Science says that smiling faces bring joyful hearts

Ellen Emery

We are so fortunate in the north country to be able to celebrate and experience four completely different seasons.

My joy in the changing seasons has been mentioned in this column from time to time. I am so grateful we live in a part of the country where we can thoroughly enjoy the beauty of springtime flowers, the warmth and sunshine of our summer months, the color of fall and, yes, the beauty of snow in the winter (I still would love to see snow falling everywhere but on the roadways!).

As I checked my email Monday afternoon, an advertisement for a catalog I had ordered from appeared. This ad was promoting items I should purchase for “Autumn!”

As I thought about that, I remembered entering a store in Massena Monday morning — back to school supplies were being placed on the now emptied shelves. I realize students need to purchase their supplies for school before the doors open, but I was saddened with the thought that stores had decided our summer was over.

It is only mid-July and already the advertisers and stores are asking us to think in terms of the next season. I would hope we could enjoy our sunshine filled days and not speed ahead to a new season. There will be time to enjoy the chill of the autumn air as we move into fall — in a few months!


One of the marvelous experiences during summer is a visit to Sweet Treats in the Twin Leaf Plaza. We wait with anticipation to see the “Open” sign and umbrellas open on the tables nearby — I think usually around Memorial Day. Sunday evening (after a stop at Eisenhower Lock), The Gardener and I decided we would stop for ice cream on our way home.

The young people in the window taking and filling our orders are always so friendly and helpful. It is a pleasure just to place an order.

On Sunday evening, though, a car pulled up nearby.

It was a couple we hadn’t seen for some time. What a joy it was to visit and renew friendships while enjoying ice cream on a Sunday evening.


Birthdays certainly should be celebrated. Each year that we can count and celebrate should be a time of overwhelming joy.

There was a framed handwritten quotation that hung on the wall of my father’s study in our parents’ home in Danby, near Ithaca, that means a great deal. The quote read: “Do not regret growing old; many are denied the privilege!” That framed message now hangs above the keyboard in our home, a reminder to celebrate life.

I am so privileged to have the opportunity to share with so many of your birthday wishes — sometimes you are aware I know the date and at times I have realized I have surprised you with printed birthday wishes. Since these wishes (and the date that you were born and should celebrate) are important, I have attempted to keep track of each one.

That exercise has been less than successful. I have notes everywhere. Date books are filled with birthday notes with some now entered into a calendar on my main computer.

Not only do I have difficulty keeping track of birth dates (although some I remember well — Mike Gagne will celebrate on Aug. 13). But as I try to share them in this column, I must coordinate the date celebrated that next week with the Tuesday column deadline as I write the week before.

That coordination doesn’t always work well. This is one of those weeks when I feel badly about my lack of birthday details.

Hogansburg postmaster Melodie Lindsay celebrating her birthday just a week ago was the notation in my date book from a July 22 column. I wanted to make sure this remarkable woman was wished the best this year and in a timely manner.

Hopefully, I haven’t missed her birthday completely. When you stop at the post office this week, please wish her a happy birthday, a belated birthday or warmest wishes for her upcoming celebration.

I always enjoy stopping at the post office on St. Regis Road (something I haven’t done now for over a year!). Each one at the counter is marvelous — so friendly and helpful. I have been guided in shipping packages to service personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. There have been packages sent to Africa and countless care packages, cards, letters and newsletters.

Each one has been cared for so kindly by Melodie and the postal clerks at the Hogansburg post office. I have been taught about book rates, priority mail and flat rates, and customs documentation.

My heartfelt thanks, Melodie, for your patience with my mailings and for your kind assistance and for always sharing a smile and friendly hello! Although I don’t have a specific date for your birthday celebration, I am sure it is in the middle of July. And my wishes, whether early or belated, are most sincere!

I promise to stop this week and record your birth date so we can celebrate on the day next year. I hope you had a lovely birthday celebration and that the year ahead will be a wonderful one for you! You certainly deserve only the very best as you celebrate this year.


“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.”

— Les Brown

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