I had a really nice surprise today. Just after we'd finished lunch, our neighbor, Julie Ackermann stopped by. She had brought a Christmas wrapped present she said was for me. When I opened it, I was totally surprised to find it was a well-worn copy of "Five Little Peppers and How They Grew," by Margaret Sidney. When I was a child, I had a whole series of the Little Pepper books, and I think they were my first introduction to reading books in a series. I remember receiving them as gifts for birthday and Christmas, and spending many happy hours devouring those stories. I was eight or nine years old. The books had shiny paper covers with pictures of the Pepper children. The book Julie gave me is blue with black lettering, the paper cover having no doubt outlived it's usefulness years ago, and when I opened the cover, there was a scraggly ink inscription, "Miss Eleanor Bolton, Cabot Plains, March 11, Saturday." I could hardly believe it was actually one of my old books. On the back cover is a date stamp of Nov. 22, 1939, and "25 cents." I cannot imagine a nicer surprise, and it was very kind of Julie to bring it to me. She said it had been at her parents' house on Danville Hill and she has no idea how they came by it. Nor do I, except when my parents built this house in 1962, where we now live, prior to moving they disposed of lots of things at the house where I grew up on the Plain. I suspect they donated books to the school or the library or perhaps the book was with items sold to the local auctioneer at the time, Albert May. We'll probably never know, but it has come full circle, and I'm delighted to have it.
I want to share with our Joe's Pond Association Members this card from the folks at the Passumpsic Savings Bank in Danville. Since we won't be having a meeting until next May, this is the best way to be able to share it. The staff at the bank's Danville branch are always very helpful and patient, particularly with the numerous and often large deposits from the Joe's Pond Ice-Out Contest, and that is very much appreciated.
We have had the predicted warm weather today, with even an hour or two of sunshine in the early afternoon. It is beginning to cloud over again - this morning we had dense fog throughout the hills surrounding the pond - and I think we can expect more rain tonight and tomorrow. I measured .82 of an inch of rain in my gauge this morning at 9 a.m. - that's the amount over the past 24 hours. We have been in the upper 40s most of the day, and our thermometer on the front deck had a high reading of 50.3, a low of 37.2.
Diane Rossi has been in touch with Phil and Joyce Rogers who told her in their 30+ years living at Joe's Pond, they recall the pond was open at Christmas at least four or five times. One year Phil rowed out to Sunken Island at Christmas with a Santa hat on - Joyce will try to locate the picture and share it with us. Phil and Joyce live in Texas now.
I guess we weren't paying much attention to the weather in the early pre-retirement years when we were living at camp. Mostly we were first trying to keep warm and tighten the place up, and then we were enjoying our coal-burning Vermont Castings stove and probably since there were no concerns about global warming and nobody except weather people had heard of el nino or la nina, whatever weather we had didn't strike us as being unusual. If we had a late fall, we probably were just glad we didn't have to worry about icy and snowy roads on our daily commute to Montpelier. In bad weather, our biggest concern was getting up the hill from camp to reach Route 2. Danville plowed just to Barre Avenue and Cabot the same, and our driveway was just north of Barre avenue, so if one or the other of the towns didn't plow early enough, we would be a tad late getting to work. It didn't happen often, though, but I do believe winters were more severe as a general rule 20 or 30 years ago.
Fred just went out to the garden to bury some food scraps in the garden (our way of composting) and the ground is not frozen at all. I was talking to a lady in St. Johnsbury yesterday who was elated with fuel prices being down plus the warm weather. She said although she likes a White Christmas, she appreciates low fuel bills even more.