All the little joys of life deserve our finest dishware

Ellen Emery

A feature on a morning talk show fascinated me. I remembered the gentleman who was being interviewed and was amazed by his positive message of hope and the announcement of a new coffee shop.

Eric LeGrand, a former Rutgers University football player, told of his new venture. The LeGrand coffee blends (and a mug, too!) can be purchased online with a coffee shop LeGrand Coffee House in his hometown of Woodbridge, N.J.; it will open this summer. I have already checked the online shop — the mug holds 14 ounces of coffee, so it is a must for my online purchase!

I am sure there are many of you who remember this young man. In October 2010, he sustained a spinal cord injury during a Rutgers University football game.

In the interview last week, Eric told viewers he had been told he would never walk on his own, never be able to eat solid food and never breathe on his own. This inspirational young man believed he could do those things, though, explaining how he “overcame obstacles.”

He is confined to a wheelchair but tells people he now “looks at life with new appreciation” and advises us all to “look at what you can do rather than what you can’t do.” What an amazing message.

Eric had never enjoyed a cup of coffee until August of last year. He took his first drink “straight-up black” and loved its flavor, commenting that he found it to be “smooth”!

More than the flavor of the coffee, though, he sees a coffee shop as a place to gather. His motto is “Believe.” And he hopes that through the LeGrand Coffee House, people can be brought together to share a positive outlook and a message that they can accomplish anything.

When he is asked why he would attempt to open a coffee house during a pandemic, his response is to share a reminder that we can accomplish anything if we set our mind and heart to it — and believe.

Eric LeGand’s philanthropic organization, Team LeGrand, has already raised more than $1 million for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. This group addresses concerns with spinal paralysis.

I love this young man’s positive attitude, and I find absolute joy in the fact he is centering his positivity around coffee and his coffee house. I hope others will support him and enjoy visiting and join together sharing positive thoughts — with a mask and at a distance (you can actually drink coffee through a straw under your mask, I have discovered!). Until we can visit safely in New Jersey, I will purchase my LeGrand coffee online and enjoy my LeGrand coffee at home as I think of this young man and appreciate the day.


It is always interesting to see the contrasts in perspectives on temperatures and weather conditions in various parts of the country and on different days. My sisters in California this past week were actually cold when their thermometer was at 50 degrees. That same day, our temperature was minus 14 with a high that barely hit double figures.

Monday, there was a trip to Massena for an appointment with the dental hygienist. It was a beautiful day with the sun shining brightly and the sky a beautiful azure.

As we traveled home the back way, I noticed a gentleman seated on his front porch. Although he was wearing a winter coat, he was seated seemingly taking in the beauty of the day. I checked my phone and the temperature at that moment was 14 degrees!

Even on this chilly north country afternoon, at least one gentleman was porch-sitting. Something in California on a 50-degree day wasn’t thought of — at last not by my siblings.

This week, my sisters’ 50-degree weather would be warm. But on a summer day even in the north country, that 50-degree weather would be another chilly forecast.


Phil Schwartz will celebrate his birthday on Sunday. It is always such a joy now to be able to visit with this terrific gentleman — on the telephone or through a note on a card.

Hopefully, there will be a time in the near future when we can visit in person! The Clockman and I send our warmest birthday wishes with wishes for only the best for you in the year ahead. Happy Birthday, Phil!


The Gardener has already begun his thoughts of spring and planting. The seed catalogs have been read from cover to cover with orders placed and at least one order received.

This week, seeds were planted (in a hanging basket out of the reach of our feline friend, Tigger, who loves plants for digging and consuming). The seeds planted a few short days ago have sprouted with tiny plants now showing above the edge of the hanging basket. Certainly, spring is on its way.


“The only failure is if you don’t make the attempt.”

— Bryan Cranston

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