As I'm about to start our story this week, I'm looking at my Boot Scootin' Boogie 5K race number. It is just so funny when last week we were talking about a Nashville band and this week I had no idea I would have a bib number with a cowboy hat and those words on it. We never know what the next week will bring.
This past weekend marked in many ways the grand finale of our towns' 300th anniversary celebration and what an amazing year of celebrating and remembering it has been. Each of the towns that were once called Nutfield came together, remembered, planned and somehow pulled off huge events to help all of us — young and old — to remember. The key is to never let our history be forgotten.
We can't thank the committees enough that made all this possible for us.
Early on, John kept saying to me that there were small groups of people, small committees, that somehow pulled everything together. Many hands make light work, but few hands must take on an awful lot.
Just yesterday Vern and Gerry Grevenhof stopped by and gave me a copy of the 250th Nutfield anniversary program. On the inside cover it says, "Happy 250th Birthday, Old Nutfield."
Just like today, it goes on to say that "We, the General Committee, began a series of meetings well over a year ago which resulted in this anniversary celebration now taking place."
I didn't know this part either, that at the time of the 250th anniversary, it was decided that celebrating would take place at each 50-year mark.
I love the way it was written even back then, "a motion was made to close its activities for 50 years, to be re-opened at this time."
They go on to say, "In spite of the time and work involved....all we ask is that each one of us remember the faith in God and in fellow man which our forefathers started in this great town," (meaning Derry, Londonderry, Windham and the Derryfield part of Manchester).
It takes your breath away and reminds me to maybe give each other fresh starts from time to time. No one is perfect, like my 1,000-piece New Hampshire puzzle that is missing one piece — but most of us really do try. Forgive, forget and move on is not such a bad thing.
Too funny, John's concern here is with the idea of volunteerism. When you look at the history of the 200th anniversary planning, they just about had to close down the town for a week to celebrate. Imagine how much time, planning and volunteering that took.
Now Gerry did remind me that back then there may have only been a few hundred people in town and there wasn't a whole lot that needed to be closed down.
Jump to the 250th program, and it's a real booklet. The front part lists the General Committee, which Vern was a member of. The next page has 43 different committees listed such as a Flag Committee, Bumper Stickers Committee, Square Dance, Talent Show, Tour of Homes, Field Day, Fireworks and many others. Under each title is a list of names. It looks like over 100 people were involved, probably more. It really did take a village to make it all happen.
Remember that parade that I told you about a couple years back, when my parents bought me a Spacetown, U.S.A. T-shirt, which I wore with great pride?
I will never forget Alan Shepard driving by in that light blue convertible. The first American in space waved at a 9-year-old girl with a horrible pixie haircut. I was on cloud nine, and thought about being an astronaut for the next 10 minutes or so.
The worry John has is for our next 50-year anniversary. Who will volunteer? What you might not know is that with this year of celebration we didn't have committee upon committee filled with volunteers. Sadly, we have heard volunteerism is declining.
How do we change that? Let's work on that together.
Over the last year we have shared many walks down memory lane together. Last weekend's Old Home Day, Windham Strawberry Festival and soon Derryfest 2019 will be here, too.
Our Lions Club, Grange and so many more volunteer groups were on had to take care of us all week. The Lions did the cooking for Senior Night, led by Cathy Blash, our senior center director, serving all our Nutfield communities.
Thinking of our Grange, talk about another small group of members accomplishing so much. Grand Master Bill Perry shared his memories of one our our greats, Hank Peterson, another person who gave so much and volunteered endlessly for our Nutfield area. On a side note, our Grange is in desperate need of a new stove. If you have an idea, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we can move mountains!
Not everyone has time to volunteer, but if you help spread the word when things like this are needed, that's volunteering, too!
Just one more walk down memory lane. Last week I ran with arms flailing into Shaw's to get a special floral arrangement for a dear friend.
Thank goodness Adam LaFleur came to the rescue. He has worked at Shaw's for two years. We also recognized each other from elections each year.
Adam spoke of the importance of voting and that every vote counts. Just so great to hear a young man say that.
As we were talking, I was thinking of how impressed my mother Pearl — who used to work at Shaw's — would be with Adam.
I still go through the same cash register area that I used to walk through to see her — when I was a young teacher in town and the girls were still babies.
Thank you for this chance to walk down memory lane. All of you are locked in my heart and memories forever.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry town clerk and lifelong resident of New Hampshire.