This week seemed to have an underlying theme of "It was right under my nose all along."

Everything I was searching for was right here in my own backyard — kind of my "Dorothy" moment, "There's no place like home."

It all started with my continuous search for a New Hampshire state puzzle. I even asked for your help a few weeks back. I just wanted a New Hampshire puzzle that I could complete, like my dad used to do, glue the back of it, frame it, and hang it in my office next to my dad's two puzzles. Remember, he did one of our Finger Lakes region, and one of our White Mountains years ago. Boy, for a Canadian, he sure fell in love with New Hampshire.

Anyway, I knew I could order one online, but sometimes that is just not the same. Something doesn't feel right to me.

Yes, it's easier, but I want that people connection, searching together in a store, bouncing around from shop to shop, running into people I hold dear to my heart, but that I never see anymore, that getting hungry and having to stop for a bite to eat — all those things that just don't happen when I'm sitting at my computer. 

Well, about a week ago Kevin Smith, our town manager, sent me a text message that said something like "Hey, Sher, Hobby Town USA right in the Shaw's Plaza has a bunch of puzzles; maybe they have your puzzle there."

I thought it was nice that Kevin remembered, but honestly I thought to myself there is no chance a "hobby" store would have my puzzle.

Jump ahead to this week, Kirby and I were heading over to see Christine at Coffeeberries to pick up gift cards she was donating. As we were going in, I noticed Hobby Town USA was just one door over. I thought since I was right there I should just run in and check with them anyway.

Well, lo and behold, they had my puzzle all along! I bought my own little Christmas present and placed it under our tree. If you are searching for any type of hobby-related gift, head to Hobby Town USA. They have remote airplanes, games, and so many other things that I promise you won't expect either. A beautiful shop, great local owners and it's waiting for us under our noses!

Once I finished buying my puzzle, Kirby and I headed into Coffeeberries. I just happened to mention that John had been on a huge search for our favorite eggnog coffee that we love this time of year. It may sound nutty but we make a big pot of eggnog coffee and add fresh eggnog to it. It's delicious. John has searched throughout New York and other states in his travels for eggnog coffee and he came up complete empty handed.

Christine explained that Green Mountain Coffee had just stopped making it this year. I thought "Noooooo!"

None to be found or to be produced anywhere we thought, but right here under our noses, Christine had eggnog flavored coffee beans that she grinds as requested. Here it was under our noses all along. I believe more and more that local really is the very best.

Thanks to our own Coffeeberries, we enjoyed our little Christmas season tradition of eggnog coffee once again.

Let's move to Dec. 13. This was the first real winter day of 2017 in my opinion. Freezing temperatures and that horrible wind, too.

All of a sudden, I realized it was past lunchtime and I was starving. I decided to head home for a nice cold can of tuna and mayo for lunch, but wanted to stop by Pasquale's Ristorante right on Nashua Road to pick up their very generous donations.

I had a plan, pick up the gift cards, stop at the bank, then head home for a very cold lunch which normally I would love, but not on this first real winter kind of day.

As I was leaving the office, Melanie said to me out of the blue, "Sher, have something hot for lunch." She could read how I was feeling.

I thought there was no chance of that happening. As I was heading to the bank, I decided to change my plan and swing into Pasquale's instead.

Once I opened the doors, I felt like I was in one of those little Italian restaurants in the North End. It was so warm, inviting and cozy.

The loveliest waitress said she would have the gift cards ready in just a few minutes for me. Instead of continuing with my plan to drive home for that cold lunch, I asked if they had a soup and she said they did, and one of my favorites — minestrone.

It was served so beautifully that I took a picture of it. Isn't it funny what I was searching for was right under my nose.

I had not been in Pasquale's since they first opened a year ago. I loved it then, but isn't it funny with many places you kind of forget to go back in, time passes so quickly.

If you are looking for a delicious homemade lunch, check out the lunch menu for $8.99 and that includes your beverage. And for dinner on Monday and Tuesday, Monday and Tuesday evening for just $35 for two. Two glasses of wine, appetizer, two entrees and dessert. See you there! 

My last "right under our nose" happened at the local bank my parents started going to years ago, our own Bank of America. I have been on a search to turn our bottle of loose change into bills so we could do something fun over the holidays. Well, just try to find a place to cash it in....not so easy anymore.

Honestly, I called everywhere I could think of. Of course there are those change machines in grocery stores, but they take 15 percent of your profit. Doesn't sound bad at first, but let's say we have $200 dollars in change that would mean giving up $30 of it for the conversion.

Finally, I stopped at Bank of America just to cash a check and Trisha Crosby, who has been with them for 12 years, was there to help me. Trisha always seems to be that person who has taken care of my family with so many things throughout the years. You know, first bank accounts and on and on.

Well, she did it again. Just in passing I mentioned my coin frustration to Trish and explained that I could bring all the change in and they would put it in a big bag and send it out to be counted. Within 10 days the money would be deposited in my account....or I could roll the change, just like my dad used to do, with paper rollers and bring it in to get cash right away. Right under my nose again!

As I'm typing to you there are little piles of change waiting to be rolled on every table in our house.

Sherry Farrell is Londonderry town clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.

 

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