Hardwick Postcard #6: Young Men

Without much discussion in the hardware store’s parking lot, the girls picked out a tree from the high school’s forestry program, then looked at my small car, the tree, and the car again.

The young man who had sold us the tree said, If you’re not going far, I’ll take your tree home for you. He had been selling trees all day in the cold, and his cheeks were red. Like most of the young men who work in the woods and know how to use tools and their hands, he was polite. He was a young man who would insist on taking off his boots rather than track mud on your kitchen floor.

He put the tree in the back of his truck, followed us home, and carried it to our back porch. I gave him a handful of chocolate chip cookies the girls had made that morning.

Barter economy? Perhaps an illustration. Or maybe just young man decency.

The two great aims of industrialism – replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy – seem close to fulfillment.

– Wendell Berry


By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.


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