Here we are headed back North in a few short weeks and I am getting into that New England frame of mind. We look forward to seeing the Ranger team at West Hill Dam again as well as getting caught up with all of our regular visitors to the park both human and canine.. We’ve missed family and friends from the area and it will be so good to see them again. We miss the openness and the friendliness of our small town New England roots where four way stops mean someone will kindly wave you on if you have Florida plates. Maybe they are just practicing caution and self defense based on our Florida plates, but we chose to think they are being nice.
We have kept a New Hampshire 603 area code on our phone out of sheer convenience or some might say laziness. This means we occasionally get wrong numbers from people who live in New Hampshire. These are seldom short conversations. I don’t have it in me to just say, “Wrong number.” and then hang up. That’s just not New England friendly. Besides, it’s a small state and I probably know them or their neighbor or brother or aunt or someone close. Recently I spoke with a wrong number lady from Lisbon whose ride for her dialysis appointment was running late. She called to tell her sister in law that she was all plowed out and ready to be picked up, but evidently telling me was just as good. After chatting for awhile, we parted by agreeing that it had been a hard winter in New Hampshire and Spring would be mighty welcome. Not that I would know, living in Florida, but I didn’t have breathing room in the conversation to share that. She’s clearly been cooped up for some time and was looking forward to getting out of the house for a few hours of dialysis.
Today I was thinking about some of the quirks that I love about being back up north for the summer and how I’ve grown fond of living in Massachusetts for part of the year. I have some deep family history in the Milford area and running through my mind is the connection between some of the people we’ve met up there and some of my own quirky family. My Father was an outgoing guy and helpful to all in need. I couldn’t help but think of him in my pondering today. He was the kind of guy who always would stop what he was doing and lend a hand to whoever needed it. He had a big personality and was known by many of his friends as Big Ed.
Dad would have loved the local hardware store in Uxbridge. It reminds me of the old Grossman’s in Plymouth NH. Last summer, during my visits to this store in Uxbridge, I noticed that the local residents who shopped at Koopmans for their hardware needs were very outgoing and helpful too. Unlike Florida where you couldn’t get help in Home Depot if you fainted, Koopmans is a social club in comparison. In fact, it was seldom that I stopped in there but what somebody spoke up and offered me assistance whether they worked there or not. I think that’s a northern thing that is very endearing. When folks see a perplexed look on your face in the hardware store they are compelled to stop and help. Sometimes I was just trying to decide between Elmers and Gorilla glue, but inevitably someone would stop and weigh in on my decision with a story about their Uncle who glued his fingers to the handle of the wood axe by mistake with Gorilla glue. I like to benefit from the wisdom of others and I sure don’t want to glue my fingers to a wood axe. Being forewarned is a good thing.
My Yankee ponderings this morning made me think of my Mother too. I don’t look forward to being on high alert lookout for deer while driving in Massachusetts this summer. It’s something I give no thought to in Florida and my well honed antler instinct has faded away over the years. My eyes no longer flit back and forth when driving a back road at dusk. I have to remind myself that I know many folks who have had acquired the titled of Deerslayer unexpectedly on those windy back roads in New England. My own Mother has bragging rights for a bear that she hit last summer while out for groceries. I would have been in hysterics, but she called Arnie to tell him she had “a little excitement”. New Englanders are stoic and my Mother took the prize on that one!
Arnie and I have lived all over the place and our accents have sort of worn off over the years, homogenized by listening to many languages and accents and living multiculturally. But it a strange fact that as soon as we cross the Mass line, the New England accent kicks right back in and we settle into the vernacular. So it’s back to potholes, chilly nights, campfires, flannel shirts and, coffee from Dunkin Donuts and those loveable funny accents. We pack away the letter r for the summer and it
will all be wicked fun. Massachusetts here we come!