Category Archives: Vermont

The novel, “Midwives,” 20 years later: Is there anything I would update or change?

It was twenty years ago that “Midwives” was published: 1997. I had hair then. Our phones were considerably less smart. Our books were made of paper. Throughout this month I will be answering questions from the Reading Group Center to celebrate the new, twentieth anniversary edition of the novel. Here is their first one. As […]

Howard Frank Mosher: a heart as immense as his talent

Of the million and a half words (at least a million and a half) that Howard Frank Mosher published, the sentence I think about most often is the very first sentence of his very first novel: “My father was a man of indefatigable optimism.” It is, like most of his sentences, rhythmically perfect. It has […]

Win free advance copies of “The Sleepwalker”

Greetings! “The Sleepwalker” does not go on sale until January 10, 2017. Right now, however, thanks to Doubleday Books and Goodreads, you can enter to win free advance copies. Simply click here and fill out the short form. The contest lasts until this Friday, September 23. Fingers crossed my work never disappoints you. All the […]

Goodbye. Godspeed. Farewell. At least for now.

Vermont has never been spared the yin and yang of the world. We were certainly reminded this summer that we are not exempt from violence and death in Berlin and Barre and Greensboro, as well as on our interstates and usually quiet country roads. Most of us, however, simply went about our lives. We swam […]

A great teacher sees the promise of September

The back-to-school sales fliers started arriving in our mailboxes back around the 4th of July, the scariest mail of the summer for students and teachers alike. And now the moment has arrived: for much of the world, classes have resumed. At the 116-student elementary school here in Lincoln, Vermont the new year commenced last Wednesday. […]

A Ferris wheel is still food for the soul

A couple of years ago, Chris Ashby, director of operations at the Champlain Valley Exposition, saw three boys peering longingly through a fence at the Champlain Valley Fair. He guessed the kids were 8 or 9 years old. On the other side of fence was the fair’s tractor pull, and Ashby could hear the indefatigable […]

A little too much like life: Aging and the approaching end to Idyll Banter

  In one of the last weeks of my father’s life — though we had no idea at the time that he would be leaving us shortly as a result of a burst blood vessel in his brain — he asked me to intervene with the caregivers at his assisted living facility who felt he […]

To understand Vermont, look to Georgia. . .the dog.

If you really want to understand Vermont, spend a little time with Georgia. Georgia is a 65-pound pit bull and chocolate Lab mix — a classic rescue mutt — with a wattle under her neck that could double as a change purse, but makes her no less endearing. Earlier this week, she spent two hours […]

The Goodyear house is heading home

Finding an 1880 Vermont farmhouse, fully intact, smack in the middle of the road just never gets old. Watching it on a flatbed truck ascend a 13 percent grade? Even better. Such was the nail-biting theater here in Lincoln last Wednesday afternoon. Christie Sumner’s old house was becoming Todd and Jen Goodyear’s new one, and […]

What’s in store for Vermont? Ask the store owner.

Vaneasa Stearns, owner of the illustrious Lincoln General Store here in Lincoln, Vermont, has been in this column a lot over the 23 years I have been writing Idyll Banter. Her most recent appearance that was more than a mere cameo was two summers ago, on her and her husband’s 25th wedding anniversary. I chronicled […]

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