Some see collecting treasures as hoarding!

Ellen Emery

Newspaper headlines and television news broadcasts have all centered this past week on a first anniversary.

It was one year ago when we first heard of a disease called COVID-19, a devastating condition resulting from a viral pandemic. It brought with it a time of quarantine, devastating illness and unthinkable loss of life.

It was exactly one year ago today when The Gardener and I last entered Walmart shopping in person for our groceries. Walmart had scheduled an early morning time for those ages 65 and older to shop (and, yes, we fit that category).

While it was still dark, we drove to Massena to shop at 6 a.m. With news of this deadly disease by the next week, I attempted online shopping.

Since that time, there have been no Walmart in-person shopping days and only a very few early morning trips to Price Chopper. All other shopping has been online or drive-through excursions. How grateful we are for these services, for our postal clerks and rural letter carriers, delivery personnel, the Walmart online cashiers and each one in the window at a drive-through.

Appointments this past year in our home and I know for most of you have been cancelled or postponed. There have been new restrictions and guidelines for any appointment kept with calls ahead, waivers signed, temperatures taken and masks worn.

How grateful we are for scientists and each one in the medical field who have worked diligently to develop a vaccine to protect us from COVID-19. My thanks, too, for each one locally who is working to make sure each one who qualifies receives the vaccine.

The Gardner and I have now received both of our vaccines. What an absolute joy it was to see that tiny printed card with the written dates of two COVID-19 vaccines administered. We now could both (still masked and at a 6-foot distance) resume our normal lives to some degree.

Our family (especially our grandchildren) were notified of our vaccines. A visit is talked about in the months ahead when other family members have received their shots as well. The countdown has begun for our family to be together.

This week, I made a much-needed appointment with Lori Collins at Hairitage House on East Orvis Street. My hair needed to be cut and, yes, I will admit to it: colored, too.

I am usually in need of Lori’s skilled touch about every four weeks. It has been some time since I have been in her chair. And the brunette, which has been my hair color for some time, had been transformed during this time of quarantine into whiteness.

With the kind advice of my daughter-in-law, sister and YouTube videos, I actually tried the color process myself. Although the advice was wonderful, my attempts at performing the actions of a hairdresser were not successful.

This week, an activity that once was routine was an event to be counted down and then celebrated. It was wonderful to see Lori once again, to visit even through a mask — and to see her work her magic.

We have learned much from this past year. I have learned to appreciate every aspect of our life, especially the daily routine activities that in the past I have taken for granted. Yes, the routine date is now circled on the calendar — the days are counted down and celebrated.

How grateful I am this week to have been able to keep an appointment with Lori. I look forward to other “routine” activities that I fully appreciate.


Our trips to Massena are far less than a year ago with our stops to purchase gas for our car considerably less as well. This week, the readings on my dash told us it was time to purchase gas. We stopped at Western Door on our way home from Massena.

The masked gas attendant said “Hello” to The Gardener who was in the driver’s seat. I recognized the familiar face and said “Hello” from my vantage point.

Art McGee was filling our gas tank. What a fine gentleman — I have known Art since we first met in the shoe department at Ames. How kind he was and how friendly his greetings were as he wished us well.

Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live and purchase gas on a weekday afternoon? I certainly think so.


My notifications from the National Day calendar have told me this is National Crafting Month. There have been numerous stories and articles this past year about those of us at home developing skills and actually accomplishing craft projects.

I hate to admit it, but crafting is not my area of expertise. We have amazing artists in our family. My mother-in-law was extremely talented in creating any hand-crafted item: sweaters that fit perfectly knitted without a pattern. She attempted to teach me numerous crafts but was unsuccessful.

This past year, I sorted numerous boxes that I had tucked away. They were filled with delightful items (I believe I have shared some of my findings with you): letters and pictures.

In one box discovered under our bed, I found a partially completed latch hook rug. I worked on latch hook rugs perhaps 40 years ago.

I remember making pillow coverings for our sons with this method. This one wasn’t complete, so I have worked diligently the past few weeks matching the yarn to the pattern and pulling each stand through the loops.

The rug is almost complete, although crafting is not my thing. I have listened as viewers are told that we can relax by learning a craft. I definitely do not relax as I work on my project each evening.

And when I looked at the picture accompanying the rug, it appears the decoration should be fruit — mine looks like flowers! My granddaughter actually told me latch hook rugs were “in”! I honestly wasn’t interested in being part of Craft Month or crafting during a pandemic — I just thought this 40-year-old project should be completed.

I would love to hear if any of you have been working on craft projects as you celebrate National Crafting Month or during your time at home this past year and wonder if you have found your crafting to be relaxing. For me, crafting and relaxing do not go hand in hand.


For those of you who have mentioned our feline friend, Tigger, and the time change: Since Sunday, he has asked for his supper at 4 p.m. The time change has been a success.


“Do not regret growing old, many are denied the privilege.”

— Anonymous

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