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Molnar: Vermont Grateful

11/23/11 7:55AM By Martha Molnar
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(Host) At Thanksgiving dinner, commentator Martha Molnar's family lists the things each is most grateful for. This year, she's been thinking of some things that are unique to Vermont.

(Molnar) There are many interpretations of the Thanksgiving story. But all agree that none of the Pilgrims would have survived without the help of the Native Americans who shared their food and knowledge.

A number of Vermont's small farmers, many of whom are struggling especially hard this year given the ravages of Irene, didn't wait for Thanksgiving to share their food. In early October, they began filling a truck with donated vegetables and fruits and driving it to New York City and Boston to feed the Occupy Wall Street protesters. One of the organizers said, they donated "despite earning peanuts for hard work, despite having already dedicated their efforts to social and economic change."

Regardless of how one feels about the Occupy movement, I'm grateful to live in a state where I can know people whose idealism is translated into selfless, effective action.

And I am grateful to live in a state where we have other. less dramatic ways to be considerate.

I refer to such unremarkable phenomena as dinner guests arriving with slippers. They stop just inside the door, slip off their snowy or muddy shoes and slip on their own slippers.

Then, there's fleece, the fabric of choice for three-season Vermont fashions, worn in various weights, with or without sleeves, zippered, buttoned, knotted, banded, fitted to torso, head and hands.

Now you might think all this fleece would get boring. And it does. But I prefer it to the designer handbags that measured fashion sense in New York. And I am grateful that I can take in a local play or concert simply by slipping out of fleece sweatpants and into jeans, leaving on the fleece vest and the old handbag at home.

And especially around this time of year, when the sun takes an extended vacation, I'm grateful for used bookstores. And for their owners, each a fountain of fascinating information - if you can get them to talk.

One has his desk facing away from customers, eliminating the need for even a greeting. But if you happen to pique his interest with your inquiry, he turns around, and almost smiling, offers a short and brilliant lecture on the subject that usually starts with an intriguing "did you know?"

The proliferation of bookstores might have something to do with the proliferation of writers, artists and other creative types.

At last count there were more than 5,000 of these folk, making Vermont the fourth highest state in the number of artists relative to population, bringing richness and breadth to everyday life.

Then, there's the Drying Report from the Eye on the sky guys, aimed, I thought, at the large numbers of Vermonters whose yards showcase cheerfully blowing laundry.

I learned only recently that the Drying Report is actually aimed at farmers drying their hay. Was I disappointed? Not at all. I'm grateful to be living in a state that has enough cultivated fields to merit a special report. Furthermore, the drying report works perfectly for my laundry!

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