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Country Lanes

October 15, 2012

New Hampshire – Saturday, Oct. 13

After nearly 2 weeks of not seeing much sun, it is out today and there is not a cloud in the sky! A beautiful fall Saturday. I stopped at Panera for a quick breakfast, and while I was paying, I noticed a flyer about the Anne-Marie House. When I got back in the car I read about it, and it’s a shelter in the area for families and they have nearly a 90% rate of “graduating families” getting back on their feet and being able to support themselves. The home was affiliated with a big church organization. So I called them up to see if anyone was there and if there were items in particular that they needed. Since it was a Saturday, a volunteer answered the phone – the regular staff who handles this sort of thing was not in. The volunteer didn’t really know of any specific necessities, so we decided I would get stuff like paper towels, kleenex, toilet paper, garbage bags etc that can always be used. I talked to a couple people and one of them made kind of a sad comment – he said it’s nice to get donations, and mentioned that after the holiday season, people tend to “forget” about these organizations – and I can see where that might be the case. There’s always a flurry of helping people less fortunate during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, but they need the help year-round! I found a Target store and did the shopping, then drove across NAshua to find the Anne-Marie House. It was actually located on some pretty church grounds – I drove by an imposing 4-story brick convent to get there. It was a big home and we got everything carried in, and then I emailed them to let them know about the donation because I don’t think we put things in the right places! I drove past the convent and parked in the equally big Catholic school parking lot to get Tula out for a short walk because it was a pretty area. We walked down the long drives of both the school building and the convent – both are big 4-story brick structures, and the convent had a really pretty dome on the top. I hardly saw anyone out and about – one nun sweeping and another out for a walk. But there was some activity going on at the school.

Then I set off for the southwest part of New Hampshire. AFter a bit of driving we stopped in the town of Jaffrey for a walk – there were a couple hundred homemeade scarecrows lining the streets all over town – I think there had been some kind of contest. Tula sniffed the first one and then ignored them.

The next “town” we stopped in was Fitzwilliam, which my Triple A book had said was a classic New England town. And it was very pretty, but mostly consisted of a couple white churches, some white homes with white fences and some town offices – no shops or anything. But there were pretty country lanes leading out from the center of town and Tula and I walked nearly 3 1/2 miles along a beautiful country lane in the fall – there were lots of old low stone fences, lots of leaves to scuffle through and pumpkins, and the smell of woodsmoke from people heating their homes. The stash of wood that is lined up by some of these homes for the winter months is amazing. It was very pretty.

And then we drove over to Rindge and saw pretty much the same thing, and took another long walk on a country lane. We also passed a surprisingly large cemetery and wanderd through that – it had both old tombstones, and recent ones. Again, we saw lots of old stone walls – sometimes they were the borders of pretty green pastures, and other times they were overgrown and crumbling a bit. They’re low and I don’t know what the original purpose would have been – I don’t think they’d have been high enough to keep animals in or out, or maybe it defined property boundaries, or maybe it was simply a place to put them as settlers were clearing land.

By this time, it was beginning to get dark, and when I was in Jaffrey, I had walked past a church advertising a community pig roast dinner tonight from 5-7. I wasn’t sure I could get back there in time, but I didn’t really have lunch and a church dinner sounded good! I got there with about 10 minutes to spare

, and they were just getting ready to start cleaning up – I was their last paying customer! But there was still plenty of food, and I got my dinner to go since I still had miles to cover (I didn’t eat in the car – it was in a heavy cardboard container that kept it warm!). It was a huge meal – the pork, a baked potato, an ear of good corn, applesauce, coleslaw and homemade apple pie. It was one of the best meals I’ve had on my journey!

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