• By Marsha Norman

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    One of the charms of country living is being surprised by people who just come by and let themselves in. Like most people around here, we don’t use the door lock much. There are people who know this and will stick their heads inside and shout "anyone home," instead of knocking or using the doorbell that goes months without ever ringing.

    If I hear them, I’ll shout back, "Come on in. I’ll be out in a minute."

    That’s the usual routine but there are people who have higher privileges and they just come in. My daughter and her kids, of course. I’m forever being surprised at my desk by the sound of tiny feet and then a hand touching me on the arm.

    When my car isn’t in the garage but my husband’s truck is parked outside, people know he is here and working and some of his buddies just walk in and take the stairs up to his office. This happens a lot during turkey season when the boys are swapping stories.

    Some of the people we call for help with the house-plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc.-will come in and just start fixing whatever needs to be fixed. My husband says there are times he doesn’t know anyone is even in the house with him until "the hammering starts."

    Departments

    The Buzz
    Comprehensive Seasonal Calendar

    From the Editor
    Goodbye to the Garden

    People & Places
    The Tale of The Magic Oven

    Bucko's Backyard
    It’s Been Fun

    Bookends
    Landscaping Ideas That Work

    Country Cooking
    Vegetarian Mondays

    Geoffrey Norman's Last Word
    Butter Without Tears

    An Open Door Policy

    [img_assist|nid=813|title=|desc=|link=url|url=http://www.strattonmagazine.com/digital/current|align=left|width=187|height=250]

    One of the charms of country living is being surprised by people who just come by and let themselves in. Like most people around here, we don’t use the door lock much. There are people who know this and will stick their heads inside and shout "anyone home," instead of knocking or using the doorbell that goes months without ever ringing.

    If I hear them, I’ll shout back, "Come on in. I’ll be out in a minute."

    That’s the usual routine but there are people who have higher privileges and they just come in. My daughter and her kids, of course. I’m forever being surprised at my desk by the sound of tiny feet and then a hand touching me on the arm.

    When my car isn’t in the garage but my husband’s truck is parked outside, people know he is here and working and some of his buddies just walk in and take the stairs up to his office. This happens a lot during turkey season when the boys are swapping stories.

    Some of the people we call for help with the house-plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc.-will come in and just start fixing whatever needs to be fixed. My husband says there are times he doesn’t know anyone is even in the house with him until "the hammering starts."

    Then he hits the save function on his computer and goes downstairs.

    "How’s it going, Jack?"

    Just fine. Thought I’d put this faucet in while I’m in the area."

    "Appreciate it."

    And, then, there is my friend Tara who brings me fresh juices. She comes and goes according to her own schedule which I’ve never bothered to learn. I don’t know when she is coming but I sure know when she has been here. I can tell by the bottles of fresh juice in the refrigerator and the absence of last week’s empties.

    All this just seems perfectly ordinary to us now but it took some getting used to when we moved up from New York where you always had three or four locks between you and the rest of the world and maybe even a doorman besides.

    We hadn’t been here long before we learned that Wilcox Dairy still delivered to your house.  A real milkman. What could be more sweetly Vermont? We signed right up.  And after he’d made a few deliveries, we got to be on a first-name basis with the milkman. His name was Phil. Somehow or other, he went from leaving things outside the door to coming in and putting what we’d ordered in the refrigerator.

    From there, it was a short step to inventorying the contents of the refrigerator and deciding that we didn’t really need a gallon of whole milk, since we had plenty, and that we were low on skim so he’d better leave some. Also some cottage cheese. And, then, he started leaving things he thought we might like to try. A new flavor of ice cream, for instance. When, eventually, we did see him, he would ask how we liked it and would we like for him to add a quart to our regular delivery. The man was doing some of our shopping for us.

    Wilcox, sadly, does not deliver to your house any longer. I miss that. But the sense of serenity that allows you to leave the door unlocked and let people come into your house … that is still alive. And this sense of easy living seems especially keen at this time of year. Summertime and the living is easy. Come on inside the magazine, the door is unlocked and we have features on golf and sheep herding and summer ice skating at Riley Rink and a wonderful look at the Weston Theatre’s plans for its Walker Farm bequest.

    Kick back and relax. It’s summer again. Thank goodness!

    Marsha Norman 

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