Message from Nan Stearns on 08 May 2011

Dear WMD – Women Making a Difference,

A few years ago I wrote a little piece about Three Wise Men – as Pete and I had amazingly crossed paths, near the Christmas season, with David Broder, journalist extrordinaire, Ted Sorensen, JFK’s counselor, and Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church. It’s interesting how such serendipitous “bumpings into” make an impression that sticks with us. So yesterday was such a day – – and an early Mother’s Day gift for the two of us.

We started off for Hookset to attend the “summit” chaired by Mary Beth Ayvazian – – without a map. It took too long, and we arrived an hour late – too late to hear Jackie Cilley. But when we got out of the car, there was Jackie Cilley, whom we had not met, on the front porch as if to greet us. What a lovely lady! What an amazingly “smart cookie”. She could be our next Governor, and she will be happy to speak to WMD another day. We enjoyed the activites of the next hour, though we must admit to being totally lost during the discussion of using Face Book and Twitter as essential tools of communication. Mary Beth does a great job of leading the Granite State Guardians. Nancy Iannuzzelli was there, as was Silvia Gale (sp?) who told me she has been on the WMD e-mail list for years. Too she relies on our list to get out information. Kudos to our extraordinary Jeanne Ludt for taking care of that list for years. What would we do without her?

Earlier in the day we had taken a big leap of faith and called a restaurant in Center Barnstead, NH, and they had room for two at 6:30. So from Hookset we drove without a hitch directly to The Crystal Quail on Pitman Road. Annie Kuster had given us her book, The Last Dance, Facing Alzheimer’s with Love and Laughter, when we were helping with her campaign. The foreword was written by David Broder, who wrote: “It also has been our custom to pick an evening during the pre-primary weeks and drive off with a few others for dinner at the Crystal Quail, the tiny, world-class restaurant hidden off in the woods north of Concord on a road that only Malcom (Annie’s father) can reliably find.” To tell you about the Crystal Quail is not my purpose, but suffice it to say we dined royally and will go again on very special occasions. The owners, operators, chefs, waitress, bottle washers, garden tenders, host and hostess are Harold and Cynthia Huckaby. The only other sign of staff was the fat, happy, black cat who hung out in the kitchen, near the stove.

We had such interesting first chats with Cynthia, our server, and with Harold, the chef, as we left, and also asked Cynthia if she knew Gail Darrell, our Democracy School lady who lives in Barnstead. “Of course,” Cynthia lit up even more when Pete asked this question. She confirmed, as Gail had told us, that this lovely lady (Gail) had recently become very “active” in their community. She said, “Oh yes, she’s in the neighborhood.”

So here’s the deal from our point of view: Had we never been “active” (thanks to WMD), we would never have crossed paths with David Broder, we would never have met Annie Kuster, we would never have known Mary Beth Ayvazian, we would have missed Jackie Cilley, we would never have had Democracy School with Gail, we would never have visited the Crystal Quail, we would never have chatted with the Huckabys, and life would be the poorer for all of that. We count ourselves so fortunate; personally I feel so blessed to have had these lovely encounters near Mother’s Day.

We will see our own dear daughter this next week in New York City, when she and her husband and the grandparents attend the Essential Ellington Competition at Lincoln Center – Jazz at Lincoln Center – and cheer for the 2 o’clock Jazz Band from Wellesley High School. The tall, alto sax player, only a sophomore, is our grandson, Christopher. His is one of 15 jazz bands from all over the USA to have been selected to compete. It won’t matter who wins – – simply participating will be a thrill for each young budding musician. Our cups runneth over!

So, with that said – – Happy Mother’s Day.

Sending love and peace,

Nan

PS Both David Broder and Ted Sorensen have passed away. We were so lucky to have crossed paths with them. We look forward to bumping into all of the ladies who filled up our yesterday many more times. There were many more than three wise women.

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