Clerks provide essential services in north country

Ellen Emery

Last week, I received a lovely Valentine’s Day card in the mail.

It was a card from a friend I haven’t been able to visit with in some time. How much that unexpected greeting meant.

Monday when the catalogs and bills were brought in from our mailbox, a brown envelope was among our mail. A gift was in that envelope, which was addressed to me from another friend who now lives in a neighboring town.

How kind my coffee drinking friend was to think of me in her gift buying and for then sending me this beautiful book. The simple inscription said when she saw this book, she had thought of me.

How much my friend’s thought of me meant on a Monday morning. Especially in this time of COVID-19 and our journey through a pandemic, contact from friends means so much — even if that contact is contactless and expressed through our mail carrier.

Monday as my thoughts were on this column, I looked across the room at the card on the table near the window. That card had truly touched my heart and the thought of another meant a great deal on a wintry day.

And the gift received meant so much — not the gift itself, but the idea that another had been thinking of me with kindness and concern. Perhaps the best part of this gift was a hand-colored drawing by a 2-year-old. It will be framed for hanging. Last Sunday was designated as National Send a Card to a Friend Day. As I thought about the cards and notes I have received recently, I knew I had to share the idea of this national day designation.

This day, I learned, was established to remind us to send “friendly cheer through the mail.” That is exactly what happened to me this week — friends had sent the friendliest of joy (the word I prefer over the use of the word cheer) through the mail.

What fun it is to see what our mail carrier has brought on any given day. There are packages ordered (cat food arrived on Monday), bills, requests for donations and multiple advertisements. How marvelous it is when there is a personally handwritten note or card included in the pile of catalogues and advertisements.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated this Sunday. What an absolutely wonderful day. Although most look at this holiday as being set aside for couples to express their love, I personally see this day as a special time to express how much we care for one another. What a perfect time to celebrate send a card day — perhaps the two days should be combined.

I learned this week that I can actually order Valentine’s Day cards through the Walmart App and pickup service. Order cards or perhaps make your own and send one or two or more to friends.

I would urge you to include a personal note on your card. How terrific it would be for a friend to “hear” from you this week and know how much they are cared for and how much they have been missed.

Hopefully now that we are able to receive our COVID-19 vaccine, we will be able to visit (still masked) face to face and express our concern for one another. Until that time arrives, though, take a moment and send a card to a friend and remind them of how much you miss them and share with them how much their friendship means.


Gini Truax will celebrate her birthday Saturday. What a kind, caring woman. Gini and her husband, Bruce, are always there for family, a neighbor or friend in need.

Gini sends wonderful cards and notes. She also keeps in touch with each one by the internet or telephone. She is a marvelous cook, and recently I discovered she also is skilled at putting jigsaw puzzles together.

My warmest wishes, Gini, for a wonderful day Saturday and only the best in the year ahead.


My heartfelt thanks this week to those who make our lives so much better each week. How grateful I am to each postal clerk and rural letter carrier. Home deliveries through the mail, UPS and FedEx have made our lives this past year so much better.

We receive letters and cards through the mail and so many items that are necessary for us to live safely at home without in-person shopping. Our rural letter carriers must drive through the most difficult north country winter weather to deliver our mail. How grateful I am for each one this week.

My thanks this week to our newspaper carrier. I know that many of you read this column online. And I am grateful, too, to the individuals in the office who post the column each week.

I am grateful, too, to our paper carrier. Without our carrier no one in the stores or at home would be able to read this column. They drive through the difficult north country weather making sure each paper is delivered.

And this week I am grateful for snowplow operators. We had quite a bit of snow this week.

During the night we can hear the snowplow as the drivers leave their families and the warmth of their homes to make sure the roads are cleared for travel. And for that I am most grateful.


A few weeks ago when I mentioned Massena Observer photographer Mark Simeon, a loyal Massena column reader commented that she had no idea I had ever worked for the Massena Observer as a reporter.

My initial job title was correspondent, and it was with the Massena Observer at that time. My first articles and byline were in the Feb. 15, 1979, issue of the Observer. There was an entire page devoted to the news of the towns I was to cover: Bombay, Fort Covington and Akwesasne.

How grateful I am to editor Pat McKeown who had a vision. She hired three of us who would cover the news in the communities where we lived. One correspondent was in the Norfolk area and another in the Brasher area.

I am so grateful for each person I have met through this marvelous occupation, first sharing the news of the towns I was to cover and now sharing the news of the people I meet each week. My heartfelt thanks to editor Pat McKeown for her patience, her shared knowledge and for hiring a local correspondent more than 40 years ago.


“Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay; love isn’t love ’til you give it away.”

— Oscar Hammerstein

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