named, Jolene. She was spry but unfortunately she was also married. Took two silly pictures at the Bennington Vintage Sewing Shop
// Stopped for lunch at the Man of Kent bar and grill. Passed on the Clam Chowder, and had a Greek Salad with Chicken. After that the rest of the drive home seemed endless.
// Finally arrived at home and went to Murray's in Bala Cynwyd for dinner. Got a Murray's Special. It's hot pastrami, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut on sautéed rye bread. My favorite. Buddy loved it.