Volume XVII, Issue 33 # August 13 - August 19, 2009

The Bay Gardener

by Dr. Frank Gouin


Bon Voyage, Bill Burton

Au revoir, mon ami

I have known Bill Burton for just a few years, but I feel that I have known him for nearly a lifetime. This could be due to our New England heritage, he from Vermont (a suburb of New Hampshire) and I from New Hampshire (in his mind, a suburb of Vermont).

During our first encounter, at the offices of Bay Weekly in Deale, we discussed ice fishing. He informed me that he had not met many people in southern Maryland who were familiar with the sport. Ice fishing was a popular Sunday pastime for my family living in Laconia, New Hampshire, with its many lakes and ponds. It was the same for Bill during his boyhood days in Vermont and Rhode Island. He managed to continue the sport while living on the shores of Stoney Creek, by traveling to Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland every winter. He frequently wrote about it in Bay Weekly. We also talked about catching brook trout in our New England streams and discussed our concerns for the status of the Chesapeake Bay.

On several occasions, Bill called me for horticultural information, but our conversations would soon change to comments and questions about the articles we both recently published in Bay Weekly. A few years ago he brought his daughter and her husband, with granddaughter Grumpy, to Upakrik Farm in Deale to pick ripe peaches from our trees. With his walking stick in hand, he walked to the edge of Rockhold Creek to inspect the view, then into the orchard to pick peaches. Our cat Spooks followed him, and he admitted then that he was a cat man and not a dog man. However, he enjoyed watching his granddaughter Grumpy paying most of her attention to playing with our golden retriever Dandy.

When I discovered that Bill Burton loved to eat Oriental persimmons, I always made it a point to ship him, via Bay Weekly editor Sandra Martin, a bag full of Giboshi and Sheng persimmons.

Bill and family were planning to come to Upakrik Farm to pick peaches this summer, and I also felt very honored that he had asked me to go fishing with him a few weeks ago. Neither occurred, due to his illness, but I was able to send him, again via Martin, some ripe Loring peaches from the farm. Sandra told me that he greatly enjoyed eating one on Friday evening and it brought a big smile to his face.

I will always feel fortunate to have known Bill Burton.

Au revoir, mon ami. Bon voyage.


Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at frgouin@erols.com. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly.
Please include your name and address.