Coming Home

Posted on July 17, 2015

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I escaped the incarceration of my Seattle suburb where the 4th of July seems to be all about people bitching about their neighbors on Facebook to head back to NH where all of those differences would solved by actually talking to them. NH has implemented this very cool thing where I can print my license and go fishing in like 5 minutes. Unfortunately, my parents printer was out (the bane of printer drivers in the 21st Century…), so I headed over I had to go two towns over to the little old-fashioned hardware store that sits on piers in the river to get my fishing license.

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I’ve maybe been in this store 5x in 10 years, always to get my license and maybe a few flies and some intel. While Bill, the owner, is running the license I go over to the fly display with hand-typed labels that is literally older than me, some of the flies have turned to dust and it smells of mothballs when you open it, and say “I must’ve about bought you out by now.” “Oh, I ordered some Hornbergs” he says, and there in the display, the only new flies he carries, are 4 dozen Hornbergs in 3 different sizes – for $.99 each! How is that for customer service? My Hornberg box is full. Now I finally really feel I’ve come home. (Although I really wish next year he’d replace those Mickey Finns and Grey Ghosts for me ;-))

After I took my 4 dozen.

After I took my 4 dozen.

Later, when I stopped by my friend Bob Grevior’s to talk fishing and mentioned the Hornberg surplus right up the street he said he would be there right after work. I knew that, that’s why I didn’t buy them all.

The sports section.

The sports section.

Like all of the gritty little mill towns along the Merrimack, Tilton is a hulk of what it once was, and any recessitative beeps died when they ripped the life support chords out by building outlet malls by the freeway on the outskirts of town, housing both a Home Depot and a Lowe’s. But Billy understands the difference between a customer, somebody who’s money you take one time,  and a business relationship, somebody whom you do business with for a lifetime.  And isn’t that what makes a locale into a home – the relationships you have there? Besides, as crammed full as the place is, I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t carry more SKUs than a box store. A woman came in while I was there looking for salt shaker tops and they had so many she had to go home for the shaker to make sure she had the right one! Salt shaker tops. I had no idea.

So if you are fishing in the Lakes District in NH, stop by the Bryant & Lawrence True Value to get your license and inquire about your favorite fly pattern. He may not have your flies this year, but he will probably have them the next time you come back.  And, you may just make a friend.

Bill is your friend!

Bill is your friend!

P.S.

The next day in Franklin, my dad and I went to the opening day of the farmers’ market. As we were walking by the bakery the woman called out to my dad. He walked over to say “hi” and asked about her Asiago hamburger rolls. She smiled, and said “I thought you might come by, so I made one bag, just for you,” reached under the table and pulled them out. Remember, farmers’ market has been closed for 8 months.  I know for a fact that my dad does not need hamburger rolls, but you can bet he got them anyway.  It’s nice to be home.

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