Day 615: Broad Brook

Once again, the Mind’s Eye group followed the Connecticut River south out of Bradford, Vermont. Along the way, they went hiking and bird watching and had a picnic lunch. At Brattleboro they crossed the river into New Hampshire and drove on to Ashuelot, their destination for the evening. Located on the Ashuelot River, the town has one of the finest covered bridges in New Hampshire.

Broad Brook, a whitewater stream that joins the river in the town, was the subject of some happy hour gossip about a group of teenagers who played a joke on Charlie, one of their gullible contemporaries. Laetitia turned it into the limerick of the day.

When some clowns enticed Charlie to look
For the broads who hang out near Broad Brook
At a stream, ‘neath the stars
Instead of in bars
He found he was sadly mistook.

Day 614: Hooker Siding

As she sat in the library of the Emerald Victorian drinking coffee, Laetitia scrolled through several websites that featured Vermont place names. A site called “A Gazetteer of Vermont Places: Real and Imagined,” by the Center for Rural Studies categorized the places, and she looked at the ones under the heading, “Places Where It’s Tough to Be a Realtor.” There she found the town “Hooker Siding,” and decided to go there.

Her decision was based on the image it conjured in her mind of a railroad version of a “cat wagon,” the kind of itinerant bordello on wheels that traveled about the old west visiting mining towns, rodeos, and other locales where there were likely to be lots of lonely men. Finding Hooker Siding on a map turned out to be more difficult than she expected, and there was little other information about it online. The last mention of it she could find was in an account of a 1964 train wreck in Bradford, Vermont, on the now-defunct Boston and Maine Railroad Line.

Between Rygate and Bradford, Vermont, the Connecticut River serves as the border between Vermont and New Hampshire. Laetitia and her group spent most of the morning taking the road along the river, with frequent stops to watch birds and other wildlife. When they arrived that afternoon in Bradford, they did a walkabout. Laetitia asked all the town residents that they met about Hooker Siding. Only people over the age of sixty remembered it at all, and none could remember how it got its name. Those who would speculate thought there might have been a Hooker family living in the vicinity a long time ago. Surname origins are often connected to occupations. Thus there was speculation that the Hookers of yore were likely makers of hooks. Undaunted, Laetitia decided not to let rational thought get in the way of a good limerick and made one up.

Though I’m sure those folks were law abiding
From whom came the name “Hooker Siding”
It conjures the sight
Of gals of the night
Who in sidetracked rail cars are residing.

Day 613: Ticklenaked Pond

On the way to Rygate, Vermont, the Mind’s Eye group hiked in Groton State Forest. Even though they were spending the evening in Rygate, their real destination was Ticklenaked Pond.

A Chicago nudist club had approached Mind’s Eye headquarters—wherever that was—and asked for a tour there so they could go skinny-dipping. Their goal was to learn for themselves whether the pond lived up to its name. When Laetitia researched the origin of the pond’s name as she planned the trip, she found that it is a corruption of a Native American word meaning something like “beaver kittens here.” She decided not to disappoint the Chicagoans by sharing that with them. It is rumored that Laetitia joined the group in the pond and that she left her coffee cup on the bank atop her neatly-folded scarf while doing so.

In Rygate, after showering and putting on fresh attire, Laetitia went for her usual before-dinner happy hour sojourn at a nearby bar. There she heard a story about an aging bachelor named Jake who lived near the pond. His attempts to turn his home’s location to amorous advantage were less than successful. He became the subject of the limerick of the day.

When Jake from near Ticklenaked Pond
Went out nightly in search of a blonde
For a midnight swim nude
Girls chose words quite rude
When they told him he wasn’t James Bond.

Day 612: Camels Hump

Laetitia and her group drove through Cornwall Swamp Wildlife Management Area in Vermont looking for wildlife, but they didn’t linge,r since they were hiking on Camel’s Hump today.

In 1609, when Samuel de Champlain explored the lake that bears his name and the surrounding countryside, he named a prominent 4,000-foot peak in what is now the Green Mountains, “Le Lion Couchant,” a phrase that roughly translates as, “The Resting Lion.” Later the peak, with its distinctive shape, became known as “Camel’s Rump” and still later “Camel’s Hump.” The area is now a state park, and the trail to the summit is a favorite of hikers, so Laetitia chose to lead her group on a hike to the Alpine meadow at the summit.

As the group approached the park, they passed a riding stable, indicating that the area is popular with trail riders as well as hikers. The emblems of several riding clubs were emblazoned on the sign in front, including one that read, “CAMEL’S HUMP LADIES RIDING CLUB.” When they reached the summit and were admiring the view, a group member walked up to Laetitia and claimed that the only reason he had joined the trip was to see real camels procreating, and he had seen no such thing. He claimed that the day’s tour was not as advertised, and he demanded a refund. Laetitia graciously handed him an IOU for the amount he had paid, zero dollars, and he left the tour. When he had gone, Laetitia smiled and wrote the limerick of the day.

When a man not unlike Forrest Gump
Came to Vermont to see Camel’s Hump
He saw soil and stone
Without flesh and bone
For it is but a mountainous bump.