At the foot of Mount Mansfield in Underhill Center lies Matt Parisi's 40 acres of paradise.
"Beautiful day to see it," he commented.
And he has a home built entirely of stone.
Reporter Joe Carroll: You must be proud of this.
Matt Parisi: Oh yes, and you sometimes forget the work involved in this back then.
Matt built the main house in the late 1950s. He and his family have been adding on ever since.
"You look at every piece individually as a different shape," he said. "It's sort of like a jigsaw puzzle."
The city boy from Philadelphia ended up in Vermont because of the Air Force. He worked at the radar station in St. Albans. That's where Matt fell in love with Mary Muldoon. They soon married and the young couple were transferred to France. That's where he came to appreciate the stone homes of Europe.
"Just gorgeous," he said. "A lot of stone homes and a lot of flowers in the spring. Very nice."
So much did Matt and Mary like that look, they built every building out of rock, even the kids' playhouse.
"Our grandkids love it now," Mary said.
The couple raised three girls and a boy; they have been married for 61 years.
"One of my good friends said it must of been the uniform, couldn't have been anything else," Mary said.
She likes to tease him.
"Somebody said, 'give the man a break.' And I said, 'I gave him a break when I married him,'" Mary said.
The truth is they love each other and Mary respects the boundless vitality Matt has every moment of the day.
"That level of energy is incredible still," she said.
The 83-year-old is getting his lunch to go.
"Have a good day!" Mary said as he left.
Matt is going to work; it's a 45-minute commute to the other side of the mountain to Stowe. Matt is a stone mason. He became one shortly after leaving the service.
Joe Carroll: What do we have for tools?
Matt Parisi: Old regular mason tools.
He works five days a week, about four hours a day, with his son Matt Jr., who is a chip off the old block.
"Just when we are winding down because we're a little worn out, he comes in and fires up the crew and gets everyone going again," Matt Jr. said.
Matt Jr. has pretty much taken over the family business. They employ nine people and everyone calls Matt Sr. pop. There is no need to advertise, it's word of mouth and they're busy.
Joe Carroll: You get tired doing this?
Matt Parisi Sr.: No, never, never get tired doing it.
Matt's work ethic is as solid as stone, a reminder that hard work not only builds character, but beautiful structures.
"Much better, beautiful," he said.
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