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Averyt: Goodnight Vermont

05/16/12 5:55PM By Anne Averyt
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(Host) Though she may travel far away, South Burlington poet and commentator Anne Averyt has discovered that Vermont remains close. For her it's a place of the heart, a place she will always call home.

(Averyt) I am the mother of sons. Identical twins now in their mid-30s. Men I will always call my boys; memories I will always carry of the little cars and action figures they carried in their pockets when they were five – and four and seven. Miniature cars and plastic superheroes that for years peopled the bottom of my purse and churned through the washing machine.

But now I have a granddaughter. The pot of blond hair at the end of the rainbow. An endearing smile, a constant joy. Jet lag and withdrawal after a recent journey are a small price to pay to spend time with her. To reconnect with family, to renew our love. To carry a little bit of Vermont to just outside the nation’s capital.

Whenever I visit my sons I take as much Vermont with me as I can. They have VT bumper stickers on their cars and proudly wear the UVM logo on their tee shirts. Though they weren't actually born here, they call Vermont home. From a distance they join fellow expatriates in Washington to cheer on the UVM men’s basketball team during the opening moments of March madness, proud of their connection to the Green Mountain State.

En route to a D.C. visit, I stuff Vermont-made pepperoni into my carry-on, along with a tee-shirt from a Vermont vineyard for one son and a baseball cap from a local brewery for the other. I tote newspaper articles about a new barbecue restaurant in Waterbury and the new brewpub in Shelburne, just down the road from where they grew up.

What is a visit without a taste of home? Taking Green Mountain magic to far-off sons whose hearts will always be green and feet forever rooted in the black soil of home. My heart is filled with Vermont connections and with the hope that my granddaughter will come to know what makes this tiny state such a special place.

In the evening, when I tucked her into bed, we read together the board book by Michael Tougais that whispers Goodnight Vermont – “Don’t you love the fresh mountain air? Good evening, woods and stone wall. Good evening, friends.”

Even when I'm far away, my heart brings me back to my Vermont home, not the home of my birth but the home of my soul where my roots have taken hold and where my sons grew strong and tall, their characters nurtured and honed by Vermont values.

My granddaughter may never call the green mountains of Vermont home, but I hope as she grows she will know as more than just pictures in a book, the valleys and brooks of Vermont, the country roads, the dairy cows and baby moose. That she will breathe fresh mountain air, play in messy mud season, and say with the author of the book, "Thank you, Vermont for sharing a wonderful day."
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