A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words …

… but sometimes it needs an introduction


North Monroe Cemetery, Monroe NH

I drive through Monroe at least once or twice a year because it’s on the way to my veterinarian in Vermont. Dr. Hyde has taken very good care of my dogs over the past 13 years and while he’s out of the way, I don’t mind the drive because it is one that doesn’t get old. Or change much.

Before I ever visited Monroe, I read about it on a list compiled by Steve Taylor, who was a newspaperman before he was the longtime commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture. Called 100 Things You Should Do To Know the Real New Hampshire, no. 10’s challenge on the list: Drive Route 135 from Woodsville north through Bath and Monroe for a glimpse of an unspoiled 1930s New Hampshire landscape. Being that I like things unspoiled in a landscape, I checked it off many years ago.

Monroe is hard by the Connecticut River; Route 135 bends and winds above it. It has dairy farms surrounded by wide open fields, family farms and, in season, probably more vegetable stands per mile than anywhere else. It’s also the home of Pete and Gerry’s Eggs. In the evening, deer venture into the fields. The sky can be a backdrop for a great blue heron or a bald eagle making its way across it.

I’ve passed by the North Monroe Church and cemetery countless times and today, I pulled over to shoot the tableau. As days go, certainly it was not the most photo friendly, but the scene spoke to me.

First pass through the photos … meh … but on the second pass, the bright colors of a new American flag stood out among the monuments spoke, I suspect because Memorial Day is next week. Over the years, when I was a newspaperman, I did stories and photos of the veterans who carefully placed new flags on the graves of veterans before them and this was a pleasant reminder of some of those assignments.

It also reminds me of Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. About this time in my senior year of high school about 100 years ago, I had the option of passing (and therefore graduating) British Lit via a series of multiple choice questions (wasn’t going to happen) or memorizing all 128 lines of the poem. Which I did. In one weekend.

The flag in this photo decorates the grave of Capt. Philip Paddleford.

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but sometimes it needs a brief introduction.



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