All the little joys of life deserve our finest dishware

Ellen Emery

Cooking segments on televised news programs and the Cooking Channel are great fun for me.

I enjoy watching the recipes and suggestions made even though my cooking doesn’t reflect any of the elaborate recipes demonstrated. On Feb. 16, a comment made on a cooking segment on NBC’s morning news program “Today” was one I agreed with completely and had already instituted in our home.

Chef Elizabeth Heiskell demonstrated her preparation of chicken divan. When she finished her dish and went to plate it, the chef told viewers to “pull out your good china.”

As she continued to tell those watching to use their good china on a Tuesday morning, she added the explanation: “there are so many more Tuesdays than New Year’s Eves!” Chef Heiskell continued to advise viewers to pull out the good dishes and “enjoy it!”

I loved that thought. I have a beautiful set of dishes I consider our “good” dishes, a set that when our children were small were used for Sunday dinner. They are now used when we entertain company or family.

Sometime this past year when there were no visitors due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and concern for safety, I decided The Gardener and I should use those “good” dishes. What fun to place the china that had been purchased decades ago when we were first engaged on the placemats to add a bit of joy to our dinner hour.

As I have thought about the chef’s comment to use the good china and my own desire to use the beautiful dishes that have been in the cupboard for quite some time now, I knew this was a very good thing. Now as in no other time we should be grateful for each day and celebrate it.

I hope that this week, you too will use the good dishes for lunch and perhaps a supper of delivered subs or chicken parmesan from An Italian Affair. Use the good dishes and celebrate the day!


My heartfelt thanks this week go to cashier Chris at Kinney’s on Main Street. What an extraordinary gentleman.

As I am sure most of you realize by now, my shopping (and, I’m certain, that of many others) this past year has been limited. Most of our daily needs are purchased through the online shopping service at Walmart. There have been other purchases online with a few early morning stops at Price Chopper for salmon.

I love sending cards to dear friends but have found card shopping difficult. I’ve ordered some boxed cards online, but those don’t really share the wishes I want to send.

There have been wonderful stops at the post office nearby where I have discovered a marvelous card display. This week, I needed cards for a number of occasions, though.

Last Thursday, The Gardener had an appointment at Kinney’s to receive his second COVID shot (I was able to get mine the next day — what an absolute joy!). While he received his shot, I made many card purchases. I also needed three small batteries for use at home.

I walked to the front counter. And as I stepped to the designated area for waiting, a kind voice said they could check me out.

I moved to that cash register and met Chris. I had three batteries and was thrilled to find them — it had been a purchase that I had not been able to make in recent weeks. Chris took the batteries and came back with a package of three, which was far less expensive than the three individually wrapped batteries.

What a kind gentleman. He took the time to look for the batteries and make the exchange.

With the purchase of a number of greeting cards, I could receive a small stuffed animal. I didn’t realize this but Chris quietly put the stuffed animal with my purchases. How thoughtful!

There were many thoughtful actions this gentleman took as I made my purchases. And for that I am most grateful — it was the first time I had shopped in a store for quite some time, and Chris made this shopping experience a very good time.

Isn’t life in the north country marvelous where a store clerk named Chris can make my day shopping a very good one? I certainly think so.


Roger Smith of Massena will celebrate his birthday this week. The date of his birth is Feb. 29.

Last year, Roger was able to celebrate on his birthday with 56 candles on his cake. Since 2021 is not a leap year, I am not sure which day Roger will choose to celebrate — I believe that technically he can celebrate any day from now until March! I am also not sure if he will have 57 candles on his cake this year or perhaps 14 and one quarter!

Roger is a terrific young man. It is always such a pleasure when our paths cross.

His smile and friendly “Hello” always touch my heart. My warmest wishes, Roger, for only the best as you celebrate your special day.


The thought that I am sharing this week was heard during a television interview with a furniture store owner in Texas, which has been hard hit by the deadly winter storm and loss of power in that state. Jim (Mattress Mack) McIngvale, who owns the Gallery Furniture in Houston, has opened his store and transformed it into a lifesaving shelter.

Mr. McIngvale, who celebrated his 70th birthday Feb. 11, has opened his furniture store to have anyone suffering to find a warm place to stay or sleep. He said everyone was welcome to come out of the cold and use beds, sofas, recliners and watch television while being provided with coffee and a hot meal. One person in need who had stopped at the store for warmth said it was like visiting their grandparents’ home; another mentioned the generosity of the store owner.

The interviewer pointed out that this kind gentleman had done the same during hurricanes Katrina and Harvey and tropical storm Imelda. When I heard his quote about the essence of living, I thought it was one by which we all should attempt to live. My thanks go to Mr. McIngvale for opening his store and providing a place of warmth and comfort during a most difficult time, giving so much to those in need in his community.


“The essence of living is giving.”

— Jim McIngvale

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