Sunday, June 13, 2010

Live Free, New Hampshire

Today's front page of the Boston Globe has an article on the branding of New Hampshire (featuring photos of Portsmouth, naturally). Since our big stone face fell down, apparently there have been some problems coming up with icons and slogans that capture capture the essence of New Hampshire.

Vermont has its cows, farmers, and hippies. Maine has the coastline and Lobsters. Massachusetts has it's history and dynasties. New Hampshire has a little of all of that, but less that is distinctly its own. When the West Wing was on the air New Hampshire native President Bartlet was always in search of New Hampshire maple syrup. We can relate.

The Floridian firm that has been tasked with the re-branding effort is steering clear of the state slogan: Live Free or Die. "We're not touching that." And that is why they fail.

The one thing that unifies us as a state is our willingness to deploy our motto at every opportunity and for every purpose. It's an echo of our patriotic past and present. We're a state with no sales tax, no income tax, no motorcycle helmets, gay marriage and plenty of firearms and fireworks. We have beautiful mountains, trails, ski slopes, and historical areas. And we have industry and entrepreneurial spirit. There's opportunity here. People have the means to enjoy it all and there's much to enjoy. New Hampshire is also famous for its importance in primary politics. But its citizens are fundamentally skeptical and unpredictable.

Our independence is our unifying theme.

Live free, New Hampshire. There is no alternative.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

On the Bright Side

Last Thursday my parents came to town to see Isaac's 4th grade track meet. It's about a 3 hour  trip from their place in Vermont to Portsmouth. I've yet to witness one of these meets myself. But I understand my son's contribution is a minute or two of middle-of-the-pack jogging and jumping. Under the best of circumstances, the trip itself was a heroic act of grand-parental involvement. 

As it turned out, these were not the best of circumstances. The meet was rained out. There was no competitive elementary running to be witnessed. My parents joined my sister for a short shopping trip with a cranky and screaming baby. They joined us for a quick dinner. Then they got back on the road for the 3 hour return trip. 

On their way home, in the darkness on Vermont's route 2 their car hit a moose. The moose had been struck and killed by the car preceding them, totaling the car and moose. My parents ran into and over the large carcass lying in the road. They weren't hurt. Their car was not so fortunate.

The day after their 9 hour odyssey to witness an event that didn't take place - after a morning spent cleaning the blood and gore off their banged-up and undrivable car - Mom had this to report:

We are thankful that no one was hurt. The female driver of the first car (whose car was probably totalled) was much more interested in whether or not she could get the moose meat than she was about her car. That's Vermonters for you!

Sorry that you didn't get to see the moose... but believe me, it's not the best way to have a sighting.

Thanks for the fun day yesterday and the slice of life of each of your families. We loved it in spite of the rain, crying baby, and cancelled track meet!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

It was my birthday yesterday. 38. Birthdays are a good time to have a few drinks, sit back, and think about where you are and where you've come from- the years gone by and the ones that lie ahead. It's been a good year. It's been a good life.

I am one of the most fortunate people anywhere. Ever.

I have been blessed with the good fortune of being born, a human being, on this earth, in the United States of America. Today, in the year 2010, I find myself in world of privilege, opportunity, and material comfort. The world has provided an abundance of games and music, sights and sounds, wonderful people and fantastic foods. My daily cares and concerns are generally small and petty. Few of them are worth recounting. Most are easily resolved.

My job is lucrative enough to provide a comfortable life for my family. It is stimulating enough to be gratifying. My colleagues are pleasant and competent. My work keeps me busy but doesn't overwhelm my life - leaving me time to spend with family and pursue my interests, hobbies, and amusements.

Every year my two sons grow more interesting, more confident, and more independent. I see myself in them and see them growing into themselves. This is the 23rd birthday I've celebrated with my wonderful and lovely wife, Christine. That's a lot of years. But time has spared us the worst of its ravaging. With a little regular maintenance, we both carry our years well. I am fortunate to share my life with such a wonderful wife, mother and friend - someone who complements and supports me. I am blessed to have someone who tolerates my eccentricities, diversions, and perpetual distractions.

In the past year, thanks to the technological marvels of our time, I have been able to reconnect with a great many people. There are so many old friends, lost classmates, physically distant relatives, kindred spirits, and interesting souls met along the way. Maybe we get together once or twice over months and years. Many of you I had no expectation of ever hearing from again. Now, from afar, I get a rolling window into your world. I can see the snapshots of your life, share in your stories, banter a bit, and follow your ideas and interests.

This year also marked, for me, a return to writing. It has been a pleasure to take the thoughts rattling around my head and find a home for them. My natural state is introverted and standoffish. So I'm enjoying this little soapbox. I like being able to share my views with friends, acquaintances, and a few strangers. I appreciate you for taking the time to consider my musings.

The year to come holds great promise. Perhaps my little company stands on the financial success. Perhaps another long-held dream will bear some delightful fruit. Whatever comes, I will share it with wonderful family and friends.

It is a happy day. Thank you for being part of it.