Spring is the busy season for storytellers, at least for this one. I’m jaunting all over the place this March and April — Antrim, Auburn, Boscawen, Manchester, Nashua, Center Harbor, North Conway. The tires on my Mini-Cooper are wearing down to nubs. But that’s just fine. Wherever I tell stories, stories come right back at me. My work is never done. If you can call it work. Which I don’t.
In Boscawen (where I grew up) we had a full house at the library. Rusty recalled a town meeting where the ownership and disposal of a building next to the church/town hall generated spirited discussion. Who actually owned the building — the church or the town? Dorothy Sanborn, one of the town mothers, had a strong opinion. (Dorothy was known for her strong opinions.) As did several others. Dorothy’s husband, Roger, one of the town fathers said not a word until the conflagration died down and it was decided the building should be demolished. Roger’s five-word contribution: “Who’s gonna own the hole?”
Bunny Randlett recalled growing up in Groveton. She and her cousin were playing in the sandpit by the railroad tracks. Train stopped unexpectedly for some repair or adjustment. Bunny’s cousin dared her to jump on. She did. And rode the train all the way to Berlin, standing on the little platform. She got in trouble for that. Her parents had to figure out a way to get her home. And they didn’t have a car.
Best quip of the night: “Bunny, why didn’t you just ride the train back?”
Doug got to talking about Bill Kidder who objected to the tearing down of a woodshed out behind the school. “That’s where Sally Bemis gave me my first kiss,” he said. Folks were unmoved. Seemed Sally Bemis gave out a lot of first kisses behind that woodshed in those days.
In Hanover, a lady told about a trip out west to Indiana. When asked by a waitress where she was from with her funny accent, she said, “New Hampshire.” The waitress was puzzled: “Where in Indiana is that?”
New favorite frugal Yankee town meeting story. In Randolph the legislative body voted to save money by replacing the town cruiser with a VW Rabbit.
“How’d that turn out?” I asked.
“Not so great. The chief of police was too fat to fit behind the wheel.”
I love this story about cussing. Dad was fed up with his little boy using bad language and said so. It had to stop. The little boy says, “Why can’t I cuss? Pastor does.” Dad said for the boy to listen very carefully in church next time and if the pastor did cuss, Dad would make the boy a whole fresh blueberry pie for lunch.
Church comes. Dad and boy listen. On the way out, Dad says: “I win the bet.”
Boy says, “No sir.” And quotes, “‘By god we live. By god we die’ By god you owe me a blueberry pie!”
And finally, Lisa e-mailed a story that warmed the cockles of my heart. She reads my picture book The Iciest Diciest Scariest Sled Ride Ever! to her nephew, Noah, when he visits. She said, “We have have a mother hen with four chicks and I told Noah he could name them. He decided on his own the little yellow one would be Patty P!” That’s one of the Icy characters. It was my privilege to meet Noah in Rye at a story session a few months back. Lisa says after she reads him the book “He always looks at your picture at the end and says ‘I know her!’” Yup, it’s all about connections. And by “it’s” I mean life.