Clerks provide essential services in north country

Ellen Emery

Today is a national holiday.

When I received the February issue of a national magazine a few weeks ago I noticed a headline centered on Feb. 17.

The page was saved for remembering and sharing.

Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day.

I am thrilled there is a day set aside for kindness, but I also feel deeply that each day should be filled with intentional acts of kindness.

When I researched the meaning of this day, I discovered it was established in 1995 as a “day to practice kindness.”

There were many suggestions of actions we might take to practice kindness.

The first suggestion was to smile at strangers.

As I read that suggestion, I thought that perhaps the list should be changed to reflect our lives during a pandemic.

Although I have seen wonderful smiles above a mask, smiling most times is literally masked from our view.

Perhaps we should all carry small notebooks or even sticky notes.

When we appreciate someone behind the counter or want to express kindness to a friend, we could write a simple “Thank you” on our notepad.

With that “Thank you” held up for viewing, hopefully that would let someone know how much we appreciate their work or friendship.

A few years ago, I worked with a young man (a goaltender) who was totally deaf. Our communication on most days was through handwritten comments on a notepad.

Perhaps we should once again become accustomed to carrying a pen and pad for shared thanks.

I hope you will begin your many 2021 acts of kindness today.

Let’s celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day by showing others how much we appreciate them or perhaps just extending a hand of kindness to someone in the drive-through line or in the aisle of the local store.

A note of thanks also would be a wonderful act of kindness or a text showing gratitude or even a telephone call.

In the article I read about this holiday, the comment was made that we would “make the world a better place one act of kindness at a time.”

I agree and hope you and I can begin today and fill the north country with kindness and caring.


Norma Wood of Massena will celebrate her birthday Thursday.

What a marvelous woman.

Anytime spent with Norma is a very good day.

She made every visit to Cornell’s Dry Cleaners on Main Street a joy.

Coffee together on Main Street also was a treasured time.

My warmest wishes, Norma, for only the best as you celebrate your birthday.


Robert Hampton celebrates his birthday Monday.

Robert is a good friend and an avid sports fan.

He knows the details of each game watched and the statistics for the sports he follows.

I am sure Robert could tell you every detail of the Daytona 500.

Have a great birthday, Robert.

My best wishes for only the best in the year ahead.


Last week I received a Valentine’s Day card from a friend who once lived in Massena.

This friend moved to a different state a few years ago.

I had sent a Christmas card but had not heard and wondered how my friend and her family were doing.

I understand some people aren’t mailing cards now but was concerned about my friend.

The card was a photo of my friend and her entire family.

It was a beautiful card with personal touches wishing the recipients a Happy Valentine’s Day.

A small Valentine’s Day card had been glued at the left of the picture with heart stickers placed throughout the family photo.

What an absolutely wonderful greeting.

The note accompanying the card explained how my friend had fallen after the picture had been taken.

Because she was recovering from injuries, the cards, which had been meant as a Christmas greeting, were never sent.

The transformation of the Christmas greetings to one for Valentine’s Day was marvelous.


My friend demonstrated her creativeness as she changed the Christmas greeting to warm wishes for Valentine’s Day.

February was an ideal time to hear from a friend and see her family smiling.

We should send greetings throughout the year to dear friends.

Sharing family news and greetings should never be limited to Christmas greetings.

I would urge you to take a family photo and transform that card into greetings for an upcoming holiday.

Reach out to those you love and who perhaps you haven’t been able to see for some time.

Share your greetings throughout the year this year.


Although as I write this column on Monday, there are winter weather advisories and predictions of snowstorms.

But I see glimpses of hope this week that spring is not far away.

I am sure you all check expiration dates as I do.

This week as I put my yogurt away, I noticed an expiration date of April 1.

How thrilled I was to realize that April wasn’t that far away — that means spring is almost here!

The website told me that the St. Lawrence Seaway would reopen the end of March, just weeks away.

This is truly a sign of the arrival of a new season.

And this week I watched the live video from the Cornell University bird cam of Big Red, the red-tailed hawk.

Big Red had come to the nesting area to prepare her nest.

I always love watching this magnificent hawk family as they raise their young each year on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca.

The videos provided through the live bird cam from Cornell are wonderful. Another sign that spring is near.

The countdown for spring on this day is 30 days!

Hopefully soon warmer, coatless days will arrive as we celebrate a new season.


“No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.”

— Aesop

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