I can’t believe I can even be doing this…. but I’m writing our story from the sky!

I’ve told you this before but you know that I am truly petrified of flying.

I just am. I know, I know, everyone tells me that flying is much safer than just about any other way to travel, but I just don’t buy it.

Big whoop, in my book. Every time someone says that to me to make me feel better, while they are talking to me, I’m thinking, “I’d like to see statistics on that one."

Of course, the stats really do exist, but I still don’t believe it.

It’s actually just about the same time that I write to you each Sunday morning. We’ve been on the plane since about 5:30 a.m. this morning.

At first I tried everything so that I would just sleep the flight away, but nothing worked.

We had to leave the house at 4:30 a.m. so I put a great plan in place. I decided to do my best to stay up the entire night until it was time to leave. I almost made it, but by 1:30 a.m. I was done. Still I was hopeful that with just a couple hours sleep I would snooze away once we were airborne.

Well, you know that didn’t happen, because, again, I’m typing to you.

As fearful as I am about flying, I have to tell you, that right now I am too excited to even try to sleep because above the beautiful sea of clouds below us, far off on the east horizon, the sun is rising in the sky.

I have been peeking out my window and at first, against the dark clouds of night, I could start to see the color gold just at the edge of the horizon.

You know how I love to chase sunrises, usually at the beach, though — with both running sneakers on the ground.

I asked John when we first boarded the plane if I would be able to see the sunrise, and he wasn’t quite sure.

When I tell you that my John is truly the smartest man I have ever met, he really is — but he wasn’t sure about this one.

Well, just in the time as we have been talking, the darkness turned to a bright orange ball in the sky, so bright that I decided maybe I should turn my eyes away.

It has now disappeared completely. There is a beautiful pink, grey, white, gold hue over the clouds below us, but the sun is gone.

I just started to tell you that maybe this is my unexpected gift this year, but then I reminded myself how afraid I am of flying!

I just found the sun again too, way up in our sky. Now my problem is that I can’t see my keyboard because my eyes are all sun spotty from watching the sunrise.

If my Dad were here, he would say, “Sher, I can’t see a bloody thing!” Funny the things you remember and think about when you are flying. The fear does come with a sense of freedom, too, I guess.

By the time you are reading our story this week, it will almost be Christmas.

Did I mention that I hate when those darned seatbelt lights that flash on and make that loud "bing," too? Now I wish I were sound asleep.

I’m watching the flight attendant and wondering, why he isn’t jumping for his seat instead of walking around so very relaxed?

Dear goodness, I’m nervous.

Thank goodness I have you as John is fast asleep!

What I did want to share with you, if I can just stay focused a zillion feet up in the air, are my favorite gifts of Christmas.

Family is always first and foremost on my list. You hold a pretty close second, though, I must admit!

One of our family members of the heart will turn 85 years old as our Derry News is released this week, on Dec. 19. I just want to wish our Dr. Bart Quirinale a Happy Happy Birthday here with you.

Many of our stories come from my walks and talks with Bart along the way. Bart’s “pearls," “Bartisms” and Bart’s recipes, to name just a few.

Bart is an extraordinary man, who has lived an extraordinary life helping others. Someday we will write a book with them all together. It will be a bestseller.

Speaking of books, our own local author Brian MacDonald and his wife and illustrator Brenda have just published their second book titled, “Saratoga." It is one of my favorite young readers’ books of the year. You still have time to order it at Amazon for Christmas. I especially love that special places from right here, are mentioned and cherished.

A completely unexpected gift this week: Everyone in our office had to step back for a minute, because it really did appear that Santa had entered our office.

Richard Hanlon walked in with his perfect green Christmas sweater complete with lights, his “real” long silver beard and a definite twinkle in his eyes! He even greeted us with a deep "Ho, ho, ho."

It turned out that Richard works for a group called IMSANTA.org. An interesting site to check out. This group does other things too, but Richard volunteers his time to bring Christmas cheer to those who really need the gift of a smile and hope this Christmas season.

As we talked to Santa, we discovered other unexpected things. His sister’s mother–in-law was Alice Taylor, who years back served as both town clerk and tax collector. Alice was loved in our community and served for over 30 years. She was citizen of the year and did so much for our community. I am honored to follow in her footsteps as town clerk.

Saturday evening I went into the office to try and catch up and make sure everything was set before we left (I bet Alice did things like that too).

In the background I played over and over again my all-time favorite Christmas song by Amy Grant, “My Grown-up Christmas Wish.”

Thank goodness no one else was in the office, because I sing along to this one as though I have a microphone and karaoke machine. Loud and raw, I guess you might say, with tears in my eyes every time.

My grown-up Christmas list, not for myself, but for a world in need — "A world where everyone would have a friend, Right would always win, love would never die, and time could heal all things. This is my only Christmas wish."

I hope you have a chance to listen to the words,  but if not, just stop by my office and if you really want me to I will belt out the song for you.

Amy Grant has nothing to worry about, that is for sure!

Sherry Farrell is Londonderry town clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.

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