Mr. Biggie, Offered Me A Chaw

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There are rare times people today have memories of actually meeting a person who was born in the last third of the 19th century. Those people are pretty much gone these days.  I do however, recall one such person in my lifetime.  When I was a youngster, Mr. Biggie lived next door to our family on the dirt road in the Cavendish Gulf. His front field stone steps were lined with smooth egg shaped stones his late wife had collected from various river beds. Mr. Biggie was the person who connected our family to the previous century. Knowing him was also a front row seat to the memories and stories of a man who was living in a time before most modern conveniences.

Mr. Biggie was basically a quiet neighbor. He rarely ever stopped by our house and when he did he usually just stood in the driveway to talk to my folks briefly. He didn’t have a phone so he wasn’t someone to bother people asking favors. I couldn’t tell you if he ever even used a phone. His relatives only stopped by once in a great while in the summer, and usually for just a short visit. I often went to his house to ask him if he needed anything, like shoveling his roof and steps.

I spent hours listening to Mr. Biggie talk about what it was like when he was young. At 14, he had a job working on a logging crew, and back then, they used horses for help with work and for transportation. In this case the horses skidded the logs out of the woods. One of his jobs was to actually stand on the cut logs and drive the horses as they pulled them along the rough ground. One day while working, Continue reading

Putting Meat On The Table

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For many people it’s hard to recall the first time they encountered the concept of death. I suppose usually it is the loss of a family pet. For me it was the shocking reality of the loss of a young bull we were raising for meat, but I had begun to think of as a pet. I was barely 3 years old. My folks had no money to speak of, and we were apparently poor, but being as young as I was, I wasn’t really aware of this fact. Continue reading

A Young Perspective

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Autumn is the time of year for venison and for hunting in the forest for the illusive white tailed deer for many Vermonters. For my family, it was one of the most cherished times of the year. My father and his brothers were avid hunters. My uncles always looked to my father for guidance in where to go and where the deer were traveling on a regular basis. Many evenings were spent planning and figuring out where to go Continue reading