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Musings on the first of February

How can it be February already???

I had the good fortune to visit Florida last week with Peter and Hasket. We enjoyed five days of superb weather – sunny, warm, not humid – ok, we had a day of rain but it was nice rain.  Really.  Florida at its best!

We saw my Dad and his friend, Sue, and our wonderful friends, Mike Watkins and Ellin Goetz, and shared great stories and laughter during dinner together.  (Mike’s family owns and operates the Naples Beach Hotel, right on Naples, Florida’s fabulous Gulf shore. Heaven on earth in the winter!)  My Dad is looking forward to coming back to Vermont in May, and to participating in the famous Memorial Day parade in Vergennes with his Chris Craft, Wave.  Last year we “shared” 14 pounds of candy with the crowd and ran out before the end of the event.

It’s been a strange winter in Vermont, bitter cold one day and raining the next.  Not the best for anyone wanting to ski or ice fish as Lake Champlain appears unready to freeze over this winter.   But it’s not at all bad for walking around on the golf course.  A madcap flock of robins was out there a couple of days ago.  What are you thinking, crazy birds?  Other birds are busy at the feeders, when the squirrels let them have a chance.  We’ve seen only one cardinal pair so far, cardinals being our favorite winter birds – it’s as if they all blew away with Hurricane Irene. They were everywhere last summer!  Eagles are around, too, mostly on the ice flanking Dead Creek.  You could be on the Cook Inlet in Alaska (although there are way more of them there).

As I was walking on the golf course, just a day after walking on the white sand beach in Naples, I was enjoying the sun on my face and thinking about all the people who have walked – or ridden – on the links since 1928 when the course opened.  Construction on the first nine holes was begun in the fall of 1927 after The Lodge closed for the season.  Work was being done without much in the way of mechanical equipment.  On November 2, 3 and 4, a peculiar weather pattern caused heavy rains and state-wide destruction not seen again until Irene last August.  1285 bridges were wiped out, countless miles of roads, railroad tracks, many businesses were devastated, homes lost,  and 84 people lost their lives.  The soil at BHC was too saturated to do any more work, so AP, my Grandfather, packed up the family and lit out for Florida, where he spent every winter after 1920.  The golf course was finished up in the spring of 1928. Three holes were playable by August, and the rest by the end of the season.

Three and a half months and we’ll be out there playing again!  Can’t wait – Pennie