Well here it is the year 2021! Finally, we can put 2020 behind us and look to the hopes, dreams, and most of all everyone’s safety in the year ahead.
As we rang in 2020 last year, it was not even a thought that our new fashion statement would be masks, that we’d have to stop shaking hands and hugging, and that a worldwide pandemic was lurking on our doorsteps.
That is the beauty of life, though, we never know what unexpected blessings are about to come into our lives, and also the unexpected challenges, too.
We have a dear friend at our Town Hall, Steve Valido. Steve told us on New Year’s Eve morning, that this New Year’s Eve we should add one very important New Year’s Eve tradition. Steve said that just a few minutes before midnight you open the windows and doors in your home. This allows you to send the year 2020 out the door and out of your house, and you get to welcome the new year into your home. Out with the old, in with the new, I guess you could say.
Given the way this year has gone I thought it sure couldn’t hurt.
Some New Year’s Eves we don’t even make it to midnight, but this year Bart was over and we made a pact to welcome in the New Year together. I remembered to open the front door and we waited for the New Year’s Eve ball in New York City to drop. The countdown seemed hopeful and we had a small toast with some leftover Prosecco from Christmas. Quiet, but somehow it seemed more meaningful and we appreciated it more than in years past.
On New Year’s Day, Christie Campbell and I shared in the quiet New Year’s Day wedding of Steve and his life partner. Christie was the photographer, and I recited their vows. Our own Neal White even made a surprise visit on one of his days off just to meet Steve officially. How great is that?
Steve’s day starts very early. Every morning he listens to Neal and Marga in the morning on WZID! We have it on every day, all day in our office, too. Great statewide information, smiles, stories and heartfelt fun laughs just when you need them.
Steve will often call in just after 5 a.m. when things are a little quiet and talk to Neal and the listeners. One of the things I love about WZID is that they are part of our community. They help where they can, and if something important needs to have a shoutout, at no charge, like “every vote counts, remember to register to vote” or “don’t forget it’s time to register your dogs” they do!
They feel like family and they are. Our Gov. Chris Sununu is a regular guest, also keeping us updated on everything going on around our great state.
After the ceremony, when we shared a toast made by Neal in disposable champagne glasses filled with only a splash of Welch’s Sparkling grape juice, Neal asked if we had remembered to open the doors. The front door to let in 2021 and the back door to usher out 2020.
I realized I had only opened the front door and none of our windows. At first, I thought oh boy, that is not a good sign, but then I realized that maybe that’s what I was feeling, too.
As much as 2020 was nothing we could have ever imagined, there were still many days and memories that I am grateful for. Maybe you are too, when you reflect? I know for me, the time we could spend with people in our bubble I cherished more than I ever have before. It made me more grateful. Not being able to go everywhere freely, also made me slow down a little, breathe and enjoy time with those I care for. Talking on the phone is something I cherish again, and boy are we grateful for FaceTime and Zoom.
Watching as little elves, like Maureen and Monica Maney who tiptoed up our front stairs on Christmas Eve to leave a little cheer. Talking with friends unexpectedly in driveways in the cold, and cherishing every minute and not wanting it to end.
I think I had forgotten that it was beautifully possible to spend time together without getting caught up in what food I had ready and what drinks we had to share. Now when I wave to our neighbors and friends I do it with a full arm and I linger, savoring every second, longing just to be a little closer soon. I even find we make more time to stop the car and “roll down” the window ( or push the button) to talk from a distance for a minute or two.
Christmas cards were like gold this year! Each one we received we stopped and took the time to really appreciate it. John taped each one up carefully and I have a feeling they will be on display much longer this year. The children, the families, the grandbabies the story of those we could hug last year but really can’t see this year, for a little while longer. Everything has more meaning. I’m going to lock all of this in my heart because I hope once 2020 is really behind us and we can open all our doors, that we don’t forget to cherish each other and the little things.
Meredith said something that really made me think as we welcome the hope and freedom again of 2021. We must continue to quarantine, wear our masks also and stick to our bubble of family for everyone’s safety, as Mackensie would say, but also to honor those whose lives were and are affected taking care of patients, or having COVID themselves. It’s the least we can do.
Hugs from a distance to David Ellis, who shared the origin of Boxing Day with me and, hopefully, you too, and to Roland Pothier, whose family grew up in a little fishing village in Nova Scotia. Roland recently won a special lottery at work called December Dough and he paid it forward.
Sherry Farrell is the Londonderry Town Clerk and a longtime resident of New Hampshire.