Tales from the Dusty TrailSubmitted by Jane Aitken on Mon, 09/24/2007 - 19:28
Some of you will think this is a hokey story, but, it's what NH is all about. I can eat sushi all I want in Bedford, or travel back in time, if I choose, to where the land has not changed much in 100 years.
I know this story is a bit late, but I think it's worth telling. Sometimes the most surprising things happen on days that might otherwise seem humdrum.
This is what it's all about folks, finding others who think like we do. And it's a happy day when we do.
I headed up to the Belknap County GOP Picnic on September 8 in my pickup with my portable booth.
I turned onto the dirt road that ascended the mountain, and after my GPS gave up on the address, the road continued deep into the woods, higher into the hill, and I then came across a charming homemade sign that said "Nope, you are not lost. Keep on going over the bridge!" for those who may have wondered just where the heck they were.
I'd seen some Romney signs, lining the roadside on the outskirts of the various farmlands before this, so I knew I had to be close.
Whew! At last, I arrived at State Rep.Tobin's spread. And what a place it was...sorry that I did not take pictures.
It's an amazing farm in Sanbornton NH, tucked way up in the wooded hills, the residence at the top, with a sort of terraced affair, with barns and corrals and other operations going on at different levels. The picnic itself was under a tent in the sloping meadow below the residence, surrounded by a casual garden that held a breathtaking view of the mountains. Many of the picnic-goers, some quite elderly, were being shuttled up the hill from the 'parking lot' in a haywagon, pulled by a large tractor driven by the owner's daughter.
I parked and proceeded to lug my wares down to the exhibition area. It was a quiet function with the usual food and speeches from the candidates' representatives. I always forget that when I attend these functions that I might be asked to speak, so my heart was pounding as I waited my turn.
As I listened to the speaker for Mitt Romney it dawned on me that he was also a Congressman from Texas. Too bad he wasn't supporting Ron I thought. I wondered if sending him here was a calculated move on Romney's part to prove something to the grassroots Paul supporters of NH who usually dominate these events? Why else would a sitting Congressman come all the way up from Texas? His speech was the usual pitch for 'let's throw our support behind someone who can win'.
Later, after I'd spoken, the man came up to me quite unexpectedly and introduced himself as Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX). He shook my hand and said, "I'm Congressman Lamar Smith from Texas and I want you to know that Ron is a good man and a good friend." That was nice of him. Respect, I guess, in case I was wondering why he wasn't supporting Ron.
Later, to raise money for the organization, Rep. Tobin went into 'auctioneer' mode. I was impressed with the country talents of our citizen legislators, who are culled from the 'real' people in NH. Another State Rep in attendance was an official farrier, it was noted. In case you don't know what a farrier is, it's a person who is schooled in the science of shoeing horses...a rare thing these days. I doubt there are more than a dozen who possess this skill in NH.
At one point, they trotted out a cute pet donkey who was adorned with elephant ears!
So after a rather quiet day, and an extremely hot and muggy one at that, I was happy to pack up the truck and head back down the mountainside, enjoying the coolness of my truck's airconditioning. I was going rather fast, kicking up a lot of dust on the rocky road when lo and behold I spotted a tattered cardboard sign leaning against the mailbox post of a modest farmhouse that was close to the road but surrounded by vast amounts of rolling land. Why, I could have sworn I saw the words 'Ron Paul' written in thin black marker on that sign! Don't know what possessed me but I slid to a screeching halt, threw it in reverse, and backed up the hill to the driveway. I could now determine that the sign was a favorable one, so I decided I would be adventurous and knock on the door!
As I pulled into the driveway I could see a man in a hat with a younger couple and their child sitting in the yard inside a fenced area. They sort of looked at me strangely at first...then even more strangely when I hopped out of the truck and asked, would they like a real sign? I got no reaction but stares, so proceeded to walk up even closer when suddenly they all jumped up to greet me with big smiles on their faces. They'd seen my t-shirt and hat...
Seems the owner of the house thought I was a Romney intern coming for my signs. Apparently he'd thought it was a Romney-only event up the road, and was miffed that those signs were placed on his property without his permission. But when he saw it was a someone bearing Paul signs it was like old home day. The owner of the house was a long time follower of Dr. Paul as were the couple who were visiting him from out of state. They were absolutely thrilled to be given some signs. Now this farmer in Sanbornton, who is not on the internet, could know that he wasn't the only one.
We chatted about Ron Paul for a good 20 minutes and then they invited me to stay for a beer but I politely declined. I was so exhausted from the heat I didn't think it would be a good idea since I still had an hour's drive, but I was happy to have been able to provide them with some signs that could actually be seen. You might have thought I was Santa Claus they were so grateful. And I thought, I'm so glad I dared to stop!
The things you do for the candidate you love!