The Hammock Report: A Carding Chronicle

ChurchOf all her relatives, Faye Bennett reveres her Uncle Dan the most. Dan is an investigator renowned for his expertise in art forgery so he travels the world as part of his job.

He’s always been very good at listening to his twin sister Diana’s children and equally as good at keeping their secrets. I think every family benefits from having relatives like Uncle Dan.

It’s a lazy summer day in Carding and so Faye is lying in a hammock and taking the time to send her Uncle Dan a newsy email.

Let’s peak over her shoulder, shall we?

Welcome to Carding, Vermont where life always includes a dash of the unexpected. You can find the little town that no one can seem to find on a map right here in the Carding Chronicles and in the four novels of Carding, Vermont, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, and Lights in Water, Dancing.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to the Chronicle by clicking the link on this page. That way, you’ll never miss a story.


Hey Uncle Dan,

Wish you didn’t live so far away because you’re missing the whole summer in Carding, and in my opinion, it’s one of the best ever. 

The whole town is going nuts because our baseball team won the state championship (Wil was awesome on first base and his best friend Dave Muzzy was the winning pitcher), the Carding Academy was featured in the arts section of the New York Times so there’s a ton of strangers coming to town, and last night we had the best concert on the green—EVER! 

It was a reggae band brought here by Dirt Road Radio and I saw tons of people dancing who NEVER dance. Seriously, Gram and Andy Cooper can really wiggle their hips and I saw Ruth Goodwin dancing with my English teacher. During the last song, folks made a long line that snaked around the green and the police had to stop traffic coming into town until the music was over. I made a video for you because Gram and Andy were getting real friendly and I want to know what you think about it. Mom said it’s none of my business, and that Gram’s old enough to know her own mind. I know that’s true but it was weird to see old people kissing like that.

Anyway, the whole town slept late this morning. I know that because Sunday is always the bakery’s busiest breakfast day but hardly anyone showed up before ten. Even Mom and Dad were moving slow this morning, and they kept smiling at one another a lot but I don’t want to think about what that might mean. They even closed the bakery early, saying it was too hot to work which is why I’m lying in this hammock writing to you instead of sweeping the bakery floor.

I know you know Wil’s best friend Dave. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know him. But now there’s something about him that you don’t know.

Dave and I have been spending a lot of time together since the raft race in May.

He’s really nice and he makes me laugh and he made sure we were part of the group that went down to the beach after last night’s concert was over. I thought Mom and Dad were going to say no—they had one of those silent looking-at-each-other things when they’re trying to figure out if they’re thinking the same way without talking to one another—but Wil stepped in and said he’d watch out for me and that’s when their no flipped to yes.

They don’t know about Dave and I…yet.

Of course, I didn’t see Wil once we got to the beach but I expected that because he now spends a lot of time with this girl named Janice and she was there too. As for Dave and me, let’s just say that I liked him even more by the time I got home.

Please don’t tell Mom and Dad about this, okay? You promised I could talk to you about stuff and you wouldn’t repeat it because they think I’m still ten years old. I’m counting on you.

On a totally different subject, do you remember me telling you about that big split in the Carding Quilt Guild, the one where Gram and a bunch of her friends got into a shouting match with some of the newcomers over the last Presidential election? I don’t think I’ve ever seen Gram as mad as she was that day. (I hope she never gets mad at me like that.) 

Well, Suzaanna and I were sharing ice cream on a bench on the green a couple of weeks ago and that gave us a front row seat when the two guilds faced off over who was going to run the Carding Fair. The leader of the newcomers (they’re the ones who stayed together as the Carding Quilt Guild) is this awful woman named G.G. Dieppe. She and her husband live in one of the biggest houses on the Mount Merino golf course, and she thinks that gives her the right to tell everyone what to do.

To make matters even worse, she likes to brag about how much she does for the church. She belongs to St. John’s Episcopal and I keep hearing stories about how she’s driving poor Reverend Lloyd nuts with her demands. Dad told me there’s some people who have stopped going to that church who have been there forever, and there’s talk of getting the bishop to intervene. Can they make someone quit a church if they’re awful enough?

Anyway, Gram and her friends and a bunch of the regular fair volunteers—about thirty people—were meeting on the green to talk about layout for this year when G.G. and five of her friends showed up. G.G. claimed that “her” group were the only ones who could run the fair because it started with the Carding Quilt Guild so it had to still be the Carding Quilt Guild. 

It was weird to watch what happened next. Instead of arguing, Gram’s group went dead silent. Then they moved slow and deliberate until they made a circle around G.G.’s crew.

When the circle was complete, they just stared at G.G. and her friends while she went on and on and on. It was easy to see that the women with her were uncomfortable pretty quick. In a couple of minutes, one of them left, almost running across the green. 

Over the next few minutes, all the women who came with G.G. melted away until it was just her. That’s when she finally stopped talking, and everyone in Gram’s group went back to planning the layout of the fair as if G.G. didn’t exist.

Suzanna and I were very impressed. I don’t know if it was planned or not but it just goes to show there are more ways to fight a battle than by words or fists.

So Wil and Dave are in Costa Rica until later this month working in an ecological retreat. I get text messages and emails from them nearly every day and I really wish I was there with them. Dave is now totally decided on getting a degree in earth science or ecology or something in that line. We’re talking about taking our next Christmas break together in Costa Rica. How cool is that?

Miss you lots. Mom and Dad say you don’t get here often enough so come soon.


Remember, you can visit Carding any time by reading one of my four Carding novels, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, or Lights in Water, Dancing.

Thanks for stopping by.

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