Something for Everyone in ‘You Never Can Tell’

By Jennifer Falvey, Standard Correspondent
The recently released book, “You Never Can Tell,” is an irresistible collection of stories and tales written by local author, columnist and Teago General Store owner, Chuck Gundersen about life in Vermont. His wry sense of humor and self-deprecating wit make it a delightful read not only for Vermonters but also for anyone who has ever courted the idea of leaving the rat race and making a life for himself here.
Each chapter stands on its own, inviting readers to skip around, which makes it the perfect book to keep on your nightstand. Perhaps when you’ve had it with the Henry James you’ve been trying to enjoy, you can put it down and read Gundersen’s chapter detailing his mission to translate James into English. According to Gundersen, reading Henry James’ work is “like reading a novel written by the guy who drew up the terms of your mortgage.”
The book draws you in with its humor and holds you with its ontarget descriptions of the local landscape, “On a September afternoon, when the temperature is hovering around seventy and the humidity is so low that the air seems to sparkle… you imagine that you can almost taste it – a tang like cider just beginning to ferment…” The author goes on to regale you with tales of local lore like the one about Asa Crowley’s gold. Apparently, about the time of the Civil War, Asa Crowley withdrew his cash in the form of gold coin from the local bank. He is said to have buried the gold on his property before leaving to enlist himself in the war effort. He never came home from the war and people could be seen digging around his property looking for the buried gold for years afterwards.
Gundersen is not a native Vermonter but a Vermonter by choice. He grew up in New Jersey and cites his propensity to tell people who say, “oh Joisey” that he has never actually heard a native of New Jersey say it that way. There is something for everyone in this book because its basic premise is a love of life, in general, and love of life here in the Green Mountains, in particular. Gundersen’s love of life didn’t prevent him from writing his own obituary, however. He includes it in the last chapter of the book. Apparently, his funeral will include rock stars (Neil Young will try to speak but falter due to his profound grief), former U.S. presidents (it’s a curated list), and even Elvis will show up (in person) to mourn the great Chuck Gundersen. Until then we can only hope Chuck keeps on writing.
Have fun with this book. “You Can Never Tell,” by Chuck Gundersen is truly a delight

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