“Oh Canada” with Sherry

Oct 12, 2013 No Comments by

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.

This has always been a special weekend for all of us because of Columbus Day Monday. Many people have this Monday off and it’s a nice day to spend with family and friends if you do. For my family this weekend has always had another meaning too. I think I’ve mentioned this before but both my mom and dad were from Canada. My mom, Pearl was from Newfoundland, a beautiful island in Canada and my dad George or Brownie as he was often called from Nova Scotia, the city of Halifax.

For that reason, when other people might be having a final barbeque this Monday, my family always celebrated our Canadian Thanksgiving. For me as a child it was heaven, not one but two feasts within weeks of each other. Mom always had a 12 pound “Butterball” turkey, her homemade cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Oh and boy do I remember her gravy, never to be matched by another! She always used Gravy Browning which I bet most of you have never heard of. Not every year but every once in a while we still carry on the tradition.

One thing my friends would always ask me was why Canada’s Thanksgiving was different then the United States. Did you know that Canada started Thanksgiving even before we did, way back in the year 1578. Like us it is used to give “Thanks” for a bountiful harvest, but they do not relate it to the Pilgrims as we do, and the new world that Columbus found. They celebrate earlier than America, because remember Canada is North of us so their harvest season begins earlier in the year than ours does, and ends earlier too of course. Isn’t it neat to think of all this beginning over 500 years ago.

The explorer Martin Froobisher was trying to make his way to the orient, didn’t but landed on what is the providence of Newfoundland today. He really started the first day of Thanks. He was happy to be safe, and to have found a new place to settle. Yes, Indians were also invited to be a part of everything just like in America. At this time French settlers were also traveling to these new parts of Canada. This began our French Canadians that have brought so many talents and gifts to both of our countries.

Here in Londonderry, we have a company that started this same way, and I’m honored to say “I knew them when” but I know they would never remember me. When I was a teenager working at the Village Deli, with Michael Riccio of Café T’s, (to cute he was 12, I was 14), these great, beyond hard working men, would come in for lunch. One of the men Bob Filton had started a small business called Wallboard on Old Nashua Road. I remembered that I loved their beautiful French accents and that we could talk about Canada while they were waiting in line. Honestly as life goes on I hadn’t thought about any of that through the years. The world does get so very small though.

Three generations of men: Bob, Ryan, and John Filion, from left to right, of Wallboard Supply Company.

As I was making my Visit’s around town, I noticed a sign for Wallboard. More memories came back and I had to stop in. My goodness I am so proud of those men that I met 40 years ago. What a business they have created. The Wallboard facility is huge now, I pulled up and I walked right into the store front area and was welcomed by the nicest people. They listened to my story of the past, and about Visit Londonderry and said I should talk to Kerri Enwright. They called her and Kerri came right down to meet me. What a lovely representative they have found in Kerri. She is personable warm, and even though I was interrupting her day uninvited, she sat down and we shared stories. I could tell she too was very proud of Wallboard’s history. She told me that Bob Filton started the company in 1970, and he was from Quebec just as I remembered! Now his son John and his grandson Ryan run the business. They have 5 locations throughout New England and 65 employees! I love their new slogan. “We’re Not Just Rock Anymore,” how great is that! They have everything you could need now: Siding, Roofing, insulation, lumber, you name it they probably have it. A Londonderry success story!

All of this thinking about Canada and history the last couple days made me miss so many things, especially my mom and dad. John thought a drive to my favorite place the beach would help my heart.

We left very early in the morning after we dropped Lady M off at school. Our Seacoast was beautiful. As tears will have it, John’s nice idea made me very teary, that darn word “bittersweet” again. I guess I just wish I could relive even one minute of the times I spent there with so many people I loved.

The morning was going downhill quickly; honestly I just wanted to head home to our Londonderry “Roads”. John gave it one last effort to turn the morning around and said, “let’s go have breakfast.” Not an easy thing to do at the beach this time of year. We started heading toward Salisbury and just after we crossed that bridge by North Beach we saw a little breakfast shanty called Ida Mae’s Sandwich Shop and Grill.

We walked in and there I thought was Ida at the counter. I was still teary, but saw homemade muffins on the counter and things started to look up. Her prices were great and she made me something I use to make for the kids, I called it Cheesy Eggs.

I noticed when we first walked in that she was looking at us a little funny. Once we all got a little more comfortable she asked if we had seen the channel 9 news that morning, we hadn’t. Well it turns out that “Ida” and her husband own another restaurant in Merrimack, and it had been robbed! Ida was grateful that no one was hurt and that it happened during the night.

For some reason Ida and I started talking more and quickly found out that we had both lost our Moms, very suddenly too. Now at least I wasn’t alone anymore being teary. Now this is may seem really odd to you, but the more we talked we realized we both had something else in common too. I can promise you, you are not expecting this one. Ida (we also found out her real name is Karen) had her mom cremated but could not part with her ashes. Her mom is still in a beautiful urn in what was her bedroom by the beach. My mom and dad are still on a special shelf above me, where I type to you from each week. What are the changes that my “want to go home, sadness” would turn into a friendship. That’s why in this picture we are both smiling. I know someone is going to think, how naïve can she be “friendship?” I know I know, but as we left I said “Good bye my friend, Ida, even if we never see each other again.” I really believe God often puts us where we should be.

Well now that my spirits had been lifted John and I took a walk on the beach. Saw a horse on Hampton Beach even, with an English Rider, and then we headed home. One last stop on the way home, a place our friend Alex had told us about that he and his son Justin found after a camping adventure at Pawtuckaway Lake. Tuckaways Restaurant in Raymond NH, I felt like I was on vacation just walking through the door. An incredible butcher shop, fun gifts, an amazing restaurant that has the best waiting area that I have seen in any restaurant in the world! Yes the World! Above the fireplace they have a flat screen TV. No, it doesn’t have any old show on to keep you busy, wait for it. It is a full view of the entire kitchen working and preparing your food! I have never loved anything in a restaurant more! You have to see it to believe it, wish I’d taken a picture, but I will for you next time, better yet go over and see for yourself! You’ll thank me!

Also they sell homemade fudge, which I was hunting for. Remember last week I said “a little sugar can help just about anything”? This fudge is called Oh Fudge. It is made with the finest ingredients, and with love. I bought a box of Chocolate Walnut Fudge for only $6, it was out of this world. Here’s a picture of the box.

On the way home John reminded me that, we needed to stop by what use to be a date place for John and I: Sam’s Club. At the Sam’s Club in Rhode Island they had so many delicious samples, just like our Sam’s in Manchester, that we would go in on a Saturday afternoon to shop and sample too. Well I gave you a couple great food places and fudge too. But to steal Wallboards slogan “Sam’s is not just for food anymore!”

Many years ago, when we needed tires, John checked and compared prices and warranties just about everywhere, then we met Dan Courchesne. Dan is the Team Leader at Sam’s. He promised us the best service, and price and he has never let us down. Dan has been with Sam’s for 17 years and in my opinion he is so professional, personable and skilled at running this important end of Sam’s business, I think he should be their Regional Manager, at the very least! The reason we were stopping back was we had recently bought two new tires. What Dan asks you to do is come back after you have driven them 50 miles, so that he can check everything for you after they have been driven awhile. He gave us peace of mine and he cares. My hat goes off to Dan and Sam’s!

Dear Goodness Mackensie said “mommy these are so long” last week. I tried I tried. Next week I have to tell you all about Stacy, the Chamber of Commerce, Tiffany Gardens and something John Michaels told me a long time ago.

With a Grateful Heart and a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Hug to all my Canadian Family and Friends xoxox Sherry<3

On the Road with Sherry

About the author

Sherry has lived in Londonderry since the 1960's. Her mother was one of the first employees at Mr. Steer Meats. Sherry taught at the Londonderry High School for a number of years and spearheaded the first Career Education Class at the school. She has two daughters of her own with her husband John.
No Responses to ““Oh Canada” with Sherry”

Leave a Reply