Small Town Tip: Eyes and Ears Open

After nearly a year as a full-time resident in Wolfeboro, NH, it’s been quite an adjustment. With COVID-19, our new home became a bubble of safety as did everyone else’s. We have seen few of our friends and have rarely been in the community. Doug has hiked..and hiked; last summer, boating on beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee was our outlet. We both have worked from home and also for me at the Main Street shop where I’ve worked for fun since 2017. Our plans for weekend trips to discover pockets of New Hampshire and New England we’ve not explored yet – have been on hold. We have barely seen our family and most important, our son who remains healthy and employed, living in his apartment in New Jersey. As with most of us, getting vaccinated is a priority. New Hampshire is plodding along and my best guess is that maybe mid-spring it will be our turn to roll up our sleeves.

What’s Next?

We move forward; watching the seasons change and looking forward to spring after the melt and what’s affectionately known as “mud month.” We’ve been extremely lucky in that renovating the exterior of our home happened last fall. Now, it’s master bath renovation and in September, the main floor – a major project including a new kitchen – whuich will feel so amazing to have completed.

Living in a small town is an adventure. I have evolved into a person who understands that I have to adapt to the town – not the other way around. Town meetings, event committees, select board elections, community issues and more have become much more in focus than living in a large, metropolitan or suburban area. I can probably count on fewer than 10 fingers, the number of council meetings I attended in South Jersey; though I was quite involved in the township’s Green Team and other related events such as the Earth Festival.

I learned the hard way here – as a member of a Wolfeboro master plan committee that not everyone welcomes your time and talent with open arms. I faced a scathing verbal criticism from another member for an analysis the committee asked me to develop – and I was delighted to provide. A few other folks on the committee told me not to be dissuaded by that incident; my skin is thicker than that.

We have learned that it’s better to NOT weigh in on issues and certainly NOT confound rumors about this one or that one or this business or that business – without actually finding out the reality (or truth). While meeting with our kitchen designer, he mentioned he’d heard that a local business was going out of business. He also mentioned that sometimes competing businesses start rumors in order to get a leg up on the competition. That’s just sad – but true in a small town.

My reporter instincts have always served me well. Weeks ago, while continuing to occasionally watch the streamed church service of my choice here in town, my gut told me that the pastor seemed unsettled or upset. Turns out, the pastor is leaving the church for a job the pastor has coveted for some time. It’s all good – just to say that instincts are important to me here; AND I keep most thoughts to myself . The second you mention a feeling or thought to someone, it can spread like crazy in a small town. And it gets back to you

For now, we admire the view from our small mountain neighborhood; marvel at the frozen lakes and snow covered mountains while we hope for the “all clear” sign or get back to whatever new normal awaits us on the other side of COVID-19. And, I keep my eyes and ears open; try to smile and understand and continue to find my place in our small town.

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