Pardon me if I yawn during this article. I promise it’s not due to boredom, but exhaustion.
I returned on Tuesday afternoon from an impromptu trip to New Hampshire to see my sister. I had the opportunity to meet a long lost relative who was flying to the East coast so I decided to make the trek. Thankfully my sister (who not only learned via email that I was planning on visiting but also planned on staying at her house) welcomed me with open arms.
When things are going well with family, it just can’t be beat. My 11-year-old niece had her room cleaned and ready for Aunt Robin to stay in – don’t even waste a breath offering to sleep on the couch. My sister, husband and daughter live on a 17-acre farm in Newington, a lovely town near Portsmouth that is rich in history.
So unlike California, Newington homes sit on large lots of green grass where properties melt into one another – no fence to define property lines. Across from their place is the First Congregational Church and Cemetery, a cemetery with tall headstones like you see in the movies. The property also features the oldest meetinghouse in New Hampshire. I’ve been there closer to the holidays when wild turkeys can be seen hopping over the low stone wall.
Next door is Langdon Library – established in 1893 – where I headed on Saturday to hook up to the WiFi. Unlike conventional libraries where “Shhhh” is the language of the day, stepping into Langdon Library was like walking into a coffee clutch. Apparently some work had recently been completed at the library and folks were drifting in to admire it. The librarian welcomed just about everyone by name and would sit and gab about things going on around town. To tell the truth, it was reminiscent of many of the shops and restaurants around the Crescenta Valley.
Down the road just a bit is the oldest forest in the United States, established in 1710. A historical marker has been erected that tells visitors of the significance of the forest. At the end of the cul-de-sac and across the road is the former Pease Air Force Base. Recently it hosted an air show that featured the Blue Angels.
After settling in, my sister, her husband and I made our way to the horseshoe pits they had installed. I’ve never played horseshoes (and it showed) but it was wonderful being outdoors throwing the shoes. After dinner it was time to take on the dartboard. Once again, I was absolutely no competition. At least they didn’t make fun of the way I tossed the little missiles.
One night my ears perked up as a night of bowling was suggested. Aha! Now we were talking. I have been bowling for years. Now, I thought I would finally have a victory.
Off we went to nearby Portsmouth to the Bowl A Rama, a grin on my face. The facility was tip top, clean and ready for bowlers. After grabbing our shoes, we made our way to the lane.
But a surprise was waiting for me. Sitting in the ball return were these tiny little balls, not the big 10 and 11 pounders that I was accustomed to. And sitting at the end of the lane were tall, skinny pins that looked like candles. Yes, the infamous candle pin bowling of which I had only heard of while living in California was alive and well on the East coast. Needless to say, my score of 72 wasn’t exactly stellar.
But I drowned my sorrows in a boiling pot of lobsters – another East coast tradition. Unlike lobster tails that are pretty much all that is found here, entire lobsters can be found swimming in tanks in the supermarket in Newington.
The good news is that my sister is coming out this week for a few days. I may just have to take her down to Jewel City Bowl and show her a thing or two.
Robin Goldsworthy is the publisher of the Crescenta Valley Weekly. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 248-2740.