I painted this from a photo that’s long gone. Too bad…

Dear Rosa,

Did you hate her as much as your daughter, Mary, did? Emma Cannon, my dad’s other grammy, your daughter’s dreaded mother-in-law?

Probably didn’t help that she lived right next door to you and Mary. Definitely didn’t help when she took credit for Mary’s donuts. Prided herself on those awful, greasy things she still made once a month even when I was a kid. Sent me home with a bag full and we all choked them down. No one dared meet her wrath if you didn’t take them with a smile and tell her later how wonderful they were.

Emma Bell married Hiram Ferry. They had a son, Henry Lucius Ferry. He had a son, Henry Ferry, my pop. Then Hiram died and she married Matthias Cannon. Married up too, Matthias was a notable, was in the legislature, don’t cha know and just look at how fine a marker they had…

Asked my Aunt Lilah, what was she like, Emma?

Stubborn, short, loved to cook, she answered with the simplicity of a pure-bred Vermonter.

My dad told me this next story so I know it’s true. Great story, I’ll let him use his own words.

Emma Cannon, my Grammy, drove a fine horse and buggy. Don’t know why she got it in her head, but one day she up and decided to buy an automobile. Marched overtown to Cross Brothers Garage, kicked the wheels of a brand new Ford Model T and bought it, without knowing how to drive.

She still hadn’t learned by the time she reached her driveway. Drove the damn thing into her front porch yelling “Whoa Nellie.”

Then she stuck it into her hay barn and left it.

One day, Roger and I were pitching hay and hit something hard. We moved the hay away and uncovered a brand new Model T with fourth of a mile on the odometer and a dented fender.

I was 16. It was my first car. Sold it to one of the town boys who wrecked it and died.

A damned shame, he added with a sad nod of his head.


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