On Saturday, John and I had the best luck running into Esther Hughes, who just happened to be working behind the counter at our local Staples store. 

Remember I had ordered some beautiful signs a couple of months ago from Mimi and Bumpa’s Workshop? Everything is made from refurbished wood and supplies and all of the profits they make go to nonprofit groups right in our area.

I loved the sign they made for me so much that I had one made for each of my sisters-in-law. The signs are pretty big and beautiful. There is a state map with a heart on the town where our small family lives.

The one that was meant for New Jersey has been just sitting here of course due to COVID-19 because we just can’t get together yet safely. I decided I wanted to mail this very large, heavy wooden rectangular gift. John had the idea to head to Staples, which I never would have thought of to mail something out.

Thank goodness as we headed to the counter with our large sign, Esther was there to help. At first, even she was baffled by the size.

She wasn’t quite sure Staples could help with this one and it was obvious it was going to be a pain to figure out. Personally, I would have sent us to a great office store to take on this challenge. Esther thought about the problem in front of her, commented first that they just don’t have boxes that size and shape and then she paused.

Esther said, “This is more about solving the problem.” Suddenly she had a great idea to use a large square box, but if you keep it flat and slide the large wooden frame in, wrap it in bubble wrap first, secure each open end with tape it might just work, and it surely did. Talk about thinking outside the box. Thanks to Ester my sister of the heart Pam should receive it this Wednesday. The price was very reasonable, too.

As John and I were following Esther’s directions on what we needed to do to make it work, I asked Esther how long Staples was lucky enough to have her work for them. She told us about four and a half years and that she was retired. You know I had to ask what she retired from.

This is what always fascinates me about where we meet people in our lives. We often assume this is what they have done their entire life. We don’t think about their world, the changes they made, the good they did before we crossed paths with each other. As my dad George would say, “it turns out” that Esther was a high-powered international marketing consultant for a big international company. She went on to tell us that she has some health issues and keeping busy is the best thing for her.

We also both agreed that Esther and I are probably not the kind of people that would ever want to retire completely. Keeping busy and helping people is our mission.

It’s funny that I used the word mission here as we are talking. A wonderful local minister was in our office this week, John Paul. He had an unexpected new member to his family, ”Stubbie” a little kitten. Normally, we welcome dogs in our office, we even have biscuits ready for them. This was our first time having a kitten.

The kitten roamed around our office while John Paul completed his business with us. When he was done, John came into my office to tell me that some of his parishioners look forward to my stories. He said the reason is they are always positive and happy. As a minister, he told me “This is your mission” to write these stories and hopefully make people smile.

My mission, that was a beautiful thing to say. People often stop by to ask me how do I write to you each week on our Sunday mornings. I don’t really think about it, it’s what we do together and I’m grateful that a few people might read it learn something new and smile.

Speaking of smiles, this week I went for my six-month dental checkup at Ahern and Nichols. Boy, do I cringe when that great text message reminder pops up on my phone about a week before. Immediately I go into my “There must be a good reason I have to cancel mode.” I check my schedule praying for a reason to not have to go! Having someone look in my mouth and pick at my teeth is like nails on the chalkboard to me. I dread it, I think most people do.

I arrived on time, still hoping something would come up and I’d have to leave, or they’d have to shut down! Donna Boudros with a huge smile and welcome that was obvious from her eyes, came out to get me. It was time, no turning back now. Well, I have to thank Donna who has been with Ahern and Nichols for 16 years, for an exceptional painless, not even a small pinch cleaning.

I think the best part was that Donna spent time educating me on some of the newest findings in the health of our teeth. I loved it. I was captivated! I wasn’t thinking about what she was doing, I wanted to learn more. I bet you didn’t know that a water pick is 50% more effective than flossing. I’m a power flosser. So much so that I’m surprised my caps don’t get pulled right off sometimes. John has always used a water pic. I didn’t know this one either, we are only supposed to use a very small amount of toothpaste and that it is best if you don’t rinse all that good fluoride away after you are done brushing.

We talked about mouthwash, too. I bragged that I still use that good old yellow brand that my dad used every day. The taste is so harsh still that it had to be helping kill the germs in my mouth. Well, Donna said it most likely is! Also, it is considered way to drying, and our mouths need to be moist. I could go on and on. Before I knew it, I had learned many new things, which I so love, and my breath behind my mask will be much more pleasant too. Donna has solved the problem of how to help nervous patients.

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

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