Tag Archives: Carding Chronicle

First Tree

SH-first treeYou can visit Carding any time in my novels, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, and The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life. The fourth in the series, Coming Up for Air, will be out later this year.

You can subscribe to the Carding Chronicles by clicking the subscribe button on my home page. When you do, my stories will speed from my keyboard to your inbox every Thursday without any further effort on your part.

Please share these with your friends, co-workers, and all the family members you like best. I understand they go great with morning coffee.

This week, the folks of Carding are facing up the fact that summer is ending.

Enjoy!


Even though the days have been growing steadily shorter since June 22 (the day after the summer solstice), no one seems to notice until the calendar reaches August. Suddenly, all over town, the lazing air of July takes on a new bite of urgency.

The town beach is crowded with families during the day and with teenagers trying out their night moves in the evening. The lines at the Coop’s ice cream window are longer, and there were more lawn chairs per square inch parked on the green for the summer’s last free concert than there have been all season.

But in the midst of the annual August hustle, people start watching a certain maple that gracefully arches over the waters of Half Moon Lake. Everyone in town knows that this particular tree’s precarious perch make it susceptible to “early autumnal onset,” as Andy Cooper once described it, making it a seasonal bellwether.

In other words, this is the tree that signals the oncoming rush of orange, yellow and red foliage.

Like so many other things in Carding, a friendly local competition has sprung up to see who spots the change first. The dynamic duo that does the weather on Dirt Road Radio started promoting it this year so interest has spiked.

The winner has to take a picture with a date stamp to prove the sighting. In return, she or he gets bragging rights, a T-shirt from the Coop, and a day’s ration of warm muffins from the Crow Town Bakery.

So who do you think will take the prize this year? Here are some of your choices.

Ruth Goodwin, in her position as the town’s splendiferous mail carrier, is usually the first one to notice the oncoming yellow because she drives Beach Road every day.

But Charlie Cooper, semi-retired lawyer and social activist, has been regularly commuting to the state capital, Montpelier, since taking on a consulting job last spring. There’s a gap in the trees just before he turns onto Route 37 where he can see the island. So he thinks he’s in a good position to get the scoop on Ruth.

Earlier this month, Wil Bennett vowed to paddle his kayak on the lake every morning in August, and he always circles Belmont Island so some of the early betting is on him.

His younger sister Faye, however, is not to be outdone. Much to her parents’ amazement, she has taken up sunrise running on the beach. She swears it has nothing to do with the fact that her new boyfriend, Brian Lambert, is also sprinting there but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Then, of course, there’s the ever-reliable angler, Bruce Elliott, who always stops to cast a hook in the water on his way to and from work as well as Mr. Yancy, the refugee from the tech sector who’s passionate about birds.

You can eliminate all of the people who own condos and houses on the golf course on Mount Merino. To them, Half Moon Lake, seen in the distance from the fifth, sixth, and seventh holes, is nothing more than an anonymous sparkle in the distant landscape. Years ago, their landowners association tried to purchase lakeside property but couldn’t scare up any willing sellers so they mostly ignore the lake in favor of their new pool.

It’s just as well because the folks who live in Carding proper have never granted any Mount Merino resident the status of “local.”

Tree watching has been the subject of friendly banter and passing-the-time conversation everywhere that town folk rub shoulders—the bank, the bakery, the library, town hall, and the Coop.

Andy’s going to post the winning picture on the community bulletin board at the front of his store. Afterwards, people will go back to filling the remainder of their summer days with a frenetic round of barbecues and biking dates while digging out a fleece vest or two for the cooling evening air.

And that rumble you hear in the distance is the sound of the school buses revving up for the start of another year.

Aah yes, change is in the air.

A Sundew Kinda Morning

Tomorrow is Carding Chronicle day, Thursday, and this week, we’re paddling on Half Moon Lake with the eldest of the Bennett children, Wilson Wolfe Bennett.

Of course, everyone calls him Wil.

Wil is going to be a senior at Carding Regional High this year, a fact that saddens him. And he can’t tell anybody about it.

I hope you can join us tomorrow. If we’re lucky, we might catch Wil in mid-muse.

By the way, the plants in this photo are carnivorous sundews.SH-sundews

A Quiet Afternoon in August

Tomorrow is Thursday and here’s a sample of the Carding Chronicle lined up for your reading pleasure.

All of Vermont is lazing into August. By the end of the month, kids and teachers will return for another school year, and we’ll probably have the hottest week of the season when they do. (It’s weird how that happens.)

Sixteen-year old Faye Bennett is taking advantage of a quiet afternoon to lie in a hammock and write an email to her Uncle Dan.

Hope you’ll stop by to enjoy!
SH-Faye Bennett

398.2

Tomorrow is Thursday and time for another Carding Chronicle.

This story was inspired by my many interviews with creative types when I was writing for newspapers and magazines. One of my favorite questions was: So, how come you dance or write poetry or sculpt stone or make music or act in plays? In other words, why is this (whatever this is) your preferred form of creative expression.

Strangely enough, the answer was always pretty much the same. “It felt right,” artists would say. Or “it just fit me.” In other words, the creative medium somehow chose its messenger.

So the question is: Why did Chloe Cooper choose to become a renowned textile designer and quilter?

Was it the fairy godmothers?

This is the first of two parts. Enjoy this sample of upcoming attractions!

SH-Fabric strips

Winning May Be Everything

SH-Weed bucketYou can visit Carding any time in my novels, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, and The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life. The fourth in the series, Coming Up for Air, will be out later this year.

You can subscribe to the Carding Chronicles by clicking the subscribe button on my home page. When you do, my stories will speed from my keyboard to your inbox every Thursday without any further effort on your part.

Please share these with your friends, co-workers, and all the family members that you like best. I understand they go great with morning coffee.

This week, we continue our garden show saga, the second of three parts. If you need to catch up, here’s a link to the first part of our story called “The Fightin’ Flowers.”

Enjoy!


Even though they owned Cooper’s General Store jointly—an inheritance from their Dad—Andy and Charlie Cooper had settled into an amicable division of labor when it came to its day-to-day operations.

Andy enjoyed the hands-on part of it all, making displays, ordering the seasonal items, relating to the customers (or not, as the case may be), and managing their employees.

Charlie, for his part of the deal, took on the paperwork part of the operation—watching over the accounts, calculating the correct profit margins on the items sold in the store, and taking care of all the legal ins and outs of running a small business in Vermont (of which there are many).

Each brother thought he had the better part of the deal so they were both content.

Charlie, now that he was semi-retired from his legal practice, made a habit of ambling through the back door of the Coop about mid-morning every Wednesday. He’d pour himself coffee from the community urn, nod and say hello to anyone who passed by, and then he’d heat up the computer to go through the finances.

Sooner or later, Andy would show up and after discussing the latest Red Sox game, the brothers would get down to business.

But today, Charlie skipped their detour into baseball and plunged right into the numbers on his meticulously kept spread sheets.

“What is this?” he asked, pointing to a rather large figure. “We’ve never sold that much compost, mulch, and potting soil in the whole history of the store. Is that figure correct?”

Andy chuckled, gave his tea a good stir so that the honey in it was evenly distributed throughout the mug instead of pooling at the bottom, and then sat down next to his “baby” brother.

“I’ve discovered a secret weapon in the town’s gardening wars,” he confided.

A small smile snaked over Charlie’s mouth when he recognized the onset of one of his brother’s storytelling moments.

“Do tell.”

“It’s name is G.G. Dieppe.” Andy sucked in a big slurp of tea.

“Anthony’s Dieppe’s wife? The millionaire of Mount Merino?”

“Yep, her. It seems she’s decided to enter the Home and Garden Tour with the idea of winning the best-in-show trophy,” Andy said. He slurped some more while waiting for Charlie to catch up.

“Ah, so that’s why Agnes is whirling around in our yard from dawn to dusk like a mad dervish,” Charlie said with a chuckle. Charlie’s life partner is Agnes Findley, widely acknowledged as the most meticulous gardener in Carding. “Do you know, she hardly came in long enough for supper last night. And I’d made her favorite pasta dish.”

Andy nodded. “Yep, they’ve all gone mad this year. Personally, I don’t think Edie or Ruth or Agnes cares if they win or not just so long as this G.G. character doesn’t.”

Charlie looked down at the spread sheets on the desk. “It’s been mighty good for business.”

“Yeah, and most of that is her,” Andy said. “I don’t think she’s ever picked up a trowel in her life. She just keeps saying that ‘all it takes is money.'”

The brothers Cooper shared a blue-eyed stare and then they both started to laugh. “Oh, this is going to be fun to watch,” Charlie said.