As you know, I have taken Chip (to go) on the road for a few outings. While this is not my first trip to Vermont with Chip, this destination was arguably one of his favorites. We visited this gem many years when coming to The White Sleigh in Manchester to pick out our annual Nutcracker. We collected one for each year we were married. We rarely went on a road trip that did not include food, wine, or spirits.
Tomorrow, July 15th, is the anniversary of his death. I wanted to do something memorable today with Chip, just him and me. Tomorrow I will most likely go to a beach or the pool, lay in the sun, and read a sappy romance novel. I can hear him sighing…
Zoey’s Double Hex
But today, I gassed up the car, grabbed a large iced coffee, and headed to Vermont. At the end of the village of Manchester is a beautiful gem, Zoey’s Double Hex. A small and welcoming location for lunch or dinner when the people are super friendly, and the food is phenomenal.
I ordered a Super Onion Burger with their signature hex onion strings. Chip and I would share an order of these tiny, shaved Spanish onions dusted with seasoned flour, crispy fried, and piled high served with an out-of-sight dipping sauce. Today they will reside on this juicy burger topped with Vermont cheddar. To accompany this feast? An Otter Creek Free Flowing IPA. I raised my glass to Chip as those first few sips passed my lips. Oh, cold and perfect in a frosted glass. He would have died, no pun intended.
The burger is fantastic, cooked perfectly and oozing when I cut it in half. Chip, I attempted to finish it and damn near did, but it was just too much for me and you are not here to finish it.
I brought my iPad and am composing this blog post while I sit here, eating alone, which I absolutely HATE doing. Somehow, I am not feeling so bad with his urn next to me. I am alone on the porch, sipping my beer and listening to what I think is a rooster…only in Vermont.
I Love Vermont
Vermont has always been a special place for us. We honeymooned in Quechee, VT, when Hurricane Hugo descended on our wedding day. We vacationed with the kids and told them pumpkins came from VT, never on a truck in a supermarket parking lot. We rode the Alpine Slide from when we were on our honeymoon, when I was seven months pregnant with Jack, and with the kids as they made fun of me for riding too slow. We spent lazy romantic weekends in bed at a bed and breakfast and gathered food, Vermont cheese, tasty chocolates, and dessert for another day.
My heart aches, Chip, and it doesn’t stop.
I know you are gone, and I pray you are indeed here with me on this porch as I sip this cold IPA. The levity of the fact that I brought you, in your urn, in a Coach backpack (nothing but the best) to a restaurant weighs heavy, yet it makes me smile. Am I crazy for taking my dead husband on road trips? I don’t think so, but the jury is out. I will hit a few more places in VT before heading home to Miss Tillie.
I have loved you for as long as I can remember and do not want to forget you. People experience love in a variety of ways. Some accept it, and some take it all in. You are all in my heart and soul and have been for decades. I sit here thinking and spinning your wedding ring around my finger, which now resides next to mine. Comfort or loss? Some days it is a little of both.
Ice Cream and shopping can heal a multitude of aches. What do you say? I hear there is a Talbot’s outlet in Manchester…