I just took a drive down what for me is the most beautiful road in the world, New Hampshire Route 153. For some it’s the road to Freedom (about four miles south of Eaton) but for me it’s the road to South Conway, where I have traveled for more than 50 years.
We had a wonderful memorial service for my mom in Tamworth on Saturday for all her friends in the Mt. Washington Valley. On Sunday we went to the family home in South Conway to look over and start thinking about what we’re going to do with Sally’s books and papers and other family stuff.
I took a kind of preliminary inventory of Sally’s books and papers, found some priceless mementoes and set off down Route 153. It was a beautiful fall day with not a cloud in the sky.
I stopped to say hi to her pal Phil at the Eaton Store — he’s a big Boston College guy and she taught there — and then drove on past the beautiful little Eaton Church, past the place that used to have the sign we always noticed that said “Rideing.”
Past Round Pond where my dad and I caught a huge trout on a fish eye, and Long Pond, where I foolishly went fishing on an island barefoot and cut my foot open on a broken bottle and was rescued by a former Navy medic who dressed my foot and took me to the hospital.
Past the chain of ponds that make up Purity Springs Resort in East Madison, where many families have been going for more than forty years, a place where time has stood still.
Past a little stand in Effingham where I remember buying my daughter Sarah an ice cream cone when she was a little girl.
Then I turned onto Route 25 in Ossippee where Sarah and I collided with and killed a mother bear — five feet tall, 350 pounds of solid muscle. Some guy stopped and helped straighten out my bumper so I could drive on, so I gave him the bear. What would I have done with it after all?
Then down Route 16 to the Ocean Job Lot discount store Sarah and I always stop at which we call Oceans Eleven, then onto Route 28 past Small World Miniatures, where they have everything for your doll house, including tiny dart boards and tiny money and even — get this — tiny toilets.
On down Route 28 past Chiang Kai Shek’s old sumer place and the the WWII museum with the tank busting through the brick wall, past the giant pet cemetery in Alton Bay to the Epsom Circle where the clever Indian guy patched our tire, to Concord, where I worked in the State House…
You build up a lot of memories over 50 years and I was taking them in for maybe the last time. I didn’t feel like taking pictures. I believe I can remember them well enough.