The rain from Hurricane Kyle didn’t hit New Hampshire as hard as it did Maine this weekend, but it was pretty damp and overcast. At the Highland Center in Crawford Notch, the annual Arts in Education Conference sponsored by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts went on as scheduled, though the painters painted the mountains by looking out through the windows instead of standing in the meadow, and the dancers did most of their dancing inside, too.
John Rule and I stayed at our favorite place, Bartlett Inn, just a few miles south of the Highland Center. We like it because owners Nick and Miriam are so friendly, the cottages are so comfy and dogs are welcome. Bob, our terrier, doesn’t like us to leave him home. He and John took a hike while I ran a couple of workshops at the conference.
At the morning workshop on collecting oral histories, the room was a little small for the size of the group – 18 – so we crowded together. During introductions a man, “John” of the long gray beard, looked intently at the woman, “Pat” of the bright, expressive eyes, to his left. “Pat,” he said, “I believe we ballroom danced together in the sixth grade.”
“John,” she said, “I believe we did.”
Hmmmm. Perhaps this meeting was fate.
“Pat,” I said, “are you single?”
“Two years divorced,” she said. (I knew that already.)
Will romance bloom? Who knows? But later in the day, another participant told me witnessing the reunion of John and Pat was the highlight of her day.
Other highlights for me: Hearing Doctor Doug McVicar read Hawthorne’s short story “The Ambitious Guest” by candlelight to a rapt gathering of teachers and artists. The spooky story is based on the true tale of the Willey family, killed in an rock slide in 1829. The family heard the rocks coming and rushed from the house. Instead of finding safety, they found death waiting. All were killed, but the house remained untouched, the nine chairs gathered around the fireplace, knitting and books just where they family had left them. A ghostly scene. As Doug read, slides of the Willey House and the mountains appeared on the huge screen behind him. It was multimedia!
After Doug’s reading, I told a few lies, and Susie Burke and David Surrette
sang and played. Nobody does New England folk music better than Susie and David.
At the Sisters Restaurant, this sign spoke to how we roll in New Hampshire:
Judging from this view from the Sugar Hill Scenic Vista on the Kangamaugus Highway – locally known as the Kank – hot turkey sandwiches and fried clams will be served this Monday and Tuesday for sure. The foliage is not at peak, but those maple reds sure brightened the gloom cast by that pesky Kyle.