We’re in a rain drought. But not a story drought. My goodness, they’re coming at me fast and furious. In the last three weeks I’ve told and collected stories in Lee (twice), Concord, Portsmouth, Greenland, Hillsboro, Greenville, Bradford, Waterville Valley, and Townsend, Massachusetts.
Every year, for the last several years, around this time I visit the Laconia Friendship Club at Levitt Park, hosted by the inimitable Betty Clark. She’s funny!
The challenge for me is to come up with new stories. Because they remember!
So I poked through the ones that fluttered to me in the last three weeks in search of something fresh. Here are a few of them, including a couple of humdingers.
Steve in Greenville spoke fondly of his great aunt, called NanDavis (all one word). NanDavis was in her late 80s, a strong, stubborn, independent yankee woman, living alone in her own house set back from the road and the rest of civilization. Every evening, Steve’s mom would give NanDavis a call to make sure she’d survived the day. NanDavis often let the phone ring many times before picking up, but this one evening it rang and rang and rang and Steve’s mom said, “Oh my god, I think something’s happened to NanDavis.” It rang a few more times, and NanDavis finally picked up. Out of breath.
Mom said, “What’s going on?”
NanDavis said a moose had come right up on her porch and was rubbing the velvet off its antlers on her uprights. She grabbed a broom and went out to dissuade him. He was almost as stubborn as she was, but eventually she drove him off. Damn moose.
Mom said, “NanDavis, are you all right?”
NanDavis said, “No! Not by a long shot. Broke my best broom.”
The delightful Hester, whom I met at the Bradford Senior Center, grew up in Georges Mills. She told about her aunt (I think it was her aunt) who, as a child, had thick curly hair. This aunt had two older sisters and a brother. One summer evening the older kids came up with an idea. They caught a bunch of fireflies, inserted them into their little sister’s hair, and paraded her around the village, house to house. “Look,” they said, “Floy lights up.”
Hester said her aunt didn’t recall the incident specifically, though the older kids did, “But to her dying day she never liked anybody touching her hair.”
Hester also recalled a contest where she and her siblings were to scoop up as many caterpillar nests as they could and put them in the wood stove. Only thing was, Mother never lit the stove. Time passed. And one morning the kitchen was filled with crawlies.
Connie remembered her father, a farmer, saying of the hired man: “I taught him everything I know and he still don’t know nothin’.”
Ain’t that always the way?
Happy almost October. Hope rain falls soon and lots of it.