The View from Faraway Farm: Trying to keep up with a 'Buzzy' father

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I've been exceptionally fortunate to have had the opportunity to find and develop a relationship with my biological father. My adoptive dad was a great guy that I was also extremely fortunate to have had. I've referred to my father situation as an embarrassment of riches, and it truly has been just like that. Who would have thought that well into my 50s I would have gotten a chance to have another great Dad? Amazingly, well into my 60s, I am still enjoying great conversations with my Dad pretty much every day. What do we talk about? Everything, but the dominant subject matter is projects. He's always got some and so do I.

Let me preface all this by saying that my Dad is 86 years old and is very active. His family gave him the nickname Buzzy as a child and it still applies today; always active, always moving. Other than the fact that I look a great deal like his Dad, my Grandfather, I do tend to take after the guy in many ways. We seem to be of the same mind about many things. We have a lot in common. He was born in Brattleboro and lived in Claremont, Springfield, and Woodstock as a child. His Dad was a pharmacist. I have worked in every one of those towns and my adoptive parents lived in Springfield during World War II as did my biological father. I'd say a half mile from each other.

My biological father was a teacher. He and his wife owned a hilltop home with stunning views to the east and west in Fairfax, Vermont that encompassed Lake Champlain, the Adirondacks, Mt Mansfield, down to Camel's Hump, north to Jay Peak and well into Canada. With his summers off, he built their home into a large and beautiful structure. So big that he had to build an adjacent house to rent out to cover their taxes. He had so many projects going on there that it was non-stop. When I first met him he had already retired, but that huge place had him working full time. Whenever I had a project he was a font of knowledge and assistance. Now we always discuss our projects with each other and I always learn a thing or two from him.

My recent woodshed project was interesting. My friend Paul, the home inspector, was the builder. For under $500 in materials, I now have a shed big enough to house a lawn tractor and several cords of firewood. It was simply built using freshly sawn pine and features clear composite roof panels. With a few parameters from me, most of the build was in Paul's head. My contribution was solar lighting that is all internal. I sourced some great all-weather solar lights, mounted them on the rafters up near the roof panels where they get nearly all-day sunlight, and they are activated by motion detectors. They are working beautifully and I hope I can say the same in February. Additionally, the clear roofing is perfect for heating things to assist in seasoning the firewood. Just having the opportunity to talk this stuff out with my biological Dad and Paul made it a more innovative project than it would have been if done solo. Honestly, without Paul, it probably would have looked like hell and would not have a level board on any wall.

We are in the preliminary stages of discussing a bigger project for next summer and I sincerely hope we get to do it. This next one would physically include my biological father who has not yet met my friend Paul. That ought to be interesting. Hopefully, Paul will be free to work on that one if we're lucky. Anyway, I'm going to have to push myself harder to get in better shape to keep up with my (by then) 87-year-old father and I am not joking in the least.

The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett can be heard Monday through Saturday mornings on radio stations Oldies KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3 and 106.5 and over Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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