My name is Winter Thayer and I am writing this first of a series of posts in honor of my mother, who is under felony indictment for cultivation of cannabis. Because she was growing it for me, I feel compelled to explain the situation. She almost lost me when I was twenty-eight days old, and I haven’t been easy on her since. It’s a good thing she works at taking care of us full-time, because as it turns out, my brother needed her too. She has taught me that it is great to be alive no matter how tough times are.
My parents have worked hard to help to make our place in Vermont secure for us, my brother is at rest here and my sister and I hope to raise kids here. The sustainability we hope for reaches across generations. And, even though she thinks about generations to come, my mom is fun to be with.
Her gardens are always changing and she has all kinds of different plants; I am constantly finding new ones I hadn’t seen, hiding here and there. Our whole family gardens. In the early years of the Rutland Farmer’s market Tristan grew and sold specialty garden lettuces and supplied the Victorian Inn with seasonal produce. He used to complain that Mom planted too many flowers, not enough vegetables, sure that she had her priorities wrong. By the time Tristan came back from his yearlong rotary exchange in Chile he looked at her gardens and said, “I am so glad to come home to Vermont, nobody has anything like this mom.”
As kids, we grew up eating alpine strawberries from the greenhouse in winter, fresh blueberries and raspberries in summer, tasty vegetables of all kinds, and flowers, lots and lots of flowers. Needless to say, Tristan and the rest of us came to love the flowers; who could resist? I have learned that gardens are not just to look at, too much to see in a snapshot. To know them you have to live in them and see the plants unfold over the seasons.
From the time Tristan was in nursery school until after I was in kindergarten, mom worked in the Little Red Schoolhouse, our free community preschool. In grade school she was always a room-mother for us. She taught ELF through all of our elementary school years and she always chaperoned our field trips. She served as board member and president of the Gilbert Hart Library. She is a member of the Master Gardeners, a program that teaches about gardens in the community. She has worked on a memorial garden at the library and at the Boy and the Boot garden at the traffic light in the village. She has been a Justice of the Peace for five terms, and she hopes to be elected again in November. Her participation in our community has set an example for me that I aspire to.
Our family came to this hill to rent a barn down the road when there were only 5 year-around families here. Mom and Dad bought our land when you could still get land for an affordable price. Dad is a Vietnam vet, an English major, forester and logger, sugar maker, and finally, a manufacturer’s rep for the last 25 years. He cut the timber for the house and local folks built it for us. In the last thirty years this neighborhood has provided a stage for all of the changes Vermont is experiencing. Our family is particularly concerned with sustainability in the landscape, and my sister and I hope to contribute to that goal in this place.
I love my mother, I am her biggest fan. Because she will not be allowed to tell her story to a jury of her peers, I feel that I need to tell it here. When adversity has presented itself, we have done the most honest and least harmful thing we could manage.
All of us thought she was the best growing up. Now that I’ve grown up, I know we were right.