Dumpling Quest.

I stop into the Friday Hardwick Farmers Market to buy dumplings for my daughters. Waiting in line, I chat with an acquaintance from a nearby town who tells me his wife’s sister unexpectedly passed away in spring, and left a house full of things and no children to clean out the house. I’ve known this man and his wife for years. They’re amicable and pleasant, with a far more relaxed view towards the world than my own, seriously Type A, ‘get a plan’ attitude.’ I find them incredibly pleasant and refreshing.

He buys chicken curry and mentions to me that if I ever hear of free vinyl records, he’d be interested.

A chilly wind blows across the market field, and the vendor grabs his paper boxes. ‘Feels like September,’ he says. ‘Summer’s disappearing, and I haven’t even enjoyed it yet.’

I hand him ten dollar bill and step out into the sunlight. In the pavilion, a young woman sings while another fiddles. For a moment, time splinters, and I’m back at the Stowe Farmers Market where I sold our maple syrup for over a decade. For many of those years, I had a baby or small child on my back. Cloud shadows skitter over the field, and the wind blows dust into my eyes.

The dumpling man says, ‘Take more sauce,’ and I do.

I know what coming back to America from a war zone is like because I’ve done it so many times. First there is a kind of shock at the level of comfort and affluence that we enjoy, but that is followed by the dismal realization that we live in a society that is basically at war with itself. People speak with incredible contempt about – depending on their views – the rich, the poor, the educated, the foreign-born, the president, or the entire US government… People who speak with contempt for one another will probably not remain united for long.” 

— Sebastian Junger

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.

10 comments

  1. Your window framed the scenery beautifully. Our dogwood trees have started the transition into fall, the colors changing ever so gently. Junger’s quote is a true cautionary tale I’m afraid.

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