Last week I took a real “Leap of Faith” and shared with you a dream I have had for too long of wanting to start a nonprofit organization called “Stuck in the Middle” to help those people that are just that “Stuck In the Middle.”
I guess we could say here that often it is an unplanned “Twist of Faith” that causes people to need our help, usually just for a relatively short period of time. Job layoffs, unexpected injuries, unexpected health issues, things like that.
As strange as it seems now, just yesterday, Tuesday, Julie sent me an email and asked if I could get my story in early this week because of the Fourth of July holiday next week. I said sure, that I had a couple possible ideas, but honestly I was going kind of negative with them, and it’s not where I wanted to head. I guess I got thinking about our Independence Day, The Fourth of July, our Constitution, all of the good humble men and woman who serve and served our country, many giving their lives so I could be free and even write to you. John often says that those who serve tend not to complain and whine, they look for solutions and I believe are more grateful and understanding because of what they have seen.
Then I got thinking of a dear friend’s term “Fellowship of the Miserable” for what I believe really is just 1% of us in every group, in every town, that complain, complain and complain more. Often they continue to complain about things from years or decades ago. When I was younger, I really thought and prayed they would change, but I had to come to terms with that they won’t, they just don’t want to. I think it is an attention-getting thing, too. Negative attention is better than no attention at all. Sad, but what can you do? Nothing and I’m finally okay with that.
Anyway, one of the greatest people I know, a humble and positive presence always, with his wife Karen, happened to come into the office this week, Bob Rimol. Out of the blue, when I said "hi" to Bob I just went on to say something like, "Bob, how did your dream of the rail trail ever come to be?" His first comment to me was “Sherry it really was a Twist of Faith.” Back in the 90’s Bob and his wife Karen, also took a leap of faith and decided to quit their jobs and move to New Hampshire to start their own business.
Now here is the really strange part of how lives connect and often we have no idea. Bob just happened to mention that they rented a place over at Wyndmere Estates, Number 17, and the complex backed right up to the old, pretty much deserted at the time, rail trail of the past. He said that back then, he and Karen would take their children for walks along it and they even gave it the name the “Sketchy Trail” and boy, was it ever.
Bob had no idea what I was about to tell him next. Just before they moved in back in 1991, I bought the very last condominium there, Number 9, and my unit backed right up to the rail trail. At the time I was a young, single teacher at Londonderry High School and the idea of an abandoned trail a stone's throw away from me did make me a little nervous, but I completely loved my first home. Thanks to the New Hampshire First Time Home Owners Program, even with my very low teacher salary, I could afford the home and no money down was required. How great is that?
Still, what got Bob thinking of developing the “Sketchy Trail?” At that time, Bob loved to play men’s soccer and he loved to run. As happens to most athletes, eventually it takes a toll on their bodies. Sooner than Bob had planned, his doctor said he should no longer be playing soccer or running. His doctor suggested he take up swimming or biking, neither of which at the time were to appealing to him.
He did give bike riding around here a try, but quickly discovered how dangerous bike riding can be on our local roads and that’s when the his idea of the rail trail being developed was born!
At that, time there was a Londonderry trail organization in town. He met with them, great people like Sandy Lagueux listened at the meeting and in some ways, I guess you could say the rest is history. Bob also credits our own Public Works Director Janusz Czyzowki with suggesting that he do a citizens petition warrant article to ask for the initial money to turn this dream into a reality.
The voters spoke and the warrant article passed by 100 votes, approving $250,000 to bring the Londonderry Rail Trail to life! Talk about a Twist of Faith! So often in life we become discouraged by one thing but it leads us to something wonderful and meaningful for ourselves and others, too.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry town clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.