Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter

Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter by Lisa Patton Read Free Book Online

Book: Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter by Lisa Patton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lisa Patton
when we had finished our lunch. “What do you say we ride to the top and get a better look at the Sugartree valley? You can get a terrific view of the region from the top of the lift.”
    “Sounds great,” Baker said.
    Baldwin ushered us out of the lodge. Baker took hold of my hand and the three of us strolled over to the lift. It had been years since Baker had actually held my hand in public. Who does he think he’s trying to impress?
    While Baker and Ed chitchatted about the skiing industry, I focused on Ed Baldwin—the pushy man. He was tall and lean, I’d say around forty-five years old, and wore a pair of wire-rimmed sunglasses. Whenever he opened his mouth to talk, I had to stop myself from staring at his teeth—well, actually his veneers. Bless his heart, he must have used a bad dentist because they were a little on the thick side.
    His hairline was receding and what was left of his dark hair was streaked with gray. His dress was conservative—khaki pants, a white golf shirt, and a pair of Timberland hiking boots. The only thing New Englandy about him at all was his accent and the Patagonia fleece vest he wore ( in the summer ) over his shirt.
    On the ride to the top of the mountain, Ed informed us that Vermont had the lowest crime rate of any state in the country. Baker jabbed his elbow into my arm as soon as he heard that. I was sitting in between the two guys, and the fourth chair was empty. I wished I had been on the outside because they were the ones doing all the talking. Besides, I was dead set on finding a moose.
    Ed went on to talk about the wonderful public school system in the area, the reasonable property values, the abundant wildlife, and, of course, the fresh mountain air. “Skiing is part of the public school curriculum,” hesaid. “Our kids get out at noon on Tuesdays, and the school buses transport them here to Sugartree to ski for the rest of the day. They have a blast. As a matter of fact, my children have become competitive racers.”
    “That’s neat,” I said, thinking that might be something I’d like the girls to take up.
    “They went to a high school over on Stratton Mountain, about thirty minutes away, called the Stratton Mountain Ski School.”
    “Do they get any studying in?” Baker chuckled a little when he asked.
    “Oh, sure, but they ski every single day.”
    “Do they accept girls?” Baker wanted to know.
    “Of course, are you kidding? It’s coed. Several of the Stratton Mountain Ski School graduates have gone on to become members of the U.S. ski team.”
    “I’ve heard the skiing in the Northeast is icy,” I heard myself saying. Baker jabbed my arm again.
    “Well, that’s debatable. Folks out west don’t like to admit that Vermont has some pretty nice conditions here. In my opinion—and I don’t speak for everyone, mind you—skiing in Vermont is as good as any mountain out west.” He sounded convincing. But then again wasn’t that his MO?
    “Have you ever seen a moose?” I bent down to look at the thicket of evergreens below us.
    “Yuup, when you live here, you see them quite often. They’re all over the place.”
    “Are they on this mountain?” I perked right up.
    “Well, sure.”
    “What about on the side of the road?”
    “Sometimes, or they could be in a field—just keep your eyes peeled. You’ll see one.” (I didn’t find out until much later that really spotting a moose is about as likely as spotting a freckle on your own fanny.)
    “What about tornadoes and earthquakes?” I asked. There’s bound to be something wrong with Vermont .
    “Nuup, we don’t have to worry about earthquakes and tornadoes around here. The mountains protect us from tornadoes and, to my knowledge, there are no fault lines anywhere close.”
    “Then what is the downside to living here?” I asked. Somebody needs to ask this question . “There must be something—a stinky paper mill perhaps, or contaminated rivers?” I knew Baker was about to kill me, but

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