Memorial Day in Vermont
This post won’t be focused on real estate or New York City, but about where I am now, and also about my ears.
I’m in northern Vermont, a bit southeast of Burlington. Today, for the first time in days, it’s sunny. I’m so happy to see the sun after cold, rainy days. Yet inside my sister’s yellow gabled Victorian it’s been nice and warm, because I wore heavy socks, a red and black wool lumber jacket and a wool Peruvian hat.
I’m with my husband and my nephews. But not at the moment. At the moment I am the only one awake, typing. The sun is streaming through the long windows of the front parlor.
Now let’s get to my ears. I think/hope they’re finally getting better. We’ll have to wait and see.
A week ago today my throat felt thick. Thought nothing of it. Tuesday night my left ear began to feel as though it were submerged in water, or stuffed with cotton. I can’t describe it better as I had nothing to compare it to.
I called my doctor. “Can I fly tomorrow?” I asked.
“Yes, take Afrin and Sudafed.”
The advice worked, for the flight. It was painless, but the next day both ears were weird and I called the doctor again. I had blocked Eustachian tubes. Soon I couldn’t hear anyone when they spoke to me. Also, they couldn’t hear me, because my voice alternated between hoarse, squeaky high, and barely there. All three variations in a single sentence.
This is how some conversations went:
“I said pass the pumpernickel.”
“Oh. That’s nice.”
It’s a good thing my nephews accept me as I am. I can’t hear them, they can’t hear me, I haven’t been cooking for them. Because of my ears. They make me tea.
We watched an Audrey Hepburn movie that I couldn’t hear. We kept turning the sound up but then little pingy sounds came out of the speakers, like bb’s being flung at the window, and that was because the sound was too loud.
“What did she say?”
“What did you say?"
Today’s a little better. Today I could hear sounds out of my left ear and could even distinguish certain words. Such a relief.
I’m outside now, on the deck. It’s gloriously warm and sunny. I’m overlooking the vegetable garden, furrowed by Farmer Ted. There’s also a chicken house, and one big fat red chicken wanders the lawn, looking for its chicken friends, but either hawks or dogs ate them.
Now I’m in the kitchen. This is what’s in the kitchen: lots of windows, a large wooden table, six chairs, a desk, several computers, a small couch, a yellow Heavy Duty KitchenAid, a Hoosier, a work island, a book case, a large bench, a plant stand for their tomato plants now growing by the minute.
This is what’s not in the kitchen: a dishwasher.
I asked my nephew, “Why don’t you have a dishwasher?”
“They’re stupid. We don’t need them,” he said.
We went for a walk. The streets are lined with American flags mounted on telephone poles. It is Memorial Day, but this is not token patriotism. This town is small, but it’s heart is big. I know this. I flew Jet Blue up here ten days after 9/11. The two main streets were lined with American flags. More flags than Midtown. More flags than Uptown. I remember today, almost twelve years later, how ashamed I felt for the parts of my city that flew less flags than Richmond, Vermont.
Let me tell you about how strange it felt to fly so soon after 9/11. Almost empty airports. Hushed voices. Fear. Polite alertness.
JetBlue did what it could. We had two flight attendants, an Egyptian and an Israeli. To calm our nerves, they told lots of jokes. Here’s one:
“Now please pay attention, ladies and gentlemen. If anything bad happens, like an engine fails and we start to go down, then those of you traveling with more than one child please quickly choose your favorite.”
It was extremely funny, especially at that time. And there were more jokes but I don’t remember them. I do remember how I felt being picked up at the airport by my sister, and seeing the flags lined up along her street, and along the main street, which is just around the corner. It moved me almost to tears.
I will always love visiting here, because of my family, and because of what I felt in this small town during those raw days.
See you in the city.
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