Technology is helping to keep families together

Ellen Emery

We have learned new words and terminology these past few weeks.

Novel coronavirus and COVID-19 are now familiar words heard in daily newscasts, with the term “social distancing” now part of our daily life. With the coronavirus now a pandemic, members of the public are being asked to distance themselves from others to hopefully curtail the spread of this deadly disease.

Spending time at home is always a joy, but distancing myself from friends saddens me. Social distancing is little to ask, though, as we turn our thoughts to caring for others — our time spent at a distance is the ultimate expression of our love and care for our neighbors and friends.

As I thought about our visit “over coffee” this week, I remembered multiple postponements of times to meet with others this week. And then on Sunday, my daughter-in-law sent me a marvelous video. It was a virtual visit complete with a coffee mug in the picture.

The individual sharing in this visit first reached for the coffee mug as the conversation began. I smiled as I watched the individual reach for the coffee mug, knowing that now as we distance ourselves from others that doesn’t mean we have to be isolated. We can reach out to others and visit: by telephone, text, email or through handwritten letters.

With a lack of in-person contact a reality now, for me at least this provides an opportunity — an opportunity to seek other methods of reaching out to friends and neighbors. We are so fortunate today with access to the telephone, mail and the internet.

The telephone provides such marvelous access today. Not only can we call our friends (yes, and neighbors, too!) but text friends and family members. How wonderful to be able to communicate with our grandchildren and sons as well as friends on a cruise ship and family members across the country!

Our extraordinary rural letter carrier Keith is always there, through snowstorms, sunny days and a pandemic. This week, he has brought the most wonderful cards and letters from dear friends and family. And for that I am most grateful.

I would urge you to take a moment and write a letter to a friend. Perhaps someplace in your home you have postcards from earlier trips made — what fun to receive a postcard on a day when concern fills our hearts.

I would urge you to think of creative ways to reach out. Demonstrate your care for one another and your desire to “visit.” Our visits this week, though, will not be across the table at Tim Hortons, Via Main, Twin Leaf, Spanky’s or Bear’s Dean, but will be through an email or perhaps a text or even a telephone call.

Reach out. And as our youngest son, Gregg, commented this week, “Enjoy the little things and support one another.” I agree completely.


Spring arrives Thursday. With the news of recent weeks concerning us, it is with a special anticipation we await the arrival of spring. There is always such hope displayed in the blossoming of the first crocus in our front yard and with the arrival of blossoming pussy willows and forsythia.

We were surrounded by signs of spring at our Bombay home this week. A robin appeared on our front lawn with red winged blackbirds at the bird feeder in our backyard! Certainly warmer, coatless and virus-free days are ahead.


When I first began writing for the Massena Observer, it was on a typewriter. This column first appeared in the Courier Observer with it now sent to the office through internet connections.

I have always loved meeting faithful column readers — your words and comments have always meant a great deal. My dream would be to meet each column reader personally and actually have the opportunity to visit over coffee.

Some readers have sent notes that always touch my heart, but the new online format provides a marvelous opportunity for shared comments. Last week, an individual commented about NHL legend Henri (the Pocket Rocket) Richard. The reader remembered the Canadiens Hall of Famer saying, “I still see him in one of his innumerable up-ice charges, always seemingly the best and fastest skater on the ice.”

How wonderful to remember this hockey great again and his amazing skills on the ice. Thanks for reading, remembering and sharing. How grateful I am for shared remembrances through the printed page — online this week!


Amidst concern for friends and the news of the coronavirus, there were a few marvelous moments of shared conversation and coffee. My heartfelt thanks to Bruce Bombard for making sure my coffee cup was filled with steaming hot coffee. What a pleasure it was to be able to visit with this fine gentleman.

And what a pleasure it was to meet Diane, who shared connections with The Clockman and through this column. It is always such a joy to meet column readers and spend a few moments visiting.

And it was such fun to learn column reader Donna would visit, but only over tea. She is a tea drinker and expressed her concern that I include other beverages in my visits.

There is tea in my cupboard for visiting family members (I have found the best place to purchase chamomile tea is at Tim Hortons coffee shop) and an occasional afternoon cup of tea with honey, but my favorite drink is absolutely coffee. But for this week, I will make sure Donna knows she can always visit over tea as she reads this column.


“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”

— Anne Frank

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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