When I woke the next morning, I already had an idea of my own. I wanted a way to say a final farewell to those I had met, and posted online that I was inviting any interested Free Staters to dinner. On rather short notice, the particulars were arranged for later that evening. In the meantime, I took another sightseeing drive of the surrounding area. I wanted to really take a good look at the community, and what it had to offer.
Keene is certainly a smaller town, so if big cities are your flavor, then perhaps you might find Concord or Manchester more appealing, but I would not be so quick to write Keene off the map. The area offers its share of urban comforts, along with a very friendly energetic community. All the people I encountered running or working in the local businesses were amiable folk--neither too hurried nor too lethargic. As Goldilocks said, they were just right.
In my perusal of local businesses I would tell them I was looking to move to the area and getting a feel for local shops. One business owner asked if I was a Free Stater. I said I was, and he told me that he was also involved in his own fashion. This caught me off-guard--in a good way!
While I was in his store, one of the more recognizable locals, who has a public access tv show, walked in. While there are plenty of Free Staters moving to New Hampshire, many of the people living there are already liberty-lovers--another reason New Hampshire was a good choice. This movement is real, and it’s about real people, who are making things happen every day--and it’s amazing [something more concrete--never tell the reader it's amazing: make him exclaim, "That's amazing!"] to see.
After a stop at a rest area that boasted a short hiking trail, it was time to return to town for the food and fellowship. I had no idea how many people might show up, but I knew it could be anywhere between zero and a hundred. The restaurant had a rather good deal on pizza, and even if more people arrived, it was the least I could do to demonstrate just how truly welcomed I felt during my visit.
About ten people showed up, most of whom I had already met, all of them Free Staters. It was a pleasant way to end my last night, and would make the long drive I faced the next day much more bearable.
After the dinner party ended, I said a few last goodbyes, and headed to the home of some activists who I had arranged to stay with on my final night. The night was capped with some wonderful political discussion and talk about future plans. The next morning, it was time to return home, and I truly did not want to leave. I actually kept stalling the inevitable departure and got on the road a little later than planned. There was a sadness about having to leave Keene, but with it came the knowledge that I would be returning, because I felt like this was where my home really should be.
The drive home was intense, taking nearly seventeen hours, and included more than one stop to rest. As I approached Kentucky, I felt I was farther away from home, rather than getting closer to it. Hopefully in the next few weeks, my big white Suburban will take me north once more, and I will hear my new friends and neighbors say, “Welcome home.”