I hear it’s going to be warm and thawing this week. Hope it doesn’t last long for the sake of the maple crop; usually February is pretty brisk, so there is hope. My parents and grandparents were both married during this week, and it’s known for being rather bitter. Mom and Dad had a good excuse – Dad was finally home from the South Pacific safe and sound, and they were ready, so why wait till summer – why not get hitched on Gram and Gramp’s 25th anniversary? But no one ever figured out why February 21 was a good time for my grandparents, and neither of them ever said why. The most we got was, “Well, it was as good a time as any.” Really? Not in my mind, but then, I wanted an outdoor wedding, so my opinion was skewed.
I don’t know what the winter was like when Gram and Gramp tied the knot, except probably cool, but it seems to have been even colder than that when Mom and Dad wedded. I wasn’t there, (although when I was about 4 I was totally miffed at my mother for not inviting me), so this is all hearsay, but it was a frigid day. They were going from Johnson to Enosburg Falls, where Aunt Mattie was holding the festivities. That is not a winter trip I would want to count on, even now. Gilbert drove, being also young and ready for adventure. The idea was wedding in Aunt Mattie and Uncle John’s fine front room, wedding breakfast in Sheldon, and then back to Johnson in time for milking.
The wedding party was not large – Gilbert stood up with Dad and Aunt Esther with Mom, who was wearing a wool suit she made herself. It might have been turquoise, but, as I said, I was not invited, so maybe that was some other outfit Mom told me about. Gram and Gramp, Dad’s folks, Aunt Mattie, Uncle John, and some kind of officiant. They then drove to Sheldon and had the wedding breakfast, which is probably not even a thing anymore, but that’s what they called it, even though it was served about noon.
At some point it started to snow. And snow. They piled into the car to begin the trek home. Gilbert drove. He said the visibility was minimal, and of course, it didn’t get any better as the afternoon light began to fade. The two towns are about 30 miles apart, and whereas technically 30 miles is 30 miles, 30 miles in a blizzard is a lot longer than 30 miles in dry weather. Ask anyone. It was a difficult excursion.
Finally, after a long cold drive of crawling up hill and down dale in blinding snow, they reached home. Except for Gilbert. He still had to traverse the Swamp Road, down a dale and up another hill to get to his home place in the gathering dark. He couldn’t. His car just wouldn’t make it up that last hill. He was reluctant to start off walking with the weather and visibility the way they were. And no sleeping on Gram’s couch, remember, milking awaited. Finally Grampy had an idea. The family had a little old Morgan, name of Rhody. She was still limber and wildly intelligent. He said, “You leave your car here and take Little Rhody. When you get to your place, turn her around and say ‘Home.’ She’ll make it, and you can come get your car when the snow stops.”
And that’s what they did. Little Rhody trotted safely home and they all lived happily ever after. Or close enough!