Well I should have known better and yes, my 1,000-piece New Hampshire state puzzle still has only 999 pieces!
So this is what just happened to me today, Jan. 18, just about one week ago from the time you will be reading my story.
Last Christmas, not the one that just passed but the one before that, I bought both my girls gift certificates for a wonderful massage at Sante Massage right here in Londonderry. I remember it was just a few days before Christmas 2016 and I was walking by Victoria's studio and I saw a sign in the window for last minute gift cards for a very reasonable price, too. As the girls get older it seems, we get them less and less and I really didn't have many presents for each of them so I thought a massage would be something fun and different. Mackensie has still never had a massage and I think Meredith had one years ago when she was playing basketball.
Anyway, a couple of months back I asked them where their gift cards were because I knew they had never used them.
What do you think the answer was? It went something like, "Oh, Mom, that's right, gee, I don't know."
After that response I did a pretty good job making them feel bad about losing the cards like only a trained mom can do!
I decided to call Victoria. I would have completely understood if she had to say, so sorry, no certificate, no massage, but if you know Victoria, of course she didn't. She had a record of them from 2016 and said let's make "You" a couple of appointments then. So we did.
The date finally arrived. I went at noon. I remember at the time thinking lunchtime could work, after all it was for a shorter, intro-type of session.
When the time came I was so happy. Usually I just eat at my desk, or run out later in the day as lunchtime seems to come so quickly and I always seem to be in the middle of something.
This was fun, it made me stop what I was doing and head out to relax, completely STRESS free.
I left the office a little early because I needed to stop at the bank to get cash. Even though the massages were paid for, I wanted to thank Victoria for her kindness. The day was a beautiful, sunny day, cold and windy, but I loved everything about it.
I pulled up at our Bank of America in the ATM lane, noticed there were new ATM machines that threw me for a second, but then I pushed all the right buttons and could not wait for my five $20 bills. I noticed I was running a little tight on time, but Sante Massage was right up the street. No worries, I thought. I kept reminding myself to just relax and be stress free.
Well, I had to put my window down all the way to reach out to get my cash from the bottom area of the machine.
Funny as you get older your fingers just don't seem to grasp or pinch together as easily as they used to. This threw me off, too, as it was windy and my fingers just were not tight around the bills.
Still I wasn't worried, I was relaxed thinking in my head I could finally understand what Bart means when he says his fingers are not working the way they used to. Well, in the next second, the money slipped out of fingers as I tried to pull it out of the new machine.
Before I could even scream, the gust of wind just had to come right then and took my five $20 bills and I watched helplessly as they swirled in the air.
My mind started racing, I wanted to scream out, "Nooo, I'm supposed to be relaxed!" My next step was, do I tell the bank? What can they do?
I swung my car door open and jumped out to try and find my cash. The man behind me looked, well, maybe shocked or frightened, but just stared at me.
Right away I found two of the bills that landed in a puddle. One ended up under my car and the two just on each side of the car behind me. I had decided I wasn't leaving without them.
On a side note, if it were me watching this happen I would have hopped out of my car to help the person in front of me, but again, he looked stunned.
Anyway, by then I was so frazzled that I hopped in my car, wet cash in hand and drove to my appointment. I was a nervous wreck. I pulled up in front of Sante Massage and headed inside, not so relaxed. I just wanted to leave. I was getting worried about the time, too. I thought, what a bad idea to make this appointment at lunchtime.
But I'm so glad I did. While I was waiting to get started, the nicest man came in, Bill Blood of Londonderry. Wonderful stories mean the world to me — hey, maybe that is how I find my stress-free zone, who knows.
Bill and I talked about many things in that few minutes we shared. He told me his birthday was Jan. 22 and he would be 90 years old. Up until a few years ago, he was doing triathlons with his granddaughters in places like Wisconsin. He loved to swim, bike and run. His doctor told him to slow down a bit.
When Victoria started my massage, we got talking about our lives in New Hampshire and Bill too. Victoria and I have known each other through years but never had a chance for a long talk. It turns out her dad owned one of my favorite places in town years ago, Video Revolution. We talked about how we missed the days of going into a video store, even on dates, and finding a great movie, looking around, reading the boxes, something to do with friends, family or just by yourself.
Victoria has been in business in our area 21 years and I bet if you ask around you will know many people that have been seeing her for years. In between our shared stories, we talked more about Bill Blood and boy, you never really know who you are talking to.
It turns out Bill's love of sports and the outdoors have been carried on throughout his life. Victoria told me that Bill taught at UMass Lowell for more than 30 years, specializing in teaching hang gliding classes. Not only did he teach classes but he designed one of the lightest hang gliders.
Thanks to Bill and Victoria, I was stress free and relaxed when I left.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry town clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.