Hall presents novel virtually
Meredith Hall (Without A Map) visits Gibson’s Bookstore virtually on Sept. 14 at 7:15 p.m. to share her radiant debut novel, Beneficence, a study of love – both its gifts and its obligations – that will stay with readers long after the last page. With a rare tenderness and compassion, Beneficence illuminates the heart’s enduring covenants and compromises. Meredith will be joined in conversation by Wesley McNair at this special pre-publication day event.
When they meet in the 1930s, Doris and Tup’s love is immediate. They marry quickly and Doris commits to the only life Tup ever wanted: working the Senter family farm, where his parents and grandparents and great-grandparents are buried under the old pines. Their lives follow the calming rhythms of the land – chores in the cow barn, haying the fields, tending their gardens–and in this they find immeasurable joy.
Soon their first child, Sonny, is born and Doris and Tup understand they are blessed. More children arrive – precocious, large-hearted Dodie and quiet, devoted Beston – but Doris and Tup take nothing for granted. They are grateful every day for the grace of their deep bonds to each other, to their family, and to their bountiful land. As they hold fast to this contentment, Doris is uneasy, and confesses, “We can’t ever know what will come.”
When an unimaginable tragedy turns the family of five into a family of four, everything the Senters held faith in is shattered. The family is consumed by a dark shadow of grief and guilt. Slowly, the surviving Senters must find their way to forgiveness – of themselves and of each other.
Registration required at eventbrite.com/e/ 118221921951.
New art and classes at Kimball Jenkins
The first exhibit in the Carolyn Jenkins Gallery since March will be “Life’s Work” by Maundy Mitchell. The evocative series explores the evolution of trades and the link between societal views of jobs and identity. Workers from the USA, England, and France share their stories. Galleries are limited to 10 people at any time and masks are required. Gallery hours are Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Thursday, 2 to 7 p.m. A socially distant reception will be held Sept. 10, 5 to 7 p.m. We’ve come to a new appreciation for what is considered “essential work.” From mail carriers, to grocery store workers, to the work that brings you happiness and purpose.
Classes will resume on Sept. 21. Get back to what you love or challenge yourself with a new skill. Come to campus and be social while distant in 16 classes for teens and adults running this fall. All participants will be required to wear masks during class times. Classes include printmaking, watercolor, acrylic and oil painting, ceramics and drawing.
A New Hampshire tale is shared
Journalist and author Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling visits Gibson’s Bookstore virtually on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. to present his new book, A Libertarian Walks Into A Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (And Some Bears), in which he details the true story of how Grafton became the location of a Libertarian plan to civically take over a small town … until bears derailed their plans. Hongoltz-Hetling will be joined in conversation by Gloria Dickie, a freelance journalist specializing in environmental reportage, whose forthcoming book examines human relationships with the eight bear species of the world (coming 2021).
Once upon a time, a group of libertarians got together and hatched one of the most ambitious social experiments in modern American history — the so-called Free Town Project: a plan to take over an American town and completely eliminate its government. In 2004, they set their sights on Grafton, New Hampshire, a flyspeck town with only one paved road, buried in the woods of New Hampshire’s western fringe.
When freedom-focused libertarians across the U.S., from as far as California to as near as Massachusetts, descended on Grafton, state and federal laws became meek suggestions. Soon the wilderness-thick town lost public funding for pretty much everything: fire department, the schoolhouse, library, and perhaps most importantly wildlife services. As the people were ignoring laws and regulations on hunting and food disposal, their newly formed off-the-grid tent city caught the attention of some unruly neighbors: the bears.
Armed with a pen and journalist’s notebook, Hongoltz-Hetling — a seasoned journalist who has covered everything from Maine’s stately Governor’s Mansion to the mud hut of a witch doctor in Sierra Leone — was drawn to Grafton in hopes of uncovering the truth behind this fantastical tale of bear vs. libertarian. Hongoltz-Hetling details how this tiny town became a radical social experiment — until the bear attacks started. Along the way, he meets a band of interesting characters: Jessica Soule, a Vietnam-era veteran who became an acolyte of the controversial Rev. Sun Myung Moon; Adam Franz, a poker-playing communist who dreamed of founding a survivalist community; John Connell, a Massachusetts factory worker on a mission from God; and, of course, John Babiarz, the firefighter libertarian who opened Grafton’s doors to the Free Town Project and then spent the next decade trying to explain it to his non-Libertarian neighbors.
This book is a sometimes funny, sometimes frightening tale of what happens when a government disappears into the woods. Complete with gunplay, adventure, and backstabbing politicians, this is a quintessentially American story, a bearing of our national soul.
Registration required at eventbrite.com/e/ 119111458579.
Looking ahead to Christmas
The 35th annual Concord Christmas Tree Lighting will be held by tradition on Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving. The Concord Grange has supplied the colorful lights for the State House Plaza tree for 48 years along with lights for the smaller tree in Eagle Square which is dedicated to our Armed Forces who can’t be home for the holidays, and the 40-foot Blue Spruce tree on the Concord Heights, at the intersection of Loudon, Pembroke, and Airport Roads. The organizers are stressing people who plan to come must have their face masks and practice social distancing. This year’s tree on the Plaza is dedicated to the police, fire and the emergency medical services for the dedication, commitment, and response to victims of the COVID-19 virus. The events will begin at 3:40 p.m. with Bruce Locke of Pittsfield bringing his horse drawn wagon rides. He will have two wagons and will be limiting as to how many will ride at one time. The Carriage Shack Petting Zoo of Londonderry will return this year with animals in a pen on the State House Lawn inside the arch behind the Creche. The Concord Knights of Columbus No. 112 have completely refurbished the Creche which has been on the plaza for the holiday season for over 65 years. Concord Grange/Merrimack County Ponona Grange assumed responsibility for the Nativity Scene since 1975. The Concord Knights of Columbus joined with the Grange in 1978 to help place it on the plaza. This year a new trailer was purchased and the building completely rebuilt. This will be lighted for the season prior to the tree lighting. Brian Waldron and his band will be returning to play holiday music starting at 4 p.m. It is hoped he will be joined by Nazzie on the stage. There will be tentatively hot apple cider, hot coffee, hot chocolate available for donation for people to enjoy. The State Police will be collecting toys for the Toys for Tots campaign. Santa Claus will be brought to the plaza by 5:30 p.m. by the Concord Fire Department. This is a major event for all ages. It is a non-profit event with donations needed to help pay for the expenses. These include police coverage, fire dpeartment coverage, permits, music, horse drawn rides, petting zoo etc. A total of $10,000 is needed to pay for this event. Please send donations to the Concord Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration, P.O. Box 1482, Concord, NH 03302. To date, the Rowley Insurance Agency, Northeast Delta Dental, Swenson Granite, Merrimack County Savings Bank, Havenwood Heritage Heights have made contributions. If there is a need for a little bit of Christmas spirit, this is the year for that. It is hopeful the Skip Houe/Kevin Tucker Memorial Fireworks will light the skies over Concord once the Tree is lighted at 6 p.m. It is hopeful that WJYY will once again be the main sponsor. Please contact 496-2917 for information. There is a tax ID number available. More activities will be planned as donations are received.