Good conversation that takes its time, hosted by Erica Heilman.
Forrest Foster Lays Karen to Rest
Forrest Foster is a dairy farmer in Hardwick, Vermont and a friend of mine. This past spring, on Memorial Day, Forrest’s partner, Karen Shaw, died after a long illness. They were together 43 years. The day after she died, Forrest built her coffin with his friends Steve and Butch, and a couple days later Karen was buried in a field behind the barn under a maple tree, with a few family and friends present.
As always with Forrest, I’m struck by the combination of pragmatism and love in everything he does. Burying Karen was no different.
The Homesteading Game
I am a terrible vegetable gardener. And I have friends who are GREAT vegetable gardeners, who also raise their own animals for milk and eggs and meat, and they put up enough food from the garden to get through the winter. For years, I have felt inadequate in their midst. So I was very happy when Justin Lander offered up a kind of primal scream about the challenges and frustrations of homesteading in Vermont. This is a show I made for Vermont Public at the beginning of the summer. So thanks Vermont Public for letting me play it here!
The Civic Standard in the 100 Year Flood
We just had a massive, devastating flood here in Vermont. And Hardwick got hit pretty hard. This all happened exactly a week after I launched the show about mystery dinner theater in Hardwick, put on by the Civic Standard.
As soon as the flood started, the Civic started working with the town to set up a shelter and provide meals and organize volunteers....while still doing trivia night at the diner and karoaoke at the Legion. Rose and Tara are doing something so simple and so fundamental, but also incredibly RARE, and it makes the hair on my neck stand up to hear them talk about it. I stopped in and talked with them yesterday about the flood response and wanted to share it with you here.
The Civic Standard
Rose Friedman and Tara Reese were in the early stages of starting the Civic Standard, an organization that gives the people of Hardwick excuses to get together. Rose and Tara were explaining this idea to Brenda at a baseball game and Brenda said that what she really wanted was for them to make a mystery dinner theater show. Nobody really thought that this would happen.
But Rose couldn't stop thinking about it. Most mystery dinner theater shows are a little like the game CLUE, which isn’t very interesting. But then Rose had an idea. What if the murder mystery was set in Hardwick? Actually, what if it was set at a really boring development review board meeting in Hardwick, which is the sort of meeting everyone around here feels totally at home in, including people who have never been to a play?
This is a show about the making of Developed to Death, a play that was written by people around Hardwick, about the community of Hardwick, and for the people of Hardwick. It is part theater, part social science project, and in it someone gets murdered.
And special bonus…right after the show is a followup interview with Civic Standard co-founders Rose Friedman and Tara Reese.
Let's Talk about Guns
This is a show about guns.
I made this story for Brave Little State, a podcast of Vermont Public, which invites listeners to create story ideas and then vote on them. I was excited to make a story about guns but I also dreaded it. It's nearly impossible to talk about guns without causing anger or heartbreak or both. I wondered what would happen if I made a show about guns where no one was allowed to say, ‘We should’ or ‘I believe.’ What would happen if we just talked personally about guns? That's what I tried here. And I was surprised by what I heard.
Nightwalking 1, from Constellation Prize
This is a guest episode by my friend Bianca Giaever, producer of the podcast Constellation Prize. This is the first of a 4 part series called Nightwalking.
What a Gem
Beautiful and moving. These stories are heart wrenching and glorious. I feel so lucky to have found this. Thank you!
This show is amazing!!
I am so happy I found this podcast and that there are so many lovely episodes to enjoy/binge! It actually made me start looking for homes in Vermont 😂. Finn and the Bell, Civic Standard, Puppy Diaries…I can’t get enough. But seriously I need more Chris and Beth!!!!
I sincerely hope that both you and Jay will continue to bring us all of the wonderful stories that highlight our humanity, our compassion, our foibles, and everything in between. I have always loved the Moth, so it comes as no surprise that Jay had a hand in helping you to bring your show to the world. Thank you for sharing Rumble Strip with us!