Rebecca Rule

Rebecca Rule is a full-time writer, humorist, storyteller, host for ten years of the NH Authors Series on NHPTV, currently host of Our Hometown on NHPTV. The author of a dozen books for children and adults, her latest is That Reminds Me of a Funny Story: a memoir, how-to, and compendium of yankee humor. For New Hampshire Magazine she writes a monthly humor column called “Ayuh.” Her daughter, Adi Rule, is also a writer.

To Ski or Not to Ski — A Family Tradition
Like most New Hampshire kids I skied. Have mountains, will ski. My aunt and uncle, who loved skiing, paid for equipment, tickets, and lessons. The boots were huge and clunky with stiff metal buckles. I wore Auntie’s hand-me-down stirrup pants, puffy parka, and rabbit-fur hat with pom-pom ties without protest. I mastered the intricacies of the rope tow and T-bar, and even figured out how to exit the chairlift without incident and push myself upright with my poles after a fall. From the basic snowplow, I advanced to the stem christie, a technique that allowed me to traverse the slope—slowly and in terror—rather than bomb straight down like my little brat brother and his daredevil friends.
For two or three excruciating seasons I tried to enjoy skiing—I really did—but my favorite part was hiding out in the lodge, reading and drinking cocoa. For a school assignment, I wrote about my adventures—in cursive, on white lined paper. Two i’s in a row looked weird, so my essay, entitled Sking, began: I went sking at Ragged Mountain. It was wicked cold. My feet froze. I fell a bunch. Sking is not all it’s cracked up to be. And so on, for two pages.
My teacher circled every sking in red; there were many; the paper bled.
Which reminds me of a family story.
Back when horses were more common than cars and roads rolled rather than plowed, Bob wrangled an invitation to a card party at a remote farmhouse on a backcountry hill. He admired Lillian, the daughter of the house, and hoped to impress her and her yankee relatives. He snowshoed in and behaved admirably. So far so good. After the party, Lillian’s brother, Lawrence, asked Bob to join him in a night-ski to the village. Other guests had descended earlier by sleigh and Lawrence needed to fetch back the rig and horses. Bob, of course, accepted the challenge.
“Only problem,” Lawrence said, “we got just the one set of skis.”
As the family watched from the porch, Lawrence lit his pipe, strapped his honking big feet to the eight-foot wooden slats, and told Bob to step on behind him and hold tight.
What luck! The skis fit perfectly into a pair of ruts—about two feet apart—iced into the snow by the comings and goings of the sleighs and sledges. “We won’t even have to steer!” Lawrence said. “We’ll ride these ruts the whole way.”
The slope was gradual, the moon bright, the night air exhilarating. The smoke from Lawrence’s pipe wafted. At about the halfway point, they picked up speed, but having negotiated a tricky curve with grace, the two young men felt confident, even cocky.
Until they got to the real steep part.
Bob—peering over Lawrence’s shoulder—spotted something in the distance that alarmed him. A dark mound appeared to fill one of the ruts. Lawrence also spotted the large, frozen horse flap and said, teeth clenched on the stem of his pipe: “Bob, we are going to have to lift our left feet.”
They lifted their left feet.
And fell. Spectacularly. Ass over teakettle. The skis kept going. Bob and Lawrence landed in a heap. The pipe went flying and was lost.
But no bones broke. Bob proved to be a good sport and earned the family’s respect.
The following spring, Lawrence’s mother found the pipe while picking wild strawberries. Shortly thereafter, Bob and Lillian married. They had four children and nine grandchildren, including me.  A skier! Cross-country, that is. The flatter the better.
NH Magazine, January 2023

Sunrise on Pearly Pond Photo

Sunrise on Pearly Pond . Photo by Gordon Ripley

This photograph of Pearly Pond was taken on University Drive in Rindge, N.H. on October 17, 2007 at 7:00 a.m. The camera setting were ISO 200, 1/100 second, and F5. A Nikon 18-200mm lens was used and set to the 35mm equivalent focal length of 43mm. The camera used was a NIKON D200 digital camera

 Excerpts from Becky Rules’ blog for Rule’s Work

Yankee Compliments

Katie told me this story. She works at an elementary school and one day a couple of fourth grade girls asked her a question she couldn’t answer. She said, “Let’s ask Miss Sargent.” One of the girls said, “She won’t know. She’s only a first grade teacher.”

Which reminded me of a visit to an elementary school in Concord years ago. I sat on the floor surrounded by kindergartners, explained all about being a writer, read a little something. Then I opened the floor to questions and comments. One earnest little boy’s hand shot into the air. I called on him. He said slowly and with great dignity: “You’re an author. And my name is Arthur.”

‘Nother time I was up in Berlin visiting elementary school classes. In the kindergarten class, the teacher introduced me as a “real live author.” A little one said, in wonder, “I can’t believe my eyes.”
Which reminds me of the story of the fourth grade teacher in a North Country town who woke Tommy, who was asleep at his desk. “I’m awful sorry, Mrs. Johnson,” Tommy said. “We was up all night burying moose bones.”

Subtle Stories

Sometimes I have to hear a story a couple three times before it sticks. This is particularly true of the subtle ones.

Anne Lunt reminded me that she’d told me the following story some years ago—but I’d almost forgotten it. Until she told it again last month. Mrs. Skillins, wife of Bert Skillins, was a dyed-in-the-wool yankee. Frugal in every way, of course. Every Saturday morning for decades Sarah came to the house to pick up the laundry, and returned the clothes cleaned and pressed on a Monday. This went on when the children were growing, when they went off to war or off to college, and eventually off to marry with children of their own.

At last, Sarah confronted Mrs. Skillins—“I’ve been taking care of your laundry,” she said, “for 38 years, and you never once said ‘Thank you’ or ‘You’re doing a good job.’ ”

Mrs. Skillins was taken aback: “I go on hirin’ you, don’t I?

This next story takes a minute to sink in. Well, it took me a minute. Peggy, who sat in the front row at my program at Presidential Oaks, very attentive, introduced herself afterwards and said she was quite deaf—and had been for a while. She ran a general store in a small town. One evening a young man approached her with a question. She thought he said, “Do you have any condos?”

“No,” she retorted, “they’re not allowed in this town!”

Monadnock View from Jaffrey Farm Photo

Monadnock View from Jaffrey Farm. Photo by Gordon Ripley /

This photograph was taken on the Witt road in Jaffrey, NH on September 15, 2010 at 11:47am. The camera settings were 1/125th  second at F/11. The ISO was set to 200. The lens used was a Nikon 28-300mm set to 62mm. The camera used was a NIKON D700 digital camera. Rebecca Rule’s Site