Day 14-2 Concord to Manchester
After we saw the Governor, Addy drove us back to Manchester. Griffin and I sat in the car looking out where we had walked. Where we had seen things from a slightly different perspective.
There was the river that we realized smelled a little different from those up north.
Over there was where I had found another penny(!) on the road.
Here was the gas station where we had stopped for a cold drink.
That’s where we fed the squirrel.
It was all there, a lovely moving scrapbook of our walk – our time together.
We made our way to the Puritan Backroom restaurant. The owner also knew about our walk and had invited us to have lunch there when we walked through Manchester. If you know anything about New Hampshire, you know about the Puritan Backroom. It’s a staple in the political scene. You’re not a candidate of anything unless you’ve had a meal at the Puritan.
Ever since we had gotten the invitation, Griffin and I were looking forward to this. My original plan to have their famous coconut chicken tenders along with a massive, equally famous, mudslide, became a bit tempered as I declined the mudslide for my Motrin soaked liver’s sake.
But both of us dug into the heaping plate of tenders in front of us.
It’s rare for anyone to finish a plate of tenders. I’d heard of many a college student who had ordered the chicken plate specifically to use the leftovers for the next 2 or 3 meals. Griffin and I weren’t all that hungry and there was no way we’d be able to finish. Just a few hours earlier we had eaten a large bagel breakfast sandwich. Our tummies had been content even before we had sat down for lunch.
And yet we ordered what we knew would be a lot of food.
It wasn’t that we weren’t doing a lot of walking. In fact in order to fit it all in today, we’d have to walk about 16 miles. That’s a good day of walking. But after having been so deprived of constant food for so long, we were abusing the convenience of it.
In our family, we use portions for food. You get a portion of meat, not an entire steak. On the rare occasions we have ice cream, you get a small bowl of it, just like everyone else. And when we have something like chips with a meal, you get a handful. No one in our house has ever sat in front of the TV eating from a bag of chips.
We don’t starve, we just try to watch how much we eat. You have to, when you have 8 people sitting down to the table.
When one of my sons went off to college – in the cafeteria for the first time, he had access to unlimited amounts of food. If he wanted a plate of French Fries or even second or thirds on the main dish, he helped himself. At his school, there was no limit on desserts, he could have as many as he wanted, virtually 24 hours a day.
Within two months, he had gained almost 20 pounds.
Excess creates excess.
Even though we weren’t that hungry, Griffin and I ate our fill. It was there, it was tasty. Why not? For two weeks we were of the belief that we had to eat when we had the chance. We hadn’t yet made the transition to the area of the state where there was plenty.
In the middle of our meal I got a phone call from a representative of U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s office. He had heard about the walk and had made plans to meet us somewhere in Manchester. Knowing that we were at the Puritan, he was waiting to meet with us outside.
Griffin and I went outside to meet the representative, Joe, a young man who worked in Sen. Ayotte’s New Hampshire office.
We talked about our walk, he told us he had had Lyme disease but that they had caught it early and he was okay. He then told us about a friend of his who was not. Joe listened to our stories. We told him about what we had learned about New Hampshire, the friends we had met.
“I would have loved to have done something like that.” He told us.
Joe handed over a folder stamped in gold with Sen. Ayotte’s name. Inside was a letter that read in part:
“Through your efforts, advocacy and determination, you have helped raise awareness of the effects of Lyme disease.
“We have come a long way, but we still have further to go in our fight against Lyme disease and its related arthritis and other orthopedic conditions. That is why I will continue to support Lyme disease research as we work to prevent and ease the complications of this disease. As we all know, the impact of this condition is felt not just by those who live with the disease, but also by their families and loved ones.”
Honored, Griffin and I gratefully accepted the letter.
“Oh and these are for you too from the Senator,” he said as he gave us two bottles of water and wished us well for the rest of our journey.
We didn’t do this walk for public acknowledgement. We did it to raise awareness of Lyme disease in a way that we thought we could by creating a challenge and then seeing if we could do it.
Griffin and I began to realize that our walk, our journey through uninhabited stretches of New Hampshire – this walk that had threatened to break us, but then at every turn built us back up with beauty, humor, and friendship had become something a little bit more.
Griffin and I had become ambassadors, not only of Lyme disease but of getting up and giving it a go.
Because, in the end it comes down to this: you simply don’t know what you can do if you don’t try.
(Here’s some information on why we took this trip.)
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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