Grant Corson likes to build things, from the house he lives in to the clocks around his home. Grant doesn't like to waste time.
"There's not enough hours in the day to do what I want to do," he said.
The retired homebuilder has a new project-- returning a 1910 dory to its former glory.
"This is my real passion," he said, "messing around with boats."
His current project is a 16-foot, flat-bottom work boat that may have been used on Lake Champlain. Originally it had a one cylinder gas engine. Grant will replace it with something a bit more modern.
"In this life, it's going to be an electric boat," he said.
It will be slow but quiet, perfect to explore the calm inlets of Lake Champlain.
"I think the heart of something like this is it was a derelict when I bought it and I brought it back to life," Grant said.
Grant has brought to life a guy named Nub and his dog Buster in a novel. It's also a collection of Vermonters, characters he's known since coming to Vermont from New York City 60 years ago to be a student at UVM.
Reporter Joe Carroll: I don't hear a Queens accent in you.
Grant Corson: No, I don't think I ever had one.
Joe Carroll: Can you do a Vermont accent?
Grant Corson: A little bit.
Joe Carroll: Try.
Grant Corson: Well, I didn't steal the chickens, I just held the bag, that's all.
The storyteller has three books he's published about folks in the Green Mountains.
"These are selling pretty good," he said.
Joe Carroll: What drives you to keep going?
Grant Corson: Just interested in things, I guess.
It was that kind of interest that got him and his former wife to raise seven kids. As Grant puts it, six adopted; one homemade. Sadly his oldest son died from cardiovascular disease in Florida.
"That should never be a parent's job to bury a child," Grant said.
From lows to highs. Grant met a woman named Mutsumi when they were both taking courses at St. Michael's College. They've been married for 20 years. He says she understands his passions.
"I don't know if I should give away my secrets of dump picking," Grant said.
Joe Carroll: Dumpster diving to you is not a dirty word.
Grant Corson: Oh no, it's a way of life.
One of his crown jewels of junk is a jukebox remote still full of quarters.
"And I'll always tease my wife, I'll go through it, she'll be cooking in the kitchen and I'll say, 'Ah, go away little girl. Would you like to hear that?' And I'll push the buttons and sing to her until she chases me away," he said.
Grant will be 82 in March, and back at the boat, his boy-like enthusiasm is unsinkable.
Joe Carroll: You're very excited about this.
Grant Corson: I am excited, yeah. I've never built an electric boat before.
Indeed, time marches on, but so does Grant.
"It's going to be a beauty when it's done, I think," Corson said.
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