Franconia, New Hampshire

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

I had a theory just before I left for this project that you can tell how much pride people have in their state based on how many times you see a state’s outline on signs or things in the shape of the state. For instance, in Texas, you see the state on highway signs, you can buy Texas-shaped cookies and Texas-shaped soaps.

I didn’t notice too many these outlines of the first three days through three states until I got to Maine and Mainers happen to have a lot of pride.

New Hampshire’s obsession is not their state’s outline. Their highway signs, license plates, and even their statehood quarter features the profile Old Man of the Mountain, which I think is ridiculous.

A long time ago, a guy noticed that a rock cliff looked like an old man when standing at a certain angle, and years since, the state’s celebrated the guy ever since. When the cliff was in peril of falling off, there was a big effort to fight Mother Nature and save it using nuts and bolts. Unfortunately, it couldn’t last and the people built a memorial for him.

When I got to the park, an old couple was figuring out the memorial’s installation where you can stand at a designated spot and bring the Old Man back to the mountain. They asked me to take a photograph of them that’s just like the one they took years ago when they used to come here often.

And maybe that’s why New Hampshirites loved this old man so much, because like the old men in our society, we often use them as an excuse for the things we do, from farting in public and blaming it on them to convincing our darling to start a family because our old man wants to be a grandfather. This Old Man was always there when you needed him.

So maybe I’m the one that is ridiculous.