As we wind down the hallowed year of 2013, I find myself reminiscing – something I do more of, as I get older – about the events of 2013 for which I am thankful. Some are tinged with sadness; others are just outright joy.

I am truly thankful that my Dad is at peace (hopefully among the angels!) and no longer suffering. He had a tough year. I am thankful for his life and the good life he gave us growing up. He is my hero.

I am thankful for my Mom too. She has weathered Dad’s passing with the vulnerable stoicism we’ve come to know. She has learned to live her own life, with constant support from us kids. She gave up a career as a hygienist years ago to marry and raise her family. For that I will always be grateful. She raised us right (even though she never knew until later, what wise guy the two boys could be). And we always had nice white teeth. That hygienist thing, I’m sure.

I am thankful for my siblings – two sisters and a brother – who pulled together to help our Dad, particularly during his last few months, and also supported our Mom during and after Dad’s passing. We did not squabble over who did what, who did more, who did the most during that timeframe – unlike so many families I know, who take such opportunities to rip their families apart. You’ll find any two of us talking about a third sibling every now and then, but we all seem to know what family is and what it means to us.

I am eternally thankful for my wife Joanne. Many people who know me call her a saint. I’m sure I don’t know why… But we still do many things together, from shopping to snoring. She helped me raise two wonderful kids, who are now pursuing their dreams. Robert is a tank commander in the Marine Corps, survived two tours in Afghanistan, and is now a Captain. He can do many more than the 50 pushups I can do…well, almost 50, these days. Danielle is attending Tuft Medical School to become a Physician’s Assistant. Years ago, she wanted to be a surgeon; then she said maybe “just” a doctor. Then she apparently though about that time commitment and figured that, since she wanted to have five kids someday, she’d like to be a PA. Better hours for raising all those kids, we were told. Such a practical young lady…she’ll do well.

I am excitedly thankful that our son and daughter-in-law Erin are poised to give us our first grandchild in June. Finally, I will catch up to my brother, who is two years younger and already has nine grandchildren, the oldest being 18. I’m trying to decide what I want to be called by the next generation. Grandpa? Poppo? King? My wife has settled on Nana for title. I think I might like Papa. It’d be easy for me to remember, so few letters and all. I’ll probably have to clean up my act a bit. Right now, when I get together with my grandniece and grandnephew, I love goading them on. And they love it too. But will I have to put on that sterner, patriarchal image with my own grandchildren and be less of a clown? As I think about that, naw… What are grandparents for, really, if not to get down to a kid’s level, right? That’s not a big stretch for me anyhow. That’s why they call my wife a saint.

I’m thankful for our community of friends and family, some we’ve known forever, some we just met, and most, with whom we just connect occasionally, always picking up where we left off last time. I enjoy my quarterly lunch with a couple of friends from college, and breakfast every month or so with a few local friends. I enjoy church suppers at our church where many people roll their eyes at my antics. I love interacting with friends in the many organizations to which Joanne and I belong – St. Jude Parish, our ALERT team, the VFW in Pelham, MooreMart, my brothers in the Knights of Columbus, the Blue Star Mothers, my NH Freedom Cup buddies. They all roll their eyes too… I think we’ll have plenty to keep us busy when we do retire.

I am thankful for all that God has given us – and the things he hasn’t, so that we can learn what is really important in life and why we are really here.

And I am thankful for you too, readers! If you didn’t read my stuff, I’d have to talk to myself more often. And that could be dangerous, if not interesting.

So have yourself a Happy New Year. And reminisce about what you, too, are thankful for. It’s all worthwhile. Especially if they roll their eyes.

Visit Londonderry Hometown Online News every Tuesday Morning for another one of Joe’s great columns! Select “Share this story” and tell a friend Joe is back!

Joe’s Two Cents – It’s Great To Be Alive is Joe Paradis’ first published book and gathers 40 of his most popular stories, enhancing them with humorous photography. The book is a compilation of forty of Joe’s best short stories.

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This classic collection has been updated to include pictures and a short introduction for each story. Until now, only God knew what possessed Joe to write about these things. Now you can too!

Joe Paradis is one of Londonderry’s most popular columnists and authors. Visit his web site at today and order his latest autographed book, “It’s Great to Be Alive!”


Mack’s Hosts Raffle for Local Non-Profit Helping Soldiers

Mack’s Apples in Londonderry will be raffling off a donated painting made specifically for Moore*Mart, a local non-profit organization that sends care packages to soldiers serving overseas. The raffled painting, which will be on display at the farm stand on Mammoth Road, will provide funds for purchasing items for care packages and to cover shipping costs.

This original painting, titled “Sons of the Republic”, was painted by Londonderry artist Michael James Toomy, of Londonderry Fine Art. Toomy, an accomplished pop artist, has been involved with Live Nation’s Rock & Art Charity Event in Boston, Massachusetts. Here, his portrait of musician Mark Knopfler was sold to actress Glenn Close. He also created “Throwaway” for Amnesty International’s Chapter “The Boston Firefly Project.” Toomy’s artwork has been on display in galleries and shows from Londonderry and Boston to New York City.

The 36″ x 24″ painting “Sons of the Republic” is valued at $1,500. Tickets for the raffle can be purchased at Mack’s Apples, Mack’s Ice Cream, or Moore*Mart. Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25. The winner will be announced during the annual Art in Action event this November. Those participating in the raffle do not have to be present to win. All proceeds from the raffle will benefit Moore*Mart.

To date, Moore*Mart has shipped over 35,000 care packages to soldiers serving overseas. The decorated bags contain items such as socks, candy, granola bars, beef jerky, and letters of encouragement for the soldiers, as well as soccer balls and school supplies that soldiers can give out to residents in the communities where they work. Mack’s Apples Farm Market and Ice Cream is an official Moore*Mart drop-off location. A list of recommended items can be picked up at Mack’s Apples or at the Moore*Mart website.


MooreMart Provides “Moore” Than Supplies to Soldiers

Four years ago, MooreMart began when Paul Moore and Carole Moore Biggio decided to send their brother and his fellow soldiers supplies that were unavailable but much needed. Since then, they have continued to send the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan the supplies that are still in high demand. From financial donations from the community, items like socks, granola bars, Christmas items, Easter treats, and encouraging notes have been delivered to the soldiers from New Hampshire who are actively serving overseas. The brother-sister team was dubbed MooreMart because they were said to “carry more supplies than Wal*Mart”.

More recently, MooreMart has expanded their donation quest to include supplies for the underprivileged children living in Iraq and Afghanistan. The children need items like school supplies, toys and outerwear. The main focus of their donations are the villages where the children’s schools either never existed or were destroyed.

Children such as these benefit from the donations made to MooreMart.

MooreMart has been nationally recognized by both members of the Armed Forces, as well as American political figures. Commendations have been received throughout the years that MooreMart has been providing it’s services. US Senator John E. Sununu wrote, “I am pleased to express my thanks and appreciation to all you and the Moore*Mart volunteers……Moore*Mart further showcases the important tradition New Hampshire has played in our country’s military….”. Soldiers have responded with many thanks, like this one from “Alton”, “You guys rock!!! I send thoughts of heartfelt joy, happiness…….. I wish you could be here just for a moment at mail call, to see the gleam, appreciation, and pride in the eyes of the soldiers here…..”.

Within the next 18 months, over 1700 men and women will be deployed from the New Hampshire National Guard, Reserves and Active Duty Personnel. Over 100 Marines from New Hampshire will be joining them.

MooreMart is hosting a breakfast to salute the members of the United States Armed Forces that have already served in the Middle East. On March 10th, at 7 AM, the doors to the Grappone Center in Concord, NH will open to members of the community who would like to show their support. The breakfast will begin at 7:30 AM and will commence around 9 AM. The breakfast will also help raise awareness of deployments, as the 2010-2011 deployment will be the largest from New Hampshire in the state’s history.

A minimum donation of $25 per person is expected, but more is highly appreciated. There are hopes that all 25 tables of the breakfast will be filled, with a total of 10 people per table. Groups are encouraged to pool their money and reserve their own table. If a group would like to donate to the breakfast, arrangements could be made concerning seating at the table and the table location. The benefactor of the donation would then receive 9 tickets; the tenth ticket would go to an active duty soldier or marine, who would be free. The benefactor would also be recognized for the donation.

Breakfast Event March 10th 7am

If you have questions about making a donation or attending the breakfast, feel free to contact MooreMart at:

Carole Moore:
Deb Bohannan:
Paul Moore:

Or write to them at:

P.O. Box 1604
Nashua, NH 03061

Please feel free to comment on this story, or your experiences or stories about MooreMart.