Free and Beautiful in Londonderry

Beautiful free things right here in Londonderry. I never really have any idea where these On the Road stories will take us, but this week’s just started in a direction I never dreamed of before I went to bed, just a few hours ago.

I woke up early, again my mind spinning with so many thoughts of my road this week. Finally I started making little brain storming notes during my days so that I don’t forget some of the important parts. I knew I wanted to tell you about the Londonderry Times this week. I walked down our stairs, house pretty dark, with our dog (no, maybe my dog Shea) and looked up through our window. There, gleaming through my window was the most beautiful full moon surrounded in complete, almost like Halloween, darkness.

I tend to get very distracted when I look up to these free beauties. The stars, heaven, and dear goodness those unpredictable moons. Predictable yes, I know you can check a calendar, but like so many things in life just when you think you know what to expect, it’s on the calendar, you’ve planned, something pops up and changes your definite charted course and you have to switch gears. The moon and stars are like this too. The clouds, the weather, the surrounding lights can change our view. This morning it was perfect.

Now here is what I love about not always having a great plan. My plan was to start writing my story at 5:30 and maybe for once, ramble less and be done in much less time than I usually am. That moon threw my plan out the window! Then next thing I know I’m running through the house trying to find my daughter Mackensie’s phone; she has the best phone out of all of us to take pictures with. Now this is where life gets strange. I turn her phone on and this phrase is her screen saver. Ready, you won’t believe it either:

Shoot for the moon… Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars…

Now that took my breath away. The first part of my morning definitely went off plan beautifully! I hope Jackie, our amazing Office Manager, can download my picture so you can really see what I mean. Jackie can do just about anything with computers and she has a great personality, too! She puts up with all my questions, and I know you must be thinking: and you must have a zillion! She’s always kind and helpful. We are so lucky to have her.

I promised myself only two pages this week, I better get started.

When I came home yesterday to my very messy kitchen counter, I noticed someone (it may have been me the day before) had left the mail there for me to go through. I decided to take a second to clear things off; throw this away, throw that away. But then finally I came to something that is worth taking time to look at; our own town paper, the Londonderry Times. In my distracted counter mess that I was very annoyed at, I stopped and smiled. There looking back at me was this beautiful little girl hanging an ornament on one of the Christmas trees on our town common. I read on to learn that she is one of our little preschoolers from our own Learning Stop Preschool in town. And remember the owner Corrie writes our monthly column “Corrie’s corner”, which gives us all fun ‘free’ craft ideas for our kids.

If you haven’t seen or taken the time to really look at our Londonderry Times, you have too. I promise that picture will make you smile and brighten your day. For me, it kind of kicked off my Christmas cheer. Chris has taken so many memorable pictures for us throughout the years. This one might be my favorite yet. I‘m still turning to look at it as I type and it just makes me stop and smile.

Take time to look at our hometown paper. I know so many people are into their computers, and iPads. Everything really is on line. I know, I know, it’s our present, our future, but I don’t care what anyone says, I still like to flip through a paper, see a picture and circle things with a real pen if I want too. I know many people feel this way about their reading material now too. “Oh I’ll just buy it on e-books, I put it on my Kindle; it’s thin, it can slip into my purse.” Yuk to all that too.

Yes, of course John and the girls bought me a Kindle a while back, and yes of course I do use it and like it, and yes it’s convenient. But I still love to hold a real book, flip the pages, circle things if I want, dog ear the pages or put random things in it to help me remember where I was. I love holding a real book and reading a real newspaper. Seeing real pictures of our kids that I can cut out and put up on my refrigerator if I want too. I hope this never goes away. Oh dear, I’m on another roll. Sorry. Onto my real road this week.

This week I am only going to talk about two places in town. At least that’s my plan right now.

The first I have to tell you about is a business that I bet many of you have never walked into – Gold and Diamond Traders. I have been in and around this store almost every day for the last year and I have never stopped in. Honestly, I think I was a little nervous to. For one, I don’t have any gold or diamonds to trade, so why would I go in? What a world I have been missing, and you too I bet. Kathy and Craig at Pack and Ship have been telling me to go in and meet the new owner Saad for a couple months now. Wednesday I did. I opened the door and there in front of me were lovely jewelry cases with a variety for everyone. Variety on prices too! Truly something for everyone.

Now here is the other part. Saad has watch batteries, does jewelry repair and, yes, if you have some pieces of gold that you might want to sell, even if they are broken or tattered, you’ll be surprised at how much money you will receive for them. What I love the most about opening the door and walking in was meeting Saad. He is a family man, raising two beautiful children. His welcoming eyes and smile say, “Come in and look around.” He is fair and honest. I can just feel that in my heart.

He explained to me that many people get taken advantage of when selling their gold, so be careful. He told me how once he was taken advantage of years ago with gold pieces and he promises to never do that to anyone who walks through his door. He gives you a fair, honest price for what you have. I plan to bring some of the broken gold chains I have kept through the years into Saad and have him look at them. I also plan do part of my own Christmas shopping right there at Gold and Diamond Traders this year, now that I really understand everything they have and can do.

We all need to support these good people and their businesses right here in our town. Sadly, if we forget too, we will lose them. Let’s make it a pact this Christmas to do as much of our shopping as we can right here with our local businesses that support our community and are always there for us. Don’t forget about the game store in town, Countryside for our table arrangements, Lindt for our chocolate; no more empty store fronts, it makes me sad when I see them.

I’m going to begin to end my On The Road story this week, with a business that has been in Londonderry for many, many years. In a sense, many of us have grown through our adulthood with them; Al and Amy at Salon Bogar. I feel like sometimes as part of Visit Londonderry, I ignore them a little, and I would never mean too, but maybe that’s because in some ways they feel like family to many of us. Isn’t it true that often the people we take for granted the most are our family members or people who have always just seemed to be there for us?

Back when I was a very young teacher at our high school, Al took a chance on Londonderry and opened his first business as a very young man too, here in Londonderry off of Route 102. Back then, there was very little on the road compared to now. Al was from MA but knew of Londonderry as a nice place to Live, Work, and Play, even back then. In the beginning Al had I think three chairs in a small area and we would all come in from the back door. We were all starting out in life I guess.

Even back in the beginning, Al always made his clients feel like family and, even back in the beginning when I’m sure he wasn’t even sure the salon would make it here, he was always generous to help wherever he could, donating to help our schools, kids and community. Now I think back to Tammy’s comments about Avandi’s Restaurant, “Everyone knows your name,” and I think that’s Salon Bogar.

Al and his staff, back in 1993, helped me get ready for my wedding day. John and I were getting married at 6:00 pm at St. Jude’s; they were doing my hair and make-up and I was to be picked up at 5:00pm by my dad, to go home, put on my dress, take pictures and begin. 5:15: no one was there to pick me up; 5:20: still no one. Again, being an only child my parents were as frazzled about the idea of a wedding as I was. Somehow the bride wasn’t getting picked up. I will always remember Al, rushing around the salon, like a worried brother, watching the clock, worried, still no one, suddenly Al says, “That’s it, I’m driving you home.” So, so precious. I’ll never forget that.

Of course, just as he headed to get his keys, there comes my dad’s old white Monte Carlo swirling around the corner. Al was right in the heart of it with us. That kind of care and such a grateful heart for each and every client that walks through their doors is what Salon Bogar is all about. That’s just my story, I know there are many. Maybe you have one you could post here. They care, that’s the bottom line and they are grateful that you are part of their Salon Bogar Family. With Christmas right around the corner, even if you’re not stopping by with an appointment or maybe you’ve never gone in, go in. They have so many different, elegant and affordable gifts and services that you could pick for someone on your list. Don’t forget Gift Certificates too.

This weekend is Salon Bogar’s Annual Holiday Shopping Event. Friday and Saturday from 8:30 – 4:30 pm, you get a 20% discount on all products and merchandise if you bring a new unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. I know you won’t see this until Saturday, but head in, you’ll be surprised at how much you can check off your list. It’s great fun, too.

And if you’ve started mailing Christmas presents and cards, Pack and Ship will make it much easier and faster for you. And remember too, they have many great gift ideas also. I have to pick up the maple syrup cotton candy, made in NH, for the girls stockings.

Trivia question of the week: If anyone has a picture of Avandi’s pirate that once stood in the woods near the restaurant, we will give you a gift certificate to the restaurant!

Support our local businesses they really need us….. With A Grateful Heart Sherry<3

The amazing thing about being part of Visit Londonderry is that I never know exactly where a week will lead. Even though I have lived here since the 60′s, grew up at Kendalwood Condos, taught at the High School, and raised my family here, each day I learn something special about our community. One thing is for sure, Londonderry is the best place to Live, Work and Play! Each week I will share with you some of the amazing businesses and things I have learned about Londonderry.

Sherry is an account manager for the Londonderry Commerce and Visitors Center.  You can follow her at Twitter.com/Sherry_CVC

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