Finding Gratitude, Embracing the Positive!
Karen and Jay share insights on where to find the positive spirit when times are challenging.
There are times when you need to dig down deep, go far beyond your normal limits – and find an inner strength to sustain and propel you forward. For many of us, this is one of those times. One of those moments, when past months may have been tough, and the future may seem foggy at best. And so, it is right now that we need to find gratitude for the many blessing in our lives and embrace the power of the positive spirit.
This is true for each of us as individuals, as well as for our nation. Over the course of history, America has had to endure times of great turbulence. Each of these experiences has not only tested the strength of our democratic institutions, but also our will as citizens to believe in our country’s continued promise and see our way through the uncertainty of uncharted moments of darkness. Just one week into this new year, our nation, and we as individuals, find ourselves tested once again.
We are a vast country, and diverse in many ways, but founded on core principles that form the basis for unity and optimism. Our American spirit is based on a commitment to freedom and the right of every individual to be to seek to fulfill his or her full potential. Our nation was founded to be a beacon of opportunity. As George Washington put it, the founding of our nation was, “the last great experiment for promoting human happiness."
Over the course of my life, I have had the good fortune of having been able to travel far and wide across these United States of America. From New Hampshire to New Mexico, Boston to Birmingham, the Atlantic to the Pacific, I have met people of all creeds and colors and have seen many of the beautiful landscapes this magnificent place we call home offers us. What I have found throughout my travels is an unspoken bond between us as Americans that is rarely discussed in the media of today, but which profoundly connects each of us to one another as citizens. That is, regardless of political affiliation or viewpoint, each of us desire many of the same things and believe in the American way of life. The ability to live freely, with a roof over our heads, food on the table, family, love and kindness. Simply put, the ability to lead a good life. The actions of a minority of individuals to destroy this peace through acts of violence needs to be widely and universally condemned. It is only through the maintenance of a civil society, committed to the rule of law – that we can enjoy our individual freedoms and achieve our full potential as individuals and as a nation.
In the spring of 1968, Robert F. Kennedy, or Bobby Kennedy as we know him better, the brother of our 35th President John F. Kennedy, was campaigning for President in the state of Indiana when news broke about the assination of one of o Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The nation was rife with turmoil at the time, from protests of the Vietnam war to ongoing civil rights protests. The death of Dr. King had the potential to trigger violence unlike anything already seen during this turbulent era. Yet Mr. Kennedy, who had a speech prepared for the large crowd that awaited him in Indianapolis, decided to speak from the heart instead, and shared these words which I’m sure will resonate with many of us today.
“We have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times…..What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.”
So, today, as we find ourselves burdened and fatigued by the long and continuing effects of the pandemic this past year, as well as the violence and unrest that we have experienced on a national level, we each have an opportunity. We can choose to find gratitude in our daily lives and find an inner strength. I ask that we all reach deep down together and be a force for unity and positivity in our own communities so we can renew the great promise of our nation, one step at a time.
Littleton - Not a Little Town, But a Great Town!
As someone who is the product of a small town, I am an unabashed, enthusiastic champion for small towns. This week, I’d like to highlight the town of Littleton, New Hampshire, which serves as an economic hub for the North Country. With a population of close to 6,000 people, Littleton is known as a vibrant community, supportive and exciting for the small business owner, the civic minded and those with community spirit.
Littleton is where my father was born, where he grew up and went to high school. It is the area where many of my relatives still live. Where people can enjoy the great outdoor experiences and recreation that northern New Hampshire has to offer. Over the years Littleton has had its ups and downs like any other community, but anchor businesses have persisted, standing strong and in fact, still in business today, creating new foundations for success. Stores like Lahout’s – starting out as one family store on Union Street in Littleton, now with eight locations and boasting the title of ‘America’s Oldest Ski Shop.’ Chutters, the Littleton candy shop located on the Main Street (which holds the record for the world’s longest candy counter – 112 feet in length) has been a staple of the community for many years. The Littleton Coin Company, employing 350 people, probably the best-known coin dealer in America.
Meanwhile, new restaurants with unique cuisines and culture are providing fresh opportunities for the community. One of the very favorites for Karen and myself is the Chang Thai Café, founded by our friend, the very talented entrepreneur and chef, Emshika Alberini. Then of course, there is the Schillings Beer Co. This unique craft brewing company resides in an 18th-century grist mill which overlooks the Ammonoosuc River just off the Main Street. This small town brewery distributes to select craft beer retailers in Vermont, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Michigan, Virginia, and Washington DC.
Littleton is a hub for innovation, commitment, and entrepreneurial ingenuity. A small town always ready to step up. Littleton has defied the odds, risen above many challenges and has achieved remarkable success. A wonderful community that has embraced the past, present, and future in order to do great things.
The bottom line, small towns and their businesses are doing big things. Despite the odds, they rally with a sense of pride and community spirit!
New Hampshire State Government - Meeting at the ‘Drive In’
As many of you may well know, the New Hampshire State House is one of a kind. As a former State Representative, myself, I cherish its large size of 400 members and the small districts that produce a unique citizen legislature. A collegial body where everyday individuals can interact freely and participate in a true ‘person to person’ governmental body.
Enter, however, 2021, and the great pandemic. How do you have 400 legislators meet to conduct the business of the people when there is not a venue in the state large enough to accommodate them with social distancing? Meanwhile, ‘meeting outdoors’ is not truly an option because obviously, New Hampshire in January is, well, very cold. And of course, complicating things even further – the Legislature is comprised largely of ‘at risk’ individuals, with the average age of members being over 64 years old. Thus, a recipe for disaster. A zoom meeting was proposed but perhaps you’ve experienced all the difficulties of a remote meeting with just 10 people. Now imagine multiplying that complexity by 40 times. Everyone saying, “can you hear me” and “hey, you are still on mute”. And, possibly worse.
So, what to do? Granite State ingenuity to the rescue…Introducing the ‘Drive-In Legislature.’ In true ‘can-do,’ entrepreneurial spirit the House leadership devised an ingenious idea, to have all the legislators use their cars as a mini-offices and participate in one large parking lot! This allowed for in-person voting, but from the comfort of each member’s own vehicle. Each elected official was given a remote device and after some minor technical difficulties, the process kicked off, proceeded without a hitch and was well received. What a great way to solve a uniquely New Hampshire problem! And, of course, with Granite State ingenuity.
Positive Profile of the Week – Dave Currier
As someone who enjoys finding ways to help businesses succeed, I am inspired by stories of those who defy the odds, embrace the power of the human spirit, and always find the next challenge to embrace. My friend Dave Currier is just that person. Most people who google Dave will find stories of his hobby and venture today - Henniker Brewing Company, located in central New Hampshire. But before we talk about Dave’s passion project, I want to share some of Dave’s many other achievements.
Dave is a community icon, serving in public office as both a New Hampshire State Senator and as a member of the House of Representative. In so doing, he was universally respected for bringing a business approach to government, coupled with an appreciation for the environment – and always with a commitment to help preserve the New Hampshire way of life.
An outdoor enthusiast, early in his career he served as manager of the area’s leading ski resort, Pat’s Peak, in Henniker. Subsequently, Dave founded Bound Tree Medical, a company specializing in emergency medical equipment and supplies which became an international powerhouse. You would think that would be enough for someone and maybe enjoy some fishing and a second home in Arizona. But not Dave Currier.
Dave is owner and operator of Henniker Brewing Company. The brewery occupies the old northeast distribution center of his former medical business. Brining a business approach to a hobby, Henniker Brewery is a leader in the microbrew industry in the northeast. You can find his ales in most stores in New Hampshire and on tap at restaurants throughout the region.
During COVID 19, keg sales for many breweries have seen a constant decline but local sales at retail grocers have experienced a boom. As a result, Dave has turned his focus to canning and increasing his products’ presence in local stores.
Dave is an avid advocate for supporting his community and its members. He invites local food vendors to participate in providing food to his tasting room patrons. He contributes unique experiences to help non-profits hit their fundraising goals, and he is a mentor people can rely on. An incredible example of someone who embraces the power of the human spirit and lives it day in and day out. We are indeed fortunate to have Dave as a wonderful friend, leader and selfless contributor to the common good!
Quotes of the Week: Reaching Deep, Staying Strong!
“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”
John F Kennedy
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
“Never give in.. never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force.. never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Sometimes you can't see the road ahead but as you keep going, it gets clearer. Stay the course as the fog of life dissipates.”