A picture is worth a thousand smiles

Ellen Emery

Last week as the snow fell at our Bombay home, I reached for my cellphone and quickly snapped a photo.

It was a fun photo of The Gardener clearing our driveway with the snowblower. Snow cascaded across the driveway from the snowblower adding beauty to my picture. Within minutes and with just a touch on the screen, the picture had been sent and received by my sisters in California and our sons miles away.

I smiled as I did remember what seemed to be just a few short years ago. The Gardener added the title of Photographer to his name. I had always used a very basic camera to take photos of our sons and their activities, while The Photographer in our home used his camera compete with lenses for close-ups, to take wonderful pictures of ships at the locks, our travels and scenery of the beauty around us.

The Photographer not only took pictures but would print the black-and-white photographs in his darkroom in our basement. The process was fascinating as the enlarger formed the image and chemicals brought each into view on the photo paper.

When I began reporting for the then-Massena Observer, The Photographer in our home gave me a crash course in taking pictures. I would take pictures of each assigned story covered and he would print them at home. The pictures were then taken to the office and coordinated with captions and handwritten directions for publication in the newspaper on the back of each photo.

As I thought about pictures this week, the name Mark Simeon came to mind. Hopefully, there are a number of you reading this column today who remember this gentleman and photographer. Perhaps you even have a few Mark Simeon photos in your albums or on your walls.

Mark Simeon was the official Observer photographer. He would attend banquets and sporting events taking team photos and presentations day after day and on evenings, too, and on the weekend!

At that time there was a darkroom on the second floor of the Observer. Mark would take the pictures, balancing on a step stool on occasion, and then print the pictures in the Main Street office of the Massena Observer.

There were a number of football games watched in our home this weekend. The video introduction to the Bears and Saints game on Sunday showed images of previous events to be remembered including photos of Jets quarterback Joe Namath (always a good photo, right Phil) and Coach Vince Lombardi.

The title across the screen read, “Power of Photographs” and “Pictures Immortalize Moments.” I loved those words — a perfect description.

Photographs have, like the football promotion said, always immortalized moments for me. The walls in our home are filled with photos of grandparents and parents and grandchildren, too. Our sons within the first week of their lives and my father-in-law in his World War I uniform.

I love that I can take a picture so quickly with my phone and then send it to family members and friends for sharing. Those same photos on your phone also can be printed for remembering.

Take a special photo this week and immortalize that moment by printing it out on your computer for framing. What fun!

At a time when we cannot see each other in person, what a marvelous way to be surrounded by family. It will also be a terrific way to decorate for January!


Last week, I urged you to reach out to one another by calling or even sending a card. Although I had not made connections yet, I did receive an email from my cousin.

Like most of you there have been no family visits this past year. My cousin had an idea — a cousins’ visit by Zoom.

I am so grateful for connections made for book studies and a coffee hour on Zoom. And I am grateful, too, for our youngest son who teaches by Zoom and who made sure I was connected with friends through the internet.

My cousin sent the Zoom link and Monday morning we “visited,” joining with my cousins throughout New England. What fun to see their faces and catch up on their lives.

My thanks to a cousin who made sure there were connections made even in a pandemic. I plan to reach out to another this week and hope you will, too. A phone call is wonderful, and an unexpected card or note is always appreciated a great deal.


Our neighbor Keith Edwards will celebrate his birthday Sunday. How grateful we are that Keith and his lovely wife Pat are our neighbors. What a joy it is to visit with them both — now on the telephone but hopefully soon again in person.

They are always there for us with a warm greeting, a friendly telephone call or a plowed driveway. Have a great day on Sunday, Keith. Happy Birthday!


Gloria Compeau of Brasher also celebrates her birthday Sunday. Gloria is an amazing woman — she cares for her family and for the military. It is Gloria who always makes sure each of us remembers our veterans and those serving now.

She has sent boxes to those in the military, making sure there was a note of support in each one. My warmest wishes, Gloria.


I look forward each week to hearing from column readers. What fun it is to have you share your thoughts.

Last week, I heard from a friend in Massena who had read about resolutions. She said she had made a resolution “to get in shape.” She expressed concern, though, because to date she told me the only “exercise” she had accomplished was “to get in and out of my chair!”


“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”

— Author unknown

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