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A.R.

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On my birthday one year in the early 2000s, a friend offered to take me out to dinner at Johnny Seesaw’s, one of his all-time favorite places to hang out. He said we’d drive there in his Bugatti, a 1927 replica auto built from a kit, but still pretty authentic looking. This particular machine, however, had probably seen better days. But who can say no to a ride up and over the Greens in a Bugatti on their birthday and dinner at Seesaw’s, too.

I changed into a cute dress, put on my Jackie-O sunglasses, and tied a silk scarf over my head, like fashionable ladies are supposed to do when riding in vintage two-seater roadsters. This July evening was warm and lovely, with one of those long, slow, mid-summer sunsets. Seesaw’s was jammed, and patrons coming and going all stopped to admire the Bugatti, which we had parked close to the entrance. Dinner was fabulous, and the drinks were – we ate at the bar – let’s just say, the drinks were generous and plentiful.

We didn’t exactly close the joint, but eventually it was time to motor back up over the ridge and down to our side of the mountains. Here’s the thing: it was not quite the middle of the night, but darn close to it, and this fast, beautiful, red convertible Bugatti – did I mention it had no windshield in front of the passenger seat where I sat? – and no top? That night, for reasons still unknown, it also did not have working headlights. You know what’s great about this corner of Vermont? At that late hour there were hardly any other cars on the road…just us, zooming through the cool darkness under a sliver of the moon and the glimmer of a trillion stars. Terrifying, and yet not.

For the entire 30-something-mile ride home, I was thinking, so, okay, this is it — I will die…maybe a little too drunk…on my birthday in a crashed Bugatti, but at least my last meal was at Johnny’s.