Rumble Strip

Rumble Strip

Good conversation that takes its time, hosted by Erica Heilman.


September 4, 2023 24 mins

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...

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Music by Justin Lander

Originally produced for Vermont Public 

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Special Note: 

Hill Farmstead, the best beer in the world, just named a beer after the Civic Standard. Which is fricking VERY COOL. Here's a link to it. 

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July 6, 2023 57 mins

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 th...

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May 31, 2023 48 mins

Thanks to Brave Little State and Vermont Public for letting me run this episode on Rumble Strip. You can find Brave Little State wherever you listen to podcasts, and you can read more about them by visiting Vermont Public, at Thanks to Myra Flynn, who worked with me on this show, and the rest of the Brave Little State team: Angela Evancie, Mae Nuguskey and Josh Crane.


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Credits: Music by Ishmael Ensemble, John Caroll Kirby, Riley Mulherkar and Elori Saxl

Edited by Daniel Guillemette & Daniel Gumbiner

Sound mix / sound design by John Delore

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March 30, 2023 29 mins

For years I've been wanting to make a show about the terrible cultural divides growing in our country, but I couldn't figure out how to do it without getting into boring conversations about politics. So I backed into an experiment. I asked my editor at Vermont Public if I could drive around and ask people, 'what class are you?', just to see what would happen. And he said, 'uh...sure.' So I did. This is the series that came of that ...

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March 15, 2023 15 mins

Mary Lake is a sheep farmer and sheep shearer and itinerant slaughterer. She is a tall, muscular woman in bib overalls and a baseball hat and dangly earrings she carved out of a ram’s horn. She wears a chain around her waist with a scabbard full of knives. And she loves sheep, which is one reason she participates in their slaughter. This is a story about where food comes from.

** The first version of this story aired on Vermont Publ...

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March 7, 2023 30 mins

It's town meeting day here in Vermont.

In most of New England, town citizens become legislators for one day a year. They get together in school gyms and town halls and vote in person, and in public. This centuries long practice of towns doing the slow and hard work of disagreeing and arguing and compromising on how to govern themselves—this has a profound impact on a place, and what it means to be from a place.

Sometimes it’s content...

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February 21, 2023 16 mins

Sheila LaPoint wrote a post in Front Porch Forum asking if there was anyone in town who could turn her grandmother's fur coat into a teddy bear. She didn't want to spend a lot of money. She can't wear the coat anymore. But she wants something that will help her remember her German grandmother. My friend Clare Dolan lives down the road from Sheila, and when she read Sheila’s post about the teddy bear, it called to her.  Clare is the...

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January 26, 2023 36 mins

Tom Mustill is a conservation biologist and he makes beautiful films about where nature and people meet. He’s worked with Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough, he’s been shat on by bats in Mexico, and recently he finished a book called How to Speak Whale.  It describes the very real possibility that someday, maybe even in my lifetime, we’ll begin to understand the complex language of whales--and all this would imply.

I interviewed ...

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January 23, 2023 3 mins

This show is about crime. Really crimey crime.

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January 7, 2023 23 mins

Transom Bio: 

Jay Allison has been an independent public radio producer, journalist, and teacher since the 1970s. He is the founder of Transom. His work has won most of the major broadcasting awards, including six Peabodys. He produces The Moth Radio Hour and was the curator of This I Believe on NPR. He has also worked in print for the New York Times Magazine and as a solo-crew reporter for ABC News Nightline, and is a longtime prop...

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December 2, 2022 17 mins

Forrest Foster was loading up the tractor with kindling for deer camp. It was two days before deer season. I was over there visiting and helping him with his night chores. I like Forrest. I like being around him, and I always learn something from him. Like last week he told me that you should always plant your garlic with the long rounded side facing north and the flat side facing south. Anyway, I took my recorder over a couple day...

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November 21, 2022 23 mins

Nick Paley is a writer, editor and director for film and TV, and a co-writer on the recent film, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, which stars an adorable one-inch tall shell who wears shoes and is looking for his long lost shell family. Nick is from Vermont, and he's working on a new TV series set here, so when he was in town I dragged him to a matinee of Marcel the Shell...the same movie theater where he used to clean the bathrooms...

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November 10, 2022 32 mins

Vaughn Hood was a 118-pound barber when he was drafted into the Vietnam War. And in Vaughn’s war, most men didn’t survive their first three-month tour. In honor of Veteran's Day, here is the story of an extraordinary American life.

This story is co-produced by Larry Massett and Erica Heilman. It first ran in...I can't remember what year. About five years ago.

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September 14, 2022 17 mins

Armand Patoine sat with me in his tea house, deep inside his garden, which leads down to a stream. He has been creating this garden for 49 years. We talked about gardening, and what God has to do with his gardening, which it turns out is everything.

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August 26, 2022 11 mins

My son is leaving for his freshman year of college in a week and I am feeling maudlin. I listened to this show I made years ago and it made me feel better. So before August is really, really over, here are the kids of Hospital Hill.

Description: The kids of Randolph, Vermont describe their neighborhood as a place with three purple houses. They tell me there’s a shortcut through the woods down to Dunkin’ Donuts, and they say it’s pre...

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August 15, 2022 19 mins

Leland is my neighbor and for the last seven years, we’ve been getting together in the spring to talk about his year, and things like God and space and pork shortages. This year Leland graduated from high school and I figured it was time to hear pieces from all of the years with Leland, all together, and all at once.

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July 27, 2022 9 mins

A couple weeks ago on Hardwick's Front Porch Forum, someone called Tiana asked if there was anyone who could help her with her hair and makeup for an important date with her boyfriend. Front Porch Forum is an online, daily community forum, which is like a bulletin board at a local general store. You can find secondhand tires there. Or read complaints about the Selectboard. Every Vermont town’s got a Front Porch Forum and you have t...

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