This past week, I was honored to be part of many solemn promises and oaths, taken by great people that were willing to serve us.
Did you know that back on June 19, 1967, the position of poet laureate was established in New Hampshire? A list of New Hampshire poets considered worthy of this title are presented to our governor and his Executive Council by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire. Only one is selected to represent our state for five years.
The process is very similar to that of becoming a justice of the peace. It is not taken lightly. Each candidate is reviewed, researched and evaluated before their name is even presented to the governor for consideration.
A poet laureate’s responsibility is to bring awareness and to spread a love of poetry throughout our state. The New Hampshire state website describes this person as “an ambassador for all poets and want-to-be poets and writers within our state.”
What an honor! This year our own Alexandria Peary from Londonderry became our state’s poet laureate! I even love typing the words poet laureate!
Alexandria and I met about a year ago when she stopped by my office just to have something notarized. She was so personable and friendly. At that time, I was thinking about teaching an evening college class, and she shared with me that she was a professor at Salem State University in Massachusetts. Little did I know that our paths would be crossing, like so often in life, not far down the road.
A few weeks back, we received a call from the governor’s office announcing that Gov. Chris Sununu would like Alexandria’s town clerk to swear her in officially and to have her take her oath of office. What an honor! When they told us her name and sent her email address, we did email back and forth a couple times, but I had no idea that we had met before. We planned a time for the ceremony when her family could be by her side.
As soon as Alexandria walked into my office, we knew we had both met before. Another one of those times when you never know who you are talking too. Little did I know the first time we met that she was the author of many books on poetry. She is also the first person I have ever known to be hosting a TEDx event in late November on “How mindfulness can transform the way you think about writing.”
I will have more information on this coming.
Alexandria’s No. 1 goal is to bring the love of writing and poetry to people of all ages across our state. She is already planning new programs for young readers. She also wants to help all of us with writer’s block. too.
We do have a special poet in town that I hope Alexandria will meet, Kevin Hussey. Kevin served our North School as a custodian for years, his wife Marium was one of our wonderful school lunch ladies.
He has written two poems for our veterans to thank them for their service and to remind us of the sacrifices they have made. He mails his personalized poems to people he meets along the way. Kevin has also published a book titled “American Soldier for Whom the Bugle Sounds.” Again so often, we never know the accomplishments of the wonderful people we meet on our road.
And thanks to Lt. Don Waldron. Last Monday, I had the honor of being part of the swearing in of two new firefighters here in Londonderry: Peter Ripaldi and Justin McCarthy. Town Manager Kevin Smith and Chief Darren O’Brien led the ceremony. Part of the oath that Chief O’Brien read was “The fire department badge is a symbol of the time-honored, noble calling of being a firefighter. It has been said that the day a person becomes a firefighter, their greatest act of bravery has been accomplished; everything after that is just part of the job.”
A special thank you and hug to the families of Peter and Justin for sharing them with our community.
In December, many people that serve on our local boards and committees or who are interested in serving, will be asked to take oaths of office too. This is the time to start checking to see what positions will be available for you to serve on in your town. Planning Board, Senior Resources, Zoning Board of Adjustment are just some of the openings we will be having in Londonderry and as Kirby put on the top of our public notice “…. Seeking volunteers to serve on the following Boards/Committees.” You can call your town clerk or town offices for more information on what positions are open and what that entails. The one thing I can promise you is that you will meet great people, learn so much, and have a voice in your community.
The one thing we all need to remember when being sworn in and when taking an oath of office is that once you take that oath you are promising that you will put the good of others first and foremost. As our firefighter oath also says, “You will become something bigger than yourself.” I just love that. You will raise your right hand and repeat your oath of office aloud for all to hear. It’s really pretty beautiful. It is my honor to take part in each one.
Sadly to end, I have some disappointing news from the North Pole. Londonderry’s Christmas on the Common must be postponed this year. Our beautiful Common still needs some TLC before equipment, trucks and even lots of feet can be on it. The great news is that Santa Claus said we can mark our calendars now for Dec. 6, 2020 at 4 p.m. sharp! Christmas on the Common will be back bigger and better than ever — sponsored as always by our wonderful Rotary Club.
Sherry Farrell is town clerk in Londonderry a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.