There is an old Burl Ives Christmas song called "Silver and Gold" and there is also a Girl Scout song called "Silver and Gold," too. Both songs are about wonderful people that have been with us for years and also new people who are just entering our lives now.
Last Friday, I got a call from Chris George, the owner of Mr. Steer meat market right here in Londonderry. Chris called to tell me that it was the 43rd anniversary of the day my mom started working there.
It was Dec. 8, 1975 when Mr. Steer's doors first opened and my mom was Chris' very first employee. Chris knew that call would mean the world to me because, let's face it, this time of year is great but it's also difficult because we all miss someone.
Mr. Steer will always be a business that is near and dear to my heart and yours too, I bet. For many of us, the fine meats, cold cuts and so many other delicious foods have been a part of our family members for years.
Even as I'm typing to you now, my belly is warm and full. A tradition we have is that each year with the first real snowfall I make a big batch of Irish Beef Stew. Now the funny part is that the recipe I like to use is actually from an Irish pub, get this, that is located on the Grand Cayman Island!
I've tried it with stew meat from many other places, but the only time it comes out perfect is when I use beef tips from Mr. Steer. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like the recipe. I promise you will thank Chris and me, too!
That call really got me thinking. Imagine my mom Pearl Cummings was right there with Chris and his brother Teddy when they opened the doors for the very first time. Chris was only 28-years-old when he took the leap of faith. He took a chance on our area opening his own business and he took a big chance on Londonderry, too. My mom Pearl loved Chris and was probably the proudest cashier you would even meet. You might even remember her.
I was just 14 years old at the time, but now that I am typing to you, Mr. Steer was actually my first real job. Every Sunday afternoon Chris would let me work the register and take care of the customers. For 43 years he has been devoted to our community and to all of us.
Chris has helped many families who have forgotten this or that for the holidays and he is there pretty much around the clock. Mr. Steer is one of those great businesses that does so much behind the scenes to help.
On Saturday, I was reminded of another.
John and I made a mad dash to Market Basket for everything else I needed for my stew, because we knew the snow was on its way.
We always just head down Pillsbury and cut through the back of what I call the Papa Gino's plaza, take our chances at that crazy stop sign intersection by Wendy's, make our left, pray we don't get in an accident, and find our parking spot.
Things were different with this trip to the grocery store, though, because on Friday night Michels Way officially opened in town.
No nutty stop signs for us! We made the left onto Pillsbury that we had made so many times through the years heading into Derry and then we made a quick turn onto Michels Way.
It's not just a street, it's an experience. Michels Way is lined with beautiful lamp poles, safe traffic circles, and the future vision of the area where we will all be able to walk around and meet each other in the years ahead.
John Michels would be so proud. He was another leader in our community who always helped behind the scenes. John took a chance with his wife Nancy and started their business here in town — Michels and Michels Law Associates back in 1983 — and they simply loved Londonderry, too.
Silver and gold, new beginnings and the established good people and businesses that have stuck with us through the years.
Please don't forget: Project Snowflake has only a couple of weeks left, please drop by Town Hall with gently used, or just go out and buy a few pairs of, mittens, children's snow pants or a nice warm jacket to help our local kids in need during recess. I just want these precious little Girls Scouts, who will be the leaders of our communities in years to come, to be overjoyed when they check the box they left in our Town Hall. Please let's make it overflow with love this year. A special thanks to leader Liz O'Neil and all the Scout leaders out there who give so much of themselves to our children and our communities.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry town clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.