Monday, October 24, 2011

If You Want to Know What the Word Free Means, Ask Someone From New Hampshire

The people of New Hampshire really take their motto seriously."Live Free or Die" is on every license plate I see and putting all the political and historical meanings aside, I'd like to just share my observation of the people I have lived amongst this summer.
Generally speaking, New Hampshire folk are very practical. They hate waste and like to share. They are not about excess but they are all about frugality.They chop wood for the winter, which is long and cold, they put by food from their gardens to have during those long cold days and they know what to do when the power goes out. They hike and swim and walk and make things. They know their neighbors and help each other out if someone needs a ride or something picked up from the stores which are 8 miles away. The take pride in their homes which are pristine and well loved and they don't mind the quiet or the solitude, in fact they thrive on it.
One phenomenon that I wish more people would adopt was the concept of giving away things you don't need anymore. The town dump has what they call a "Swap Shop". One can bring any item in reasonable condition to donate to the shop and in turn you can help yourself to anything you can find. I was amazed at the wonderful treasures I picked up there this summer all of which went to good homes! It doesn't stop there.Many times while driving the country roads I would come upon a table with a sign simply reading "free". Sometimes there were household items or fruits and veggies or plants, ball jars, name it. If someone had tons of apples you could come pick what you needed, or hydrangeas for your centerpieces or old curtains  or any number of things that you could borrow instead of buy.
I learned a lot form living in this small rural community. As hard as it was to be new and not know anyone I never felt like an outsider. I learned to appreciate all that I have and know that if I never went to another mall in my life I would survive. I am sad to leave but like all things there is a cycle. Winter is growing close and I am heading back west to warmer climates. I know I bring with me wonderful memories and look forward to learning more from some truly unique and interesting people. Thanks New Hampshire!