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Out and About with Word and Image of Vermont
Perennial Pleasures in East Hardwick is a Vermonty sort of place. It has a small gift shop, fat chickens scratching in the yard, a tea room, fairly extensive gardens, and, out at the back, an outdoor dining area. We drove up there on the afternoon of August 25, 2004 -- about thirty miles from Montpelier -- to hear a poetry reading by our friend Ellen Voigt. We were supposed to get tea, but on arrival a terrific confusion ensued about when we wanted tea, and where we wanted it, and what would be the best time to get it. As a consequence, there turned out to be no tea for us at all, which I guess was a bit of a shame but nothing disastrous. Ellen read well, as usual, calling to the mind's eye images of birds and flowers that, fleetingly, were more vivid than the ones in front of our eyes. I was bitten once by a mosquito. Another one was ambitious for my blood but I got him before he got me, and quietly, too, so I didn't even interrupt the reading. We saw a few old friends, chatted for a few minutes before and afterwards, and then, drove into the metropolis of Hardwick itself to have supper with friends at a Chinese restaurant. It was like something out of a Victorian novel, except for the Chinese food which was strictly of the provincial American variety.