Isn’t there room for Vermont in South Dakota?

Isn't there room for Vermont in South Dakota?
It was more than a dozen years ago when we last visited Vermont – only it seemed like yesterday.

We were guests of Bill and the late Dolores Brown in the Eagle's Inn at Waitsfield, a village of 320 people, give or take a few.

We enjoyed a week in their time-share, and then we toured the Green Mountain State from one end to the other (with Bill driving).

Phyllis wants to take Vermont (9,250 square miles) and move it to South Dakota (75,885 square miles) because she loves it so much. But I told her she should be satisfied that she lives in a state farther from all the people in New York City.

Anyway, in a week's time we covered the commonwealth and did about everything a tourist should do � and more!

We rode a gondola to the top of Mt. Mansfield, toured the capitol at Montpelier, saw the Norman Rockwell exhibit near Rutland, rode a trolley in Burlington (the largest city in the state, but half the size of Sioux Falls), went to church at Our Lady of Snows, and generally took in the sights, including the wildflowers near Charlotte.

Because Phyllis and I were hooked on the study of our nation's chief executives, we had Bill drive us to the birthplace of Chester A. Arthur, the 21st president of the United States. We wandered around the backroads, but we finally found the replica of his home in the woods, a small frame house painted yellow. We also visited the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge at Plymouth.

At Barre we toured the Rock of Ages quarry where they said there was enough granite to last 1,000 years. It reminded us of the quarries near Milbank.

But a highlight of the trip was a stop at the Vermont Country Store, advertised as the purveyor of hard-to-find items. They have horehound candy, Sen-Sen, folding fans, powder puffs, bay rum, Raggedy Ann dolls and even wire rug beaters. If you can't find it there, they'll track it down and order it for you.

They also have genuine Bag Balm, which is promoted in their catalog as "an antiseptic healing balm for cows' udders."

The copy goes on to say:"Farmers know cows feel happy about this soothing salve, and for many years farmers themselves have used this magic ointment to treat their own work-roughened, chapped dry hands. Generations of families swear by its healing powers."

And speaking of catalogs, we still get their publication after, lo, these many years. I don't remember if we bought anything. However, I do recall that we gawked a lot!

Much water has gone over the dam since then. Dolores, the former nun, is gone, and Bill has moved from San Clemente, California, to Tuscon. We've made a few changes ourselves.

But we've got lots of memories: of Vermont, the Country Store and, of course, Bag Balm. You can't take that away from us.

© 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz

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