August 17, 2001

New Hampshire - Day 2: Strawberry Hullers and "Oklahoma!"

-Saturday, July 21, 2001-

8 a.m.

I think that’s all the sleep I’ll get for now. I was just dreaming that I was writing down dreams, so now I’m not sure which parts were dreams and which parts were dreams about dreams.

1:10 p.m.

I saw my first general store today, and it was full of all sorts of interesting things. We were looking at some miniature mugs with names on them and talking about the fact that my name is never on any personalized items. These particular mugs had some very unusual names on them, and I spotted one that said “Daisy” on it.

“Daisy?” I said. “Who is named Daisy?”

A lady standing nearby overheard and joined our conversation. “My name is Daisy. What’s wrong with Daisy?”

I stammered and tried to back my way out of that one as soon as possible. I started to say that I have an unusual name that is never found on any such items, but she interrupted by demanding to know what was wrong with the name of Daisy. Leen stood a few feet away, in shock, and Sam tried to join in and help me out. And then the woman finally admitted that she was joking. No, her name really wasn’t Daisy. We had all fallen for it, and we were amazed that a complete stranger would pull such a prank on us and do it so effectively.

While at the general store, Sam bought 24 “Strawberry Hullers” to give out as weird presents at the RinkWorks convention. Apparently, these contraptions are used to pull the green part off strawberries, although I’m not sure why fingers can’t do the same job. The lady behind the counter thought we were odd but rang up the purchase, commenting on the fact that a Strawberry Huller is always a very useful thing to have. We got to the car and suddenly forgot what they were called, so I ran back into the store to check. The lady thought that was even more odd, but then she offered to write it down for me. I politely refused.

2:03 p.m.

I just saw a real traffic circle, or “Rotary,” as it’s called on the street sign. We stopped at a store to buy fudge for Leen, and the lady in the store was extremely nice. She was so concerned when she weighed the fudge and it wasn’t exactly right. “It’s only 1.49 pounds. Would you like to have a bite? I don’t want to rip people off.”

I keep saying, “Water!” when we pass pretty lakes, and Sam and Leen seem to be amused. I’m just not used to seeing so many lakes, pools, and little streams. California is too dry for such things.

The speed limit signs are slightly different than ours. In New Hampshire, they have two signs, one above the other. The top sign says the maximum speed (in most cases, 65 miles per hour) and the bottom one says the minimum speed (generally 45 miles per hour). In California, we only have the maximum speed signs, even though people can be ticketed for driving too slowly.

I’ve also made some other observations about signs. The bridges are all numbered, with little green signs indicating the bridge number. Another sign that amused me was one that said, “Blasting ahead. Expect delays.” Yes, I should think that blasting would cause some delays.

3:20 p.m.

We’re at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center visiting Sam’s mom now. I’ve been sitting outside in some shade, alternating between writing and looking around me. It’s so very peaceful here, and it’s such a nice contrast to Sacramento.

-Sunday, July 22, 2001-

1:15 a.m.

I’m exhausted, and we got home shortly before 1 a.m. after driving all over the place.

At 5 p.m. we went to Friendly’s for dinner. On the way there, Sam was building up their reputation for being notoriously slow and quite unfriendly. However, our service was pretty good, and Sam said he’d have to do better by finding worse service next time. He and Leen tried dipping fries in ranch dressing, but neither of them liked it very much.

We finished eating and went to a previously agreed-upon location to meet Jake, Sam’s brother. We got there a little bit early, but at 6:32, Darleen spotted Jake’s car outside and they introduced me. Then all four of us headed to an old opera house there in Lebanon to see a local production of “Oklahoma!”

After hearing bits of stories about Jake, I was finally able to match the stories with a real person. He’s the type who could probably strike up a conversation with anybody, so I had no problem talking to him.

The chairs in the newly-renovated opera house were extremely cramped, but the musical was a lot of fun. It started at 7:30 but didn’t actually get underway until 7:45. It was the closing night of the first production since the opera house had been renovated. That apparently meant that thanks must be given to various groups who had helped with the renovations. Sam counted, and the audience had politely clapped 10 times before the production even started. Overall, the musical was very enjoyable.

Photo: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire

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