The elephant and donkey in the room

Sherry Farrell

This week I really wanted to revisit together the way we ended last week's story. I am so grateful to each of you that reached out and said that my little story touched your heart.

What I wanted to tell you about each of our journeys being different, and why I always try to think about what someone else is going through on their journey is because of this. 

When I was pregnant with our first baby Meredith, there were major complications with me being an old mom and some of our tests that didn't come back quite right.

I remember being in the examination room waiting to talk to Dr. Coral Surgeon of Rochester, New York. We were blessed. She walked in with a smile on her face to tell me everything was OK after all.

Suddenly, she was pulled out of my room and I was sitting there alone waiting, but feeling very hopeful.

In the room next to mine, I could hear another expectant mother sobbing. She was very upset.

I knew that the news she had just gotten was sad. She kept crying and my heart broke for her. I wanted to go into her room to comfort her, but I also knew that was not the right thing for me to do.

I put my hand on the wall that connected us and just said a little prayer for her and her baby. Two different journeys again. I pray still that she went on to have healthy children.

Again, we just never know why someone is angry or short with us. I bet their journey was different than they had expected.

This morning at the 8 a.m. Mass at St. Jude's, Father Bob's homily was about forgiveness. He is one of the best storytellers, and he always makes me listen, pause and think.

Forgiveness can be just a difficult thing. He referred to a passage in the Bible that says we should forgive others as many times as it is necessary, maybe because their journey has been different.

Boy, that can be a tough one, especially when we feel someone has wronged us or hurt our family. Maybe if we all pick one person in our lives to forgive this week. One thing is for sure, we feel much lighter when we choose to forgive. It is easy to type and much tougher to do. Let's each give it a try, again with just one person. What do we have to lose?

Now back to the elephant and the donkey in the room. That phrase usually refers to a problem or situation we have to deal with eventually. Something we are all worried about or thinking about has to be addressed.

For all of us town and city clerks out there, the elephant and donkey in the room for the last few months have been the state primary election that, thank goodness, just passed.

My hat goes off to our Secretary of State William Gardner, his team and the Attorney General's office, too. It looked like the COVID-19 odds were against us, but together, all of us along with all of you, we prevailed.

Many said our polling areas wouldn't not be safe, they were. The state sent our emergency management directors across the state everything we needed. Plexiglass, masks, pens, mats, gloves, hand sanitizer, even red tape to mark the floor where needed.

The Attorney General's office sent great people to double-check everything with us regarding our elections. They, too, were there to help, not judge.

Many said we would never be able to get poll workers and that the older workers would not feel comfortable at the election.

Poll workers of all ages and backgrounds came to help, to serve, and to make sure every vote counted. Many have already signed up for our presidential election on Nov. 3. You can too.

Some said people who didn't want to wear masks would be a problem at our polling places. They were not. Most people wore one just to make others feel better, but those that just could not because of health issues were grateful for the non-mask voting areas that were available at every polling place across the state.

When we come together for something bigger than ourselves and work together as Americans, there really is nothing we can't do and accomplish together.

Our absentee ballots were a success, even though they were up an average of 700% in many towns. Residents were patient and helpful every step of the way.

Many of your clerks and moderators were up and working close to 20 hours straight, but again so grateful to serve the towns and cities they love.

Things are different, but we are figuring out new ways to do old things and it's working.

"Alone we can do so little but together we can do so much," said Helen Keller.

The Londonderry Arts Council is hosting its first-ever Youth Arts Contest for ages 5-18 and they want everyone to know about it. All submissions will be collected virtually and there will be prizes.

The theme is "My life in 2020." Download the application at

Please help us spread the word, this group does so many great things for our local communities. You can also reach out to Karen Giguere at for more information.

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

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