A picture is worth a thousand smiles

Ellen Emery

My day begins with breakfast shared with The Gardener, a cup of coffee in hand and NBC’s “Today” program announcing the news of the day.

As I enjoyed my coffee this past week with thoughts on my plans for the day, I heard a name that I thought I had heard before.

News correspondent Keir Simmons aired a feature he had filmed before the pandemic.

He was in Namibia, Africa, covering a cheetah sanctuary as he interviewed Laurie Marker.

Keir Simmons told of the cheetahs’ race for survival and interviewed a woman whom he said has “dedicated her life to saving cheetahs — Dr. Laurie Marker.”

I immediately looked through previous columns until I found the Nov. 20 issue from last year.

It was in November that I had the marvelous opportunity to hear Nancy Boynton of Watertown speak in Massena about this sanctuary and Ms. Marker.

Nancy volunteers for a month at a time at the Cheetah Conservation Fund sanctuary, which is located in Otjiwarongo, Namibia.

She has volunteered for a number of years.

The CCF was founded in 1990 by Ms. Marker, I was told as I listened to Nancy’s fascinating story in November.

She also said this is a nonprofit association dedicated to the long-term survival of the cheetah.

“They are an endangered animal,” Nancy told us last fall. “The cheetah deserves a place on this Earth.”

How fascinating to watch the Keir Simmons interview about the woman whom Nancy from Watertown told us about.

The NBC correspondent walked with Laurie Marker as he filmed the cheetahs at the sanctuary.

He told the viewers, as Nancy had a few months ago, about the “cheetahs’ race to survival … the cheetah is an endangered animal.”

My thanks to Nancy Boynton for traveling to Massena and sharing her story of her volunteer work at the cheetah CCF sanctuary in Africa.

And thanks, too, to NBC and reporter Keir Simmons for bringing national attention to this story of survival of a fascinating feline, the cheetah.

I was amazed to see Nancy’s story on “Today” for everyone to see.


Music has always been part of my life.

My father loved to play the piano and in the 1950s would have jazz band rehearsals at our home from time to time.

There was always music on the then record player and piano lessons on my schedule from age 7 on.

I love to listen to music, especially the music of James C. Phillips and the works of Bach and Beethoven.

Monday, I heard a fun musical parody that is a favorite this week.

Quentin Lee, principal of Childersburg High School in Alabama, wrote a parody of the MC Hammer song, “Can’t Touch This.”

Mr. Lee’s version was written, he explained, to help influence his students.

The song “Don’t Touch This — COVID parody” includes instructions in music to “pull that mask up” and directions for sanitizing and social distancing.

The instructions include a video with the principal and three of his students.

What fun — safety instructions during the pandemic and all to music!

A few years ago, I discovered that my brother-in-law enjoyed solar-powered characters.

I soon found a bobblehead figure that took on fun animation when sunlight hit the small solar panel to add to his collection.

As I purchased a few solar figures for my brother-in-law, I also selected a few for The Gardener.

As I looked through a catalog that arrived at our home recently, I noticed an item of a familiar figure: Beethoven.

It seems that 2020 is the 250th anniversary of the great musician and composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth.

Certainly, that date should be celebrated!

The figure advertised pictured a conducting Beethoven complete with a baton in hand.

After reading the description and closing the catalog a few times, I decided a directing Beethoven needed to be in our home.

The order was placed, and this week Beethoven arrived.

What fun to have Beethoven in our living room directing frantically as the sun strikes his solar panel.

And then The Gardener commented on my Beethoven.

The comment was made that Beethoven shouldn’t be silent — we should hear music.

I agreed. The solar figure should at least play Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Ode to Joy!).

We are still enjoying our directing Beethoven, but the music enjoyed can only be played from my iPad.

Perhaps a suggestion should be made to the company to include a music box with any solar-powered Beethoven so we could hear his music as he directs.

I agree; Beethoven should never be silent.


As I am sure most of you realize by now, I enjoy chocolate.

And a special treat is a s’more — the combination of chocolate and melted, gooey marshmallow is heavenly, at least to my palate (especially with a cup of coffee in hand).

Last week as I placed my order at Speedway Plaza Subway (it has a terrific window for pickup!), I asked if they had s’more cookies, remembering last year’s delicious summer offerings.

They had s’more cookies so that was included in my order.

We drove to the locks to watch ships pass (which we always find fascinating) and enjoy our subs.

What a treat to be able to enjoy the Subway s’more cookie — a perfect combination of chocolate and marshmallows with chocolate drizzled perfectly across each one.

My thanks to everyone at Subway for providing a way we can enjoy our take-out meal, for making our supper perfect and for the delicious s’more cookies!

(A special thank you to the young woman Saturday evening who took my order with such kindness and had it ready at the window when we arrived.)

Isn’t the north country a wonderful place to live, watch ships and enjoy the terrific sandwich making skills at Speedway?

I certainly think so.


“There are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

— Fred Rogers

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.