Townies Know Best (Part Two)

Wait—there was a Part One?

You betcha’!

A month ago, I resolved myself to delineating the unique—and often underappreciated—knowledge of New Hampshire’s best townies, and I worked to explain our townies’ roles as vital historians, consummate networkers, and inestimable contributors in their communities.

You can check out the first half of this list here.

So, what did I leave out? Let’s see…

They know the other side

Don’t assume a townie has never left his or her hometown before. The addresses on our drivers’ licenses don’t tell our stories—we do! And those stories may have delivered us to the other side of the country or to the other side of the globe, before we chose to return home.

So, why did we turn the page on our lives elsewhere? Because we surrendered humbly to that enduring adage: the grass isn’t always greener.

I teach high school students in my hometown of Laconia, NH. When I ask them, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” students often envision a life somewhere else—“anywhere else,” they might say. But can I blame them? That same pervasive force once compelled me to travel.

But it was only from afar that I could perceive my hometown’s promise: its idyllic scenery, its professional opportunities, and its collective personality.

Townies, like me, have acquired an appreciation for their communities, which regular transplants (and high school students!) may never fully comprehend.

They know the conversational roadmaps

Believe it or not, the best townies can navigate the most sensitive conversations with enviable adroitness, and here’s why:

Because so many of their personal and professional relationships are products of proximity, the best townies can instantaneously reconcile their own points of view with others’—even those diametrically opposed to their own.

Unlike the bubbles of the big city or the beltway, our hometowns in New Hampshire are politically diverse. (Just recall the last Presidential election, if you don’t believe me.) The best townies don’t approach conversational intersections with an arrogant recklessness; they, instead, decelerate with a heightened humility.

And an obvious remark about the Red Sox or the Patriots is never a wrong turn!

They know a place’s character—personally

The dilapidated barn at the crest of a hill; the dizzying traffic circle in the city’s square; the hand-painted mascot on the elementary school’s mural—whatever the defining scenery of your hometown may be, its ascetic value is probably lost on out-of-towners.

For me, it’s the Weirs Beach Sign. It’s a slice of Americana. Originally constructed in the 1950s, the sign is illuminated by nearly seven hundred blinking light bulbs. It’s a homage to our boardwalk’s heyday, and yet, its glow persists.

So, why does this sign evoke such warm feelings of affinity in me? In other words, what do townies and their beloved landmarks have in common?

In the context of popular culture, townies may not fit in. We’re not reality TV stars or Instagram-famous teenagers; we’re police officers, nurses, entrepreneurs, and volunteers. And just like those odd landmarks, we embody—ineffably—the celebrated character of our hometowns.

There, you have it: the list of unique insights that sets us apart. So, let’s acknowledge finally and apply consciously this knowledge, as we serve our respective communities.

(Because, as you know, townies are wicked smah’t!)

If you or someone you know would like to be profiled, then contact me at townies@stayworkplay.org. Let’s continue to celebrate our living New Hampshire!

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