Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Child's Winter in Vermont

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Ray Hendershot

An enchanting piece about long ago from Cooks Illustrated. Here is an excerpt:
Then December came, and it was a season of woolly mittens and Bean boots, of gut-strung snowshoes, of Flexible Flyers and Flying Saucers, of green-checked wool pants bedecked with baubles of ice that were plucked off like burrs in fall, hitching a ride as we strode past unawares. Out the back door, our father would place a jug of hard cider, the water freezing beneath a skim of high alcohol, just the thing before dinner, feet stretched toward the reddening black stove, his cheeks and spirits aglow.

And then Christmas descended, the giant tree dragged stump first through the porch door on Christmas Eve. The lights were untangled in quiet succession and tested, ornaments checked and rewired with new hangers, and then the last touch, the draping of icicles, at which point my sister and I broke free, turning Christmas Eve into a chaos of slapdash silvery confetti, the tree appearing to have caught a frontal wind of flotsam and jetsam, all sense of Christian order abandoned to pagan enthusiasms. And then day arrived, and the stockings were opened before breakfast: a bazaar of tiny balsa planes, red plastic ball-in-a-cup magic tricks, hand buzzers, red hots, finger puppets, tiny picture books, metal puzzle rings, flowers that blossomed in water and then, digging deeply into the heel and toe, a plastic compass, a small Davy Crockett pocketknife, and a black tin police car with a red rooftop light.


tubbs said...

Thank you for this post EM, and especially for the accompaning Hendershot print. (he's of the Brandywine (PA) school.I have another Chester County farm print of his, also depicting a winter moon, hanging over my bed here in Florida. How beautiful the farms are in the Delaware Valley.

Julygirl said...

This is a beautifully visual piece of writing.

I no longer have any romantic notions about snow after being snowed in with 3 ft of snow for 3 days and the piles on each side of the driveway so high it would require a 7 ft person to be able to throw the snow high one where I live owns a contraption called a snow blower.

Leslie Carroll said...

This is a lovely post. I'm having an adult's winter in Vermont (and there's snow everywhere I look). I bought garlands at the farm stand today and will drape them on the bannister and the mantelpiece in my home office/library this evening.

elena maria vidal said...

How lovely! Leslie, I thought of you when I read the article. BTW, I am really enjoying Royal Marriages.