A week of comparisons

Sherry Farrell

Last week we talked about some of the new places we discovered in and around our towns and we also talked about the upcoming town elections, too.

When it comes to new places and businesses we can support, we also can’t forget about the tried-and-true ones that have been with us for years.

John and I try to mix things up. We still do a lot of take-out, but we do our best to order from different places each time. We have many amazing florists locally and so many great pizza places.

I made a hopeful comparison about our upcoming town election which is now past us. My comparison was that if we had, as an average for all of our towns, 3,000 voters last year that maybe we could increase that by even 25%. That would be close to 4,000 voters — really 3,750, but close enough.

You know I have been wanting to hit that 4,000 mark for a few years now. Well, the higher comparison turned out to be much lower than we all expected. Way lower, which is sad.

Imagine the town of Derry only having 1,500 registered voters come out to vote. Londonderry 2,030. That’s how it played out around the state, too, shockingly low town election numbers. Not the comparison we were hoping for there.

I was disappointed but then I heard a few reasons that made sense. First and foremost, people are tired of hearing and thinking about elections.

The negativity that our general election spread didn’t help either. We have to remind our registered voters and future registered voters, that our town elections are about our communities and that they are completely non-partisan!

There is some confusion about that. We had a few calls from residents asking why our newspapers did not mention what political party the candidates were. Great question, and we need to do a better job of making the reason known.

Another reason was around COVID-19. Good people are just tired of worrying about that, too, we are all praying for our new normal to hurry up and get here.

A local newspaper on Sunday had a great comparison story with our Gov. Sununu. Where we were one year ago compared to, thank goodness, where we are today.

In our election in 2020, we were just starting to talk about COVID, but we had some precautions. We had plastic gloves and John ran out to buy extra hand sanitizer for us, but it was elections as usual.

The next thing we knew, everything started to shut down and we were searching for toilet paper of all things. Never would we have guessed that.

This March we are starting to see the light. We have plenty of toilet paper and our businesses are opening. Malls are busy again. The trick now is to stay smart, wear our masks, continue washing our hands, and doing our best to not crowd each other like we use to. We still have a way to go, but things are looking up.

You and I are not going to dwell on the past. Together we are going to start an educational campaign about the election this fall to get people excited about our election process again.

With education and focusing on what unites us, we will get those numbers up for our town elections in 2022.

Mark your calendar now March 8, 2022! You heard it here first. 

We are going to get our schools and communities involved also. John always says, “We can’t do anything about the past, but we sure can improve the future!” Let’s all start thinking about ideas now. Reach out to me! I know our New Hampshire radio, television channels and newspapers will help us.

The unfortunate thing about low turnout at elections is that anything can happen. Warrant articles will pass or fail not reflecting what the overall community wanted. These are the votes that affect all of us, our families, home life and town.

Our campaign will change that, too! You know my favorite phrase: Helen Keller’s, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” We got this!

Now for just a couple of fun comparisons that made my month really and I have to tell you. Why? Because I tell you everything!

A couple of weeks back we had a situation. We had a wonderful resident who was disappointed and upset about the way we handled something. Together we talked it through and figured out what happened.

There was just no way to sugar coat it. It was that old human factor and it does catch everyone from time to time.

She was so appreciative that I called her back (it’s the least I could do) and that I explained what happened. What a love she was.

She understood and we both agreed that by her letting us know, we would prevent it from happening to someone else. This might be the most precious way anyone has ever ended a call with me.

She compared me to Duncan Hines brownies! Ethel said, she could always count on Duncan Hines brownie mix to be the same through the years. Always chewy and delicious. She said that’s how she feels about me. She can always depend on me, always the same, there to help. It might be my best comparison ever!

Another comparison of me this week was to a puppy! Yes, a dog! You know I’m a true morning person! I’m like a jumping bean in the morning. At 8:30 a.m. last Friday I opened our office door to a line of people waiting to come in. I smiled and yelled, “Good morning and happy Friday!" A nice man named Mark, said something like “Wow, what a greeting! You’re like my dog, so happy to see me in the morning.”

Last one, a very nice couple trying to do everything they could to make their vote count given they were in Arizona. After we figured out a way to get their ballot here in time, Alan said to me, “We love reading your column every week. You're like a celebrity in our house.”

That’s a comparison I never expected to hear, and probably never will again, but you can bet I loved telling my little family and you, too.

Sherry Farrell is the Londonderry Town Clerk and a longtime resident of New Hampshire.

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