Getting There from Here
by Brendan Smith
When I first moved to New Hampshire
from New York I was told the old adage:
"You can't get there from here."
Over the 20 years I've lived here I believed this to be true. I never thought I
could get "there." I wasn't even sure where it was. I didn't even know anyone
who'd been "there" or anyone that could tell me what it looked like.
At first I used to think that maybe I couldn't get "there" from here because here
was "there." But that seemed too obvious. It was apparently the easy way out.
I thought that everyone was pulling my leg. I thought that most people could
get "there" from here and more than likely people were getting there from here
on a regular basis. Getting there from here was as easy as "falling off a log."
(Another expression I 'd heard. It never seemed natural to me, after all why
would anyone be standing on a log in the first place?)
Once in a awhile I'd sit in my car, engine idling, waiting for someone to drive by
who looked like they might be trying to get "there" from here. I'd follow them
for a few miles to find out that they weren't going "there."
Sometimes, after a couple of microbrews I'd hear someone saying that they were
going "there" from here and they'd leave where they were, throwing a casual
glance at me over their shoulder, knowing that I couldn't follow because, well,
I'd had a few microbrews.
I even went on the Internet to one of those map pages. I clicked in my present
destination as "here" and where I was going as "there" and when I clicked enter
"You can't get there" Popped up. I began to think it was a conspiracy.
I went to see an old friend of mine who I have been visiting for years whenever I
needed answers to some of my questions concerning living here in New
Hampshire. He's a native and has been very helpful. Unfortunately it’s
sometime is a bit of a communication problem between us. I went to see him
about this "getting there from here" issue.
"I need help, old friend," I said. "I need to know where ‘there’ is."
"Yes, where is ‘there’?"
"It's down in the Merrimack Valley."
“That's where ‘there’ is?"
No, that's where Weare is."
He looked tired so I went home.
I even went on that local message board on the Internet and asked the question
"Does anyone know how to get there from here." But the discussion quickly
turned, somehow, into a tirade about the increasing presence of lagastinos in
lobster rolls and skyrocketing property taxes and that it was all the fault of
people from Massachusetts ... don't ask me why ... I'm still trying to figure that
One day last week I decided that I was going to drive until I got "there." I had
an idea which direction it might be so I started that way. I drove for hours: over
highways and dirt roads, through towns I had only heard about but had never
seen (much less pronounce correctly). I drove through the night into early the
next morning, never giving up my quest to find out if one could get "there" from
I knew I might not be the first, but that didn't matter to me. It wasn't about ego; it
was simply an adventure of exploration and knowledge.
It was early the next afternoon when I knew I was close. I could sense the look of
concern on the faces of the natives as I drove by. They in turn, I knew, could
smell my Flatlander essence. But I was ready. I was so close to "there" I could
I turned the last corner and made my final approach. A small metal fence
surrounded it. There was "there."
I got out of my car, sweat of anticipation oozing from every pore. I walked to the
fence knowing I was where not many had been before. I took a few more steps.
There was a small sign.
"Closed for the Season."
I got back in my car. I'd have to wait until at least the Fourth of July.
About the Author: Brendan Smith was born and raised on Long Island, NY and moved
to New Hampshire in 1985. His first ten years were spent adjusting to being a