And now for something completely different:
Some 40+ years ago, my brother asked me what it was like living in rural New Hampshire. Back when I was unable to find a teaching job in the Flatlands, I found a position in central NH, where I planned to stay for 2-3 years to gain the experience I needed to secure a position ‘down below.’ As it worked out, I have remained here for the past 43 years and have given up on returning and finding a job.
When he asked about life in NH, I summed up my existence by saying that if I wanted to buy a sweater, I certainly could. If I wanted a long-sleeve navy v-neck (which was what I wore back then), I would probably have to order it from a catalog (Sears, Montgomery-Ward, or J. C. Penney). Fast forward to today – some things are slow to change. There really are not a lot of choices for buying here. (I do have to say, however, the Internet changes everything.)
In a similar vein, there was one point where not long ago, I had been to three hardware stores, one car dealer, and talked to a locksmith (who didn’t follow-up on and return my call), and I am still without a spare key for my daughter’s car. The good news is that there is a dealer who can help me; the bad, the dealer’s an hour away – Road Trip! Little is near in NH.
Every so often, some need surfaces that reminds me I am still in rural NH, which isn’t a bad thing – there are just trade-offs. Within ten miles, there is a Walmart and good sized supermarket. I take trash weekly to the Transfer Station, which is fairly close. I have high-speed Internet and cable TV with 59 channels (of which I can actually get 57). Of those 57, there are perhaps 12 I like and actually watch. When I lived in and around Boston, I could eat out 24-hours a day. Here, there are not many restaurants and the sidewalks are pulled in early. In a recent visit to down below, there were more restaurants in one block than where I live and surrounding towns.
On the plus side, I have been literally two feet away from various Presidential candidates numerous times. It is said if you haven’t been to see one in person, it’s by choice. The good days are the best anywhere. The winters can be trying, but it’s all part of the package. We had one winter when day and night for three weeks, the temperature never went above zero. One winter we hit about 45 degrees below zero, and there have been winters with nothing more than a dusting of powdered sugar snow. One Mother’s Day, we had two feet of snow – it was gone the next day. This year has been a fairly gentle non-winter for the most part.My wife and I agree that we’ll take a good old-fashioned NH winter anytime over places where there are tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, etc.
When I got here, I was a flaming Liberal. I have since moved to the middle embracing some positions on each side. The state was mostly extremely Conservative with The Manchester Union Leader a powerful voice! I never thought I would live long enough to see a Democrat elected to any position let alone a woman! Recently, our Governor, Senators, and Representatives were all women with a mix of Democrats. Women won the state’s two Congressional seats. Women already held the state’s two Senate seats. New Hampshire was the first state in the nation’s history to send an all-female delegation to Washington. And the matriarchy does not end there. New Hampshire’s recent governors have been woman. So were the speaker of the State House and the chief justice of the State Supreme Court.
Many people are also among the best. Where I live, while many may not routinely offer help, in time of need, they can’t do enough.
I am lucky to be here.