Thankfully we wear something under our kilts these days

Ian Guerin
Sep 24, 2018 · 4 min read

Champ —

I spent today in the beautiful state of New Hampshire. Live free or die! As they say.

I drove the length of the Kancamagus Highway (part of a collection of beautiful scenic byways that are sprinkled throughout the United States. The last I was on was the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Tennessee.

I stopped every so often to enjoy an expansive view of the White Mountain National Forest. I even sneaked in a couple mile hike as I was trying to figure out what to do with the little bit of extra time I’ve accrued.

I have a few certain meeting times this week, and so I’m not quite in an all out dash to head back to Michigan, which is nice. It is a constant reminder to be patient, pace myself, and enjoy my last few states as if they were my first few.

Views from the brief stops on the highway

I thought of you, probably because the last time we got to hang out brother-brother-brother-brother was when you came to the US with your mom to watch William graduate from New Hampshire Community College Doctor School. What an incredible surprise.

I looked around, thinking I might cash in on my surprise Champ arrival, but you are nowhere to be found. So I drove on, thinking I might leave the pang of missing both of my doctor brothers in the rear view mirror.

No such luck.

White Mountains

When I reached the end of the Kancamagus Highway, I found the the city of Lincoln was having, as luck would have it, its final day of the Scottish Highland Games. As I said, I’m in no rush. So I parked, took a shuttle, coughed up the entry fee, and braced myself for some intense, albeit ridiculous, feats of strength. I saw the caber toss (giant men throwing telephone poles, no seriously…), and the loon stone carry (giant men walking as far as they can holding uneven sized boulders on the ends of chains weighing something like 550 pounds total), and the one where they throw a 60 pound mass over their heads, something like 12 feet into the air. I tell ya. It was an easy afternoon.

Some of the athletic events (amateur and professional)
An homage to our crazy Scottish mother

Men everywhere dressed in kilts, women in mini kilts (they just couldn’t let men have the fancy wear to themselves for a weekend). I wish I’d mine. What did Papa do with it, I wonder?

Of course, I thought of Grannie. And when I think of Grannie, I think of you. You exchange-studented your way into quite an interesting family dynamic when you studied abroad way back in 2006. I can’t imagine what it was like for an outsider, as tough as it was for me as an insider. You quickly learned both perspectives, though. Grannie didn’t let you escape as a stranger for long. Soon you endured the toasts to Scotland, and the Scottish beatdowns (like Connor will surely attest).

I sat watching this young lady, a drum major for one of the Scottish troops, direct this much older (mid-30s) lady in how to march like a drum major.

Pipes and drums!

Quick!

March!

I thought, my, it must be tough taking direction from a person so much younger. But she did, and she got better in the 30 minutes that the “Learn to” class encompassed.

As your younger brother when you went to school here, I think maybe it was because of that that it always felt like I was learning from you rather than the other way around. I wonder what it was like, trying to glean skills from William and I, as we are your younger brothers, and knew just about as much about American high schools as you did. That is to say, whatever television taught us.

I think I’m getting the hang of New Hampshire

Yours —

IAN

Noted:

  • I drove 115 miles today
  • I entered my 49th state, New Hampshire
  • Camping in National Forests is the way to go, parking lot camping sucks

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