The Eighth Page

The Hampsha’ Way: Life on the Old Frontier

Where is there a stretch of highway where you’ll find a nudist park, a drag way and a wine vineyard all in the same mile? Where can you attend high school and not have to worry about expensive day care costs? Where can you find the largest display of Ford F-150’s in the world? The only state lame enough to be known for a kind of rock: New Hampshire. As a resident of the state I can say that we do, incredibly, have a few things going for us. For instance: A) We’ve got the Primaries Perhaps the only thing our state is known for, with the exception of having lots of white people, are the primaries. Going to the Granite State can be a true test of dedication for any presidential hopeful, simply because finding all 15 people who live in New Hampshire can be difficult, perhaps even tedious. Many candidates have just given up on New Hampshire for one simple reason: everybody seems to vote for Bubba the Plow Driver. I decided to ask why. I encountered a man walking his son to school, and after he explained to us that they were both in the first grade, he exclaimed, “I done go up to Bubba and I done say, ‘Shucks Bubba, you ain’t no race cah drivah!’ Den he comesuh up to me and say, ‘Well I shore ain’t no race cah drivah, ummah drivin’ da plow!’ I’ll tell you what, it was wunnah dem funniah things I evah did see!” So apparently, everyone thinks Bubba is Jeff Gordon. One place where Bubba is especially popular is Hart’s Location, a town roughly the size of this newspaper in the northern section of the state. It has the distinction of being the first town in America to vote in the general election. At midnight of Election Day, each resident of the town congregates in the town hall, which doubles as a gutted U-Haul. A shrine dedicated to Larry the Cable Guy is the primary fixture of the town hall, and next to it are three old port-a-potties/voting booths, where the very first presidential votes in America are cast. Isn’t it great to know that in that very spot, the foundations of American democracy began? Awesome. B) We ain’t Vermont. Or Maine. Unlike some of these other states that make “tourism revenue” and have “attractions” that people take “pictures” of, we just aren’t known for anything. Other sparsely populated states have something people can identify the state with. For instance, Vermont has maple syrup, Maine has lobster, Idaho has potatoes and North Dakota has a 20:1 cow to person ratio. New Hampshire has nothing but a couple of big mountains and a really good college hockey team. Especially after our former state icon, a rock that looks like a guy with a really pointy nose, crumbled to the ground. To attest to the fact that no one lives here, there were no witnesses. C) No taxes! Whoooo. Alert the media. Maybe this is why we have traffic jams outside our state liquor stores. But to be serious, having no taxes can be a luxury. I know that saving that extra buck can be the most gratifying experience of the day for a resident of New Hampshire (besides going cow tipping), and that extra dollar can be used to purchase other things necessary for life in the Granite State, like rifles, Jeff Foxworthy T-shirts, and Powerball tickets. D) We’ve got lots of trees! As the second most forested state behind our neighbor to the east, Maine, we have countless trees which add to the beauty of our state. However, this also means we have the second largest amount of crazy guys with chainsaws. E) Uhhhhh… F) That’s pretty much it. Life is simple in the Granite State, and I am questioned often as to how I live here without hanging myself. People ask, “Doesn’t driving a tractor on the highway get boring after a while?”, or “Isn’t there a better name for your dog then Tony Stewart?” The answer is no. Living here reminds me that there are some high-class folk who actually have jobs and make money and marry outside their own family. But I’d have it no other way.