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  • My girlfriend and I have been together for almost two years now. With passion and only occasional pushiness, she has tried to infuse my life with all that moves her about her beloved Vermont. The barn concerts and winter bonfires. Potluck dinners and wood stoves. Enough organic vegetables to cause what seem to be long gray ears to begin to sprout from the top of my head. Two-quart mason jars of lemony water and unsweetened cranberry juice to help cleanse my system, or my soul, I forget which.

    I grouse about it from time to time, in the native New Yorker style of grousing that I have found to be such a comfort over the years. But as time has passed, I have noticed that these Vermont ways are likewise beginning to endear themselves to me, and that some Vermont may actual be starting to seep in, like the famous sap that seeps out of the trees up there and into bottles of Log Cabin and Aunt Jemina, only in reverse, or at least I think that's the way it works.

    A few weeks ago, while walking the aisles at the local coop where I now apparently shop, I noticed shrink-wrapped sets of six miniature mason jars, and got to thinking that I could bring them home and we could drink out of them like glasses, much in the manner she had me drinking out of empty pint glass milk bottles when we were at her home. Plus, I thought, the jars were actually green, like the Mountains, and the cow-dotted hills, and the license plates.

    I guessed right. She loved them. Soon our cupboard was lined with freshly washed green jars. Some became receptacles for almonds and hazelnuts she stored in the freezer for reasons that still escape me. The others, glassware for hardworking Vermonters-in-progress like me to drink out of as we take a break from our winter fruit and vegetable preserving, or whatever the jars are actually used for apart from drinking and storage.

    I thought of her last night as I sat reading, in anticipation of her return later this week from a business trip. How proud she would be of me, sitting at the kitchen table, a green jar of frozen almonds in front of me and another green jar of lemon cran water at my elbow, a true Vermonter in the making. I grabbed the jar of almonds with my right hand and confidently shook them into my left, and proceeded to splash a pint of cran water halfway across the kitchen.

    It would appear that I still have a ways to travel on the road to Vermonty.
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