Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Above The Notch

I'm going Above The Notch, tomorrow, into the deeper cold.  Those of you who aren't from 'round heah would probably like that little bit of insider's information that natives know.  Above The Notch (mostly meaning Franconia Notch, where the Old Man Of The Mountains was, though Crawford Notch is roughly parallel and nearly as famous, being just above Mt Washington) is both a geographic and a cultural designation.  I expect most states have these, though only Michigan's Upper Peninsula comes to mind.  People are proud to come from there, and have a defensiveness about it that is supposed to be picturesque, or something.

I have never found it to be so.  I wrote about the area over a year ago when I went up to Lost Nation, and I don't dislike it nor its people.  Yet neither do I find that they have some epitome of Yankee values, nor a crusty charm it is important to get to know.  Lumbering and timber, and even more the various threads of tourism, especially winter tourism, is what they do.  It is 5-20 degrees colder year-round, because the White Mountains influence warmer southern air out and hold colder northern air in.  The mighty Connecticut River is nearly a brook up there, and people hardly notice that border against Vermont's similar Northeast Kingdom.

If you can find a good job somewhere else, you probably should.  The small but increasing number of people whose work allows them to live anywhere will like the prices for real estate, but you'd still have to send your kids to Groveton for highschool.

Story:  In the 1980's Colebrook High has a 7-foot center on its basketball team.  In Class S, where all the schools have 80-150 students, that was good for a state championship three years running.  When my son was playing against those schools in the 90's, I asked about that and had his brother, the opposing coach, pointed out to me.  He was 6-8.  In Class S, you usually have to play center if you are 6-4. 


Anonymous said...

This, from an old book of my dad's:

When we told you minus twenty
Here this morning, that seemed plenty.
We were trying to be modest
(Said he spitting in the sawdust),
And moreover did our guessing
By the kitchen stove while dressing.
Come to dress and make a sortie,
What we found was minus forty.

Franconia, N.H.

-- Robert Frost, about 1916

(This didn't make it into Frost's Complete Poems, apparently because it was part of a letter to friends.)

Assistant Village Idiot said...

When I read the lines

"We were trying to be modest
(Said he spitting in the sawdust)"

I immediately thought of Frost. But the following lines, rhyming guessing with dressing - and badly - caused me to think again. Your parenthetical remark clears that up. It's Frost, but he knew it wasn't good enough in its whole.