Appreciating hugs and other kind gestures 

Sherry Farrell

How do some people just have a way of knowing what we need and when we need it without even asking? Some might say it is an instinctual sixth sense or sensitivity to others. This week my hat goes off to those wonderful people.

You know the saying "when it rains it pours?"  Well, that’s the kind of few weeks I have had. Many good parts but other parts that have had me worried, worried, and more worried. It happens to all of us at one time or another, and I guess the blessing is it doesn’t happen to all of us at the same time! Between health, family, homes and jobs, there can be so much going on.

I guess it’s a funny thing, too. Some people find tranquility in sharing what is going in their lives at work while others of us find tranquility from not bringing things up at work because it gives us a break from worrying about them. I guess for me it could be that once the flood door opens, it may never close. A lost day of work for sure.

The first person to just have that sense that something was a little off was our own Amanda Longo who works in our Finance Department. Amanda’s own plate is full, with a beautiful family, job and a dog. She’s also one of those people who gives 120% to everything she does. The world of hugs had pretty much stopped for the last year, but before that Amanda and I enjoy each other’s company in the office and halls, but that’s all we have really had time for. Life moves so fast.

Picture this, my mind was swirling with so many things. Amanda and I passed in the hall as we have a thousand times before. I gave Amanda that cheery everything is good smile, and then it happened. Amanda stepped in toward me and said something like, "You look like you need a hug." I must say, Amanda gave me one of the most caring, “I gotcha, it’s going to be OK” hugs I have had in a long time. How did she know? She just did! I didn’t want to let go!

Later in the week, some projects at home had my head spinning. What a mess is all I can say! We took on one of those things I always thought I longed for with no clue as to what it really would entail. Bart has become my holder of deepest fears and what-the-heck-did-we-do moments.

After seeing what appeared to be a small explosion in our yard, I headed to Bart's for that place where I can yell into a pillow. Bart listened as I described what things now looked like at home. He listened to my “I want it back to the way it was” whine, too! Bart thought carefully before he responded and then he said, “Sherry it’s just like surgery. You open things up and it looks like a mess, but then after you fix it and put it back together, it’s better than ever.” What a perfect comparison. I’m such a visual learner that I could picture that, too. 

Over the weekend our dear friends Van and Gerry Grevenhof invited us over for a visit. I had great plans of bringing them a little treat or gift. We were running early so we were going to pick something special up along the way. Well, as fate would have it, instead of leaving early, we ended up leaving almost an hour late. No time to do anything.

Now, how strange is this. John and I walk in pretty much empty-handed. First, they welcome us with those great hugs that we have missed for so long and then Van out of the blue points to the table. Van said to me directly, as though he somehow knew how I was feeling, “Sherry, in the Midwest we give our guest a little gift for coming to visit, instead of them bringing us something.” Gerry and Van had a beautiful handmade cutting board and coaster set that Van had made waiting for us. No gift was needed or expected from us. We will cherish these gifts from the heart.

On a side note, Van has been a craftsman for years. He has made and donated gifts for our first vaccination clinic, for little children to make them feel special and to our wonderful St. Gianna’s Place in Hudson, which was established to help moms and their unborn children who need a safe home. Van’s handmade rocking horses will be used through the years.

Now the one that has been near and dear to my heart for years. Lana (Newman) McDevitt and I met back at Pinkerton Academy in 1976. By the grace of God, we have been there for each other through most of life’s ups and downs. At some point in the last 44 years that we have shared, Lana started repeating to me these words when she knew I needed to lighten the mood and find comfort. Out of the blue, she started saying to me, “You're fine, you're fine, you're fine." Now it’s gotten to the point that I will just call her and say, "You know what I need to hear.” I can feel her smile through our phones before she says "You're fine, you're fine, you're fine."

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

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