The week started with a wonderful man, Ralph Langone, stopping by my office because he wants us to spread the word that Home Depot offers military members and veterans 10% off their purchases. As Ralph said, even on things like paper towels — which can really make a difference.
Ralph and his wife Maureen also ask us to not forget about the veterans who are in our hospitals and veterans’ homes across the country. Some are very much alone and that seldom have visitors. If you’re looking for even a small way to make a difference, this could be it.
Another great man in town, Paul Margolin, stopped by a while ago to place a recycling display in our Town Hall. I’m embarrassed to say this, but I had no idea that we are not supposed to put those plastic grocery store bags in our blue recycling bins. I always thought I was doing a good thing by washing out and then putting our cans and other recyclables in those bags to carry down to our bin. Paul explained to me that those darn little harmless looking bags cause much havoc with the machines that are trying to recycle for us. Never ever again for me!
I wish I could make the switch to the recyclable grocery bags, but we are just not there yet. Hopefully soon. I admire everyone who I see using them.
Barbara and Steve Young shared the history of their homestead with John and I. Talking together just made us fall in love with this area even more. I think Steve’s great-granddads and families had a vision of the world to be here in southern New Hampshire. We can’t thank them both enough for sharing stories and time with us. Oh, and a lovely cup of tea.
Art Rugg stopped by for some upcoming election information he needed, and I asked this brilliant, scientific man about the recent water concerns. Art put my mind at ease.
He reminded me that even when we went through the radon scare of years ago that studies now indicate something like seven seconds of our lives and the lives we love might be affected. Our water concerns now, as Art said, there is still so much unknown. His advice is to stay calm, get your water tested and then make the necessary improvements. The guidelines and information are still unclear.
Laura Gandia, our assistant planner and a lawyer, assisted me with a few unexpected situations over the last month in our office. Laura’s words are locked in my heart and I hope they help you too. There are times when we have to “take the emotions out of it and remain factual.” Sometimes it is in our best interest to take the emotion out and just remain firm on acknowledging what the facts are.
Brian Hanlon of Londonderry stopped in to show me a new prized possession. Brian located one of the original Londonderry Lithia Spring water bottles in his travels. He has a dear friend that has a huge collection of antique glass bottles. Together they bartered and Brian, in my opinion, got the treasure.
I have seen many of these cherished older Londonderry bottles, but never one like this. The name Londonderry proudly rounded across the top, takes my breath away. That is my next quest! I so hope I can find one for my office. I will cherish it, too.
Brian explained to me that these bottles from well over a 100 years ago were created from hand poured glass. The bottom was uneven because of it. It stood proudly but not quite flat.
If you have any treasures you want to share, contact your local historical societies. They are another amazing group of volunteers working to preserve our memories and past.
Something else I learned this week was that the Potter’s Bowl event, Community Caregivers' biggest fund-raising event of the year, was celebrating its 15th year this past Saturday night. John and I only discovered it three years ago and talk about a special night. Special thanks to the local restaurants that donated their time and soups made with love to all of us who attended.
The great thing is that when you enter you get to pick your own handmade pottery soup bowl. Each one was beautiful and unique. John and I each spotted the bowls we wanted right away. My bowl was made by a Londonderry High student Bryanne Clark and John’s pick turned out to be made by Meghan Savage a Pinkerton Academy student.
John loved every soup he tried, but I did have two favorites. The Italian Wedding soup, which I didn’t realize until just now as I’m talking to you, was made by Rig-A-Tony’s. When I looked up, it was being served by our own great young man Hunter Rathburn, a Pinkerton graduate. My other favorite was the Butternut Squash Bisque that was made by the Pinkerton Academy Astro Café. Remember, I took all of those same culinary classes when I was student there back in the late '70s. Mrs. McCall, Mrs. Watts and Mrs. Danielson would be so proud to know how their program has grown.
Have you heard of something called TicTok? I sure hadn’t. Emily Manning had to explain it to me. It’s the latest form of social media. Apparently, it involves short video and music clips of what’s happening around us three to five seconds, tops. It started back in 2012, but recently became very popular. I still haven’t seen it or figured out the why of it, but I have a feeling I will soon. It has been downloaded over a billion times. I have a lot to learn.
Now, not to end with a scary topic, but this week I also attended an active violence prevention program. Just some of the many things presented to us by Officer Tim O’Donohue of the Londonderry Police Department.
When we hear or see something wrong, most people spend the first 30 seconds trying to convince themselves that it is something else, according to Tim. We don’t want to believe that we are in harm’s way. Immediately we have to react and get out of the situation if we can. Another big take away: if your instinct is telling you something might be off, contact our police or fire department immediately.
Just a couple more vital things that Tim taught all of us this week. First: Breathe!
In any situation where we get nervous or anxious, before you react, take a minute to take a deep breath. You must calm yourself. Shift your emotions so that you help yourself and those around you. The last one is when you go into any new place, look around for the emergency exits. John always taught the girls this, too. Have a plan to be able to leave the area, but not the same way you entered. Everyone does that by instinct and that’s when people are trampled.
The last thing I learned this week is that great customer service does still exist. Special thanks to Jasmine Vitali of Bertucci’s in Manchester. She was patient, kind and helpful when taking our phone order for the Super Bowl. She will go far in any future job she pursues.
Last: Never mistake kindness for weakness.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry Town Clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.