A young girl and her brother spend the weekend in Vermont with their grandparents.
It’s October so it must mean it’s time to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Vermont. As we drive to their country home, my eyes are overcome with the vibrant colors of fall. The pumpkin patch is ablaze with color. It looks as if the flames of orange shoot through the air to meet the cool azure autumn sky. As I look out the car window, I imagine the fun activities we’ll do once we arrive at the old country farm house.
The sweet smell of McIntosh, Macon, and Cortland fill the air as we pick apples in Grandma’s favorite orchard. The robust red fruit hanging from the laden branches beg to be chosen for the leading role in tonight’s dessert. We help Grandma make a pie after the apples are washed, peeled, cored and sliced. She lets me sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the fruit. My mouth waters as I imagine the tart apples mingling with the sweetness of the sugar.
Grandma and Grandpa don’t have a television or video games at their country house. You’d think we’d get bored, but we always find fun things to do. While sitting at Grandma’s butcher block table, I challenge my brother to a game of checkers. We can play checkers for hours at a time. The red and black checkered board reminds me of Grandpa’s flannel shirt he wears when he goes hiking.
Sometimes we join Grandpa on his hikes. The brown pine needles crunch beneath our feet as we set out on our adventure. The wind whispers through the pine trees as we notice a circling hawk searching for tonight’s meal. While walking in the woods we collect pine cones. Big ones, small ones, fat ones, skinny ones. Then we make pine cone bird feeders by spreading peanut butter on the pine cones and rolling them in bird seed. We hang them from a tree branch near the front window, so we can watch the birds. My favorite bird is the cardinal. Its brilliant red color reminds me of Christmas and its crested head makes it look like a king.
Grandma loves to go bird watching. As we walk through the soft meadow searching for birds I can feel the heavy tug of the binocular strap pulling on the back of my neck as it hangs off my shoulders. Grandma says you must use all of your senses to be a successful birder. As I peer through the lens I can see the blue plumage of the blue jay. I know I’ve identified it correctly, not only because of its blue feathers, but it also looks like it’s wearing a black necklace- a true sign of a blue jay. Off in the distance we hear the knocking of a woodpecker. It sounds as if someone with an urgent message is knocking on the front door. We look off to the distance to spot the wood pecker drilling into the side of a tall pine tree. As we walk back to the country house the meadow smells earthy as the autumn sun warms the purple petals of the asters.
In the evening, as the stars sparkle against the velvet night sky, we sit by the fire. It crackles in the background as we listen to Grandpa tell us
stories about what life was like when he was young. We eventually fall asleep while listening to Grandpa’s gentle voice, in the cozy country house, next to the warm glowing embers- another great visit to Vermont.