I don’t know what it is, but just after all the holiday celebration and preparation my “curmudgeon” side seems to be popping out!
They say people get a little sad or down as we settle back into our daily lives — it’s colder out, darker out, and we know we have at least a couple months of this ahead.
Honestly, I had never really heard the word “curmudgeon” before but last week my friend Gerald stopped by and used it as we were talking. I even asked him what it meant. Gerald said it was kind of like a grumpy old man.
After he left, I got thinking that I’ve had a few curmudgeon moments myself in the last couple weeks that I’ve been wanting to tell you about.
You know me. First I had to look up the word to see what else it could mean. According to Wikipedia and a few other sources quickly put, it may have come from Gaelic word "ur," which means "crab." Now that’s funny. My dad would always say my mom was crabby! Apparently curmudgeon refers more to males. Another of my dad’s famous words “battle-ax” indicates a crabby woman! Too funny again!
Anyway, these are my two most recent curmudgeon situations.
I never got to tell you, but awhile back I had a chance to take a quick 24-hour turn around drive with John to St. Andrews, New Brunswick. This is located right over the Canadian border.
We drove at least six hours up through Maine to get there. On a side note, what a beautiful hidden gem, located right on the Atlantic Ocean. The friendliest people and quaintest little village of stores, restaurants, and shops again that back right up to the sea. Of course, this time of year most places were closed.
I really hope we get to go back. They even had a Christmas tree in the center of town, that didn’t have typical Christmas ornaments on it. The tree was decorated with everything to do with lobsters and being a fisherman, like my grandfather was in Newfoundland, Canada.
Thanks to a lovely housekeeper, Darci, we also learned of an area called Ministers Island. I still can’t believe this, but the only way to get to this island, which is now a Canadian historic park, is to drive across the ocean floor during low tide. Yes drive!
Darci told us that in the nice weather that is where she spends most of her days off. The only catch is that you can only stay for about four or five hours before high tide starts to roll back in. If you wait too long you will be stuck there until the next low tide when you can drive across the sand again to get back to the mainland. I can’t wait to go back in the nice weather to really learn more about this area.
Of course, as we were leaving a snow storm rolled in. John can be fearless and even though I would have stayed put he knew we needed to be home so we forged ahead. Lots of snow and quite an adventure. Most places along the road were closed.
We finally made it to an Irving Gas Station in Calais, Maine, that was not only open but that had a restaurant on the side. John said we should take a break and have a good meal before heading out into the snow again. So we did.
The place was very quiet and just one other table was filled. There were three waitresses working. Our waitress came over to take our order and we said we just needed a couple minutes. She was very friendly and said she would be right back. Great I thought.
We decided quickly, because we did want to get back on the road. Well, just our luck our waitress got talking to someone and there we sat. Minutes of course seemed like hours as my curmudgeon mood came on!
Next, I decided to get her attention. Subtle me started staring her down and taping my fingers on our table. She quickly turned and smiled over at me and I said, “We’re ready,” with a rather fake smile, but thank goodness a smile nonetheless.
As she walked over this time she said “Hey, didn’t you go to Pinkerton Academy?"
Now remember we are six hours away on the Canadian border in a smaller than small town. She continued with “Sharon right? You were a year ahead of me."
Then Terry White’s lovely smile from 1978 came back to me and I said, “I thought you looked familiar!”
In my mind once again, I was thinking thank goodness I wasn’t any ruder then I already had been. Curmudgeon Situation No. 1!
The second situation just happened this past week. I try not to be one of those people that just hang up on those irritating phone calls we get usually at the worse times.
I always stop to think it’s probably a mom or student like my girls trying to make ends meet. Well, at about 8:30 p.m. for once the four of us were able to sit and watch a show together and the darn house phone rang.
I boldly jumped up to grab it because I was annoyed at the interruption. I listened quick, heard what I thought could be a recording, but I really knew deep down it wasn’t, and as Molly said her name and mentioned something about a warranty, I took a big stand and hung up!
You know how now the phone number caller ID turns up on the TV screen? Well, John looked a little shocked and said, “Sherry, you just hung up on the place trying to come out to fix our microwave while it’s still under warranty! They were trying to schedule us for next week."
What can you do? Bad Curmudgeon Situation No. 2!
We also have to remember though that there are two sides to every coin. The more I researched this word, I learned that there can be good characteristics that go along with a curmudgeon personality. They don’t mind ruffling feathers to support the greater good. They are independent thinkers and don’t feel a need to just go along with a group. They are willing to say what others won’t. They often love rules, but I tend to be more of rule bender so that one may not fit.
In a 24-hour period this weekend, we went to see two movies. Meredith has been waiting for the Ruth Bader Ginsburg movie to come out and it finally opened Friday.
In my book it is a must see for everyone, especially high school and college students because it reminds us that one person can make a difference and that the law is ever changing and evolving. Actually it can be very gray and open to interpretation. At one point, Ruth mentions that just 100 years ago a woman would not be permitted to even become a lawyer. Can you imagine?
The second movie we went to see was "Vice" about President Bush’s vice president Dick Cheney, who I knew little about. I learned he was a man of few words but that he was extremely powerful and influential.
In both movies one of our great Supreme Court judges, Antonin Scalia, was acknowledged for his firm stands, passion to do what was best for the greater good and for always upholding the law. When I looked up examples of people who might be considered curmudgeon, he and Ruth were mentioned. The interesting thing was that politically they were on two different sides yet they were very dear friends and colleagues through the years who were smart enough to learn from each other and embrace their difference.
This week’s "Shout Out" goes to Tara Koza our benefits coordinator. Last week Tara sent out this amazing email:
“It’s that time of year when the doldrums of winter are setting in. However, a great way to stave off the winter blues is by focusing on the things in life you are grateful for. Expressing feelings of gratitude toward others is a great way to boost your mood while giving someone else a reason to smile!”
Talk about timing, thank you Tara, I needed this reminder! How did she know?
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry town clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.