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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

    We are getting a bit of a break in the weather today - it's actually in the teens ABOVE zero!  Of course, it's snowing lightly, and we've added another half inch or so - just enough to make the roads a bit more dicey, I suppose.  Yesterday was not a good day to be out on the highways.  There were tractor trailer mess-ups all over - late in the afternoon there were two stalled trying to get to I-91 on the ramp opposite Hospital Drive past Price Chopper in St. Johnsbury.  It was slippery, and too cold for salt to work.  On days like that, I'm glad I'm retired and don't have to go out.  I remember well those mornings and nights going back and forth to Montpelier in all kinds of weather.  Now I get to make the choice of whether to take my noon-time walk in sub-zero weather or stay cozy inside.
    I've been doing research through old newspapers and have come across some interesting articles about winter problems years ago.  There were often roll-overs when sleighs hit bad spots or drifts in roads, and often people were tossed from the sleigh and injured.  Sometimes the horse and sleigh would end up back at the barn, leaving the driver to walk home through the snow.  
    Dr. Burbank, of Cabot, was known for his dedication in going out in all kinds of weather whenever called upon, and one winter night he was called to someone seriously ill at a farm on Cabot Plain.  The wind was howling and there were enormous drifts, too deep for his horse to manage, so he got out of the sleigh, turned the horse around and sent it with the sleigh back home while he strapped on snowshoes and made it the rest of the way through the storm to his patient.  The horse had no trouble finding its way back home, and no doubt the doctor was taken home the following morning by whatever means possible by the grateful farmer.
    Some of you will remember a few years ago when we had a hotdog stand at the parking area in West Danville.  That was Doug Spaulding, enjoying doing something he'd always wanted to do.  Doug passed away this week.  He was 66.  Here is a link to his obituary - I think you'll find it interesting. Fred met Doug at the hotdog cart - I think he and Bill Rossi had lunch there a few times, or maybe just a "hotdog snack" occasionally.  I posted pictures on the blog, and Doug became a regular reader.  Over the years I'd hear from him in response to something I'd written on the blog.  I appreciated that he read the blog and kept in touch.  The last time we corresponded was this past fall, and by then we knew how seriously ill he was.  We'll miss his cheerful commentary.  An interesting guy, interesting life.   Our thoughts are with his family and many friends.

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