Morning On the Ottauquechee

Ottauquechee River during ice-out, April 2005

We live across the street from the Ottauquechee River. It’s a popular trout-fishing spot and several fishing guides lead their charges to it during spring, summer and fall. We watch them park across the street; friends know they can park in our driveway.

One of the guides, Marty Banak of Wilderness Trails, has beaten a path through the brush down to the water’s edge. I’m leery of the brush. Our first summer here I developed a whopping case of poison ivy after a walk down there.

During the summer, you can barely see the river from our front porch, but you can hear it. During the winter, it is quite visible. But it is silent. We always know spring has truly arrived the first night we lie in bed and can hear the rush of the waters after ice-out.

I live in the house by the side of the road with Helen. Hi, my name is Dave Clark and I consider myself lucky for the most part. But more about that later. . . Our house contains our hopes and dreams. Maybe its because we both work at home and we are together pretty much all the time. Maybe its because we are the first house that you see when you enter Quechee Vermont from the south, and generally people smile when they see us out on the front porch playing music, or working in the front yard. Its quite an affirmation when people smile and wave and they dont know who you are. I don’t want to sound trite or shallow, but in our case the state of our house symbolizes how successfully we live.

I wrote a song called “Friend of Man” based on the Sam Walter Foster poem that Helen published. It goes like this:

In my house by the side of the road.
I watch the world go by.
There are teachers, lawyers, mothers, theives
Some are low and some are high.

I would not trade my life with them
I’ll just do the best I can.
In my house by the side of the road
I’ll be a friend of man.

In my house by the side of the road
by the side of the road of life
I have friends who smile with the joy of hope
and others who live in strife.

I do not judge between right and wrong
among this merry band.
In my house by the side of the road,
I’ll be a friend of man.

In my house by the side of the road
I will live my whole life long.
With friends dropping in from near and far
we will fill it with happy song.

I’ll never take for granted
where my new life began.
In my house by the side of the road
I’ll be a friend of man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road and be a friend to man