Peter Garritano at the memorial service

Thomas Naylor woke up every morning thinking about how to make our little slice of the world a better place. He would often call or meet me for lunch so that he could tell me his latest idea, a word he said with a pronounced accent on the “i”. I often wondered if this was a Mississippi thing, he was the only person I ever knew from that part of the country. I enjoyed our talks and felt connected with him. Thomas never flaunted his impressive accomplishments. He always made me feel that even I could make a difference.

Thomas had ideas that often seemed farfetched but also simple, radical yet normal, destructive but peaceful. The things he proposed were never going to be easy. That’s why many of us loved to be around him. He challenged us, made us reach beyond our limits, and pushed us outside of our comfort zones.

I will never be able to write like Thomas, or have the optimism, passion, and drive that he had for his dream of a free Vermont but fortunately Thomas helped bring together a network of people who share his dream. My hope is that together we can continue to move toward a world no longer ruled by fear, greed, and stupidity.

Thomas wanted to die happy. Many of his latest pieces quoted French writer Albert Camus and mentioned this theme. His ideas and his passion made me happy and helped me cope in an absurd world that ultimately ends in the same way for all of us.

Even though I had only known Thomas for a few years I counted him as one of my closest friends. I could and would talk to him about anything, not just politics. He re-introduced me to Pink Floyd. I had never listened to the lyrics. He listened.

How I wish, how I wish he was here.

Peter Garritano