Meeting friends and new acquaintances has always been a joy.
I enjoy visiting with people — sharing the events of my day with dear friends, yes, usually over coffee.
I also have loved meeting new people — in stores across the counters or during a newspaper assignment.
One of the complete joys of serving as a correspondent for the then Massena Observer was always meeting new people.
An assignment from my editors would usually mean there was a new person I could meet.
Not only did I have the opportunity to meet new people through this job, I had the amazing opportunity to ask that individual all the questions I had on my mind about the event being promoted or issue at hand.
Contacts with neighbors, friends and those serving at the drive-through windows is different now.
There are far fewer contacts with new people face to face.
I have been so fortunate the past few months, though, to become reacquainted with many people and to meet others pictured on my iPad during the most extraordinary virtual book studies and coffee hours.
Each contact with others is at the safe distancing 6 feet and is accompanied by mask wearing, which is so important today.
As I have shopped this past week in person at Price Chopper and during an online pickup at Walmart, I have been so appreciative of the marvelous work of so many to make our shopping and each time we venture out of our home as safe as possible.
Like so many of you, my parents taught me to say “please” and “thank you” and to always express my appreciation of a job well done.
I have always attempted to vocalize my gratitude to others.
But in this time of masked conversations, I have wondered if my words are heard.
As I spoke my thanks to the store clerk, I wondered if he had heard me through the mask.
The woman at Tim Hortons drive-through greeted me so kindly the other day.
And as I expressed my thanks, I again wondered if the words spoken had been heard.
I hoped each time that my mask had not hidden my gratitude.
A conversation prior to a masked exchange would involve hearing inflections in words spoken and a smile or sadness with facial expressions shared.
As I have thought about conversations through a mask, I have tried to look directly into the other person’s eyes and hopefully they will be able to see my smile in my eyes.
I have read and heard that speaking loudly is not a good thing when one is trying to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
So I speak my words normally, but I still try to communicate gratitude.
I am now attempting each time I want to express my thanks and share a kind, friendly greeting to smile through my eyes so others will know exactly what I am trying to communicate.
My advice this week would be for each one to wear a mask but be kind and express gratitude through smiling eyes.
NORTH COUNTRY BEAUTY
Last week, two small spotted fawns ventured into our front yard.
We have apple trees, and the young deer seemed delighted to discover apples that had fallen from the tree seemingly just for their enjoyment.
I took a picture and sent it to our family with a subject heading that read, “Sunny Day.”
My sister who lives in California returned photos with the heading, “Our Sunny Morning.”
The photos sent were alarming.
Although my middle sister lives some distance from the fires, their sky was filled with a completely yellow haze.
My youngest sister, who also lives a distance from the fires, told me there was ash in the swimming pool in the complex where she lives.
At our Bombay home, I saw sunshine and blue sky and was grateful for life in the north country.
And I could step outside and breathe with ease and see the amazing colors changing as we see a new season’s arrival.
A scientist in a weekend news program told viewers that “80 percent of Americans cannot see the Milky Way from where they live,” explaining the difficulties with light pollution.
How marvelous that we can go into our backyards or drive to the local parks and see the night sky.
Reporter Chris Brock’s article in Sunday’s Advance News was wonderful and the pictures outstanding.
He traveled by bicycle, advising readers to “slow down and take a breath” by bicycling.
His pictures are absolutely gorgeous, and I thank Chris for sharing his “View from the Road.”
My biking is on a recumbent bike positioned in our dining room.
As I thought about this column and Chris’s biking, I thought my view would never be as spectacular and then I looked outside our living room window.
The leaves on the trees and the Morning Glory blossoms at our Bombay home were lovely, too.
Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live and look at the sky, breathe fresh air and bike?
I certainly think so.
Take a moment today and look skyward — both in the morning and nighttime hours.
AND FOR TAMMY
My warmest wishes are sent to Tammy Artus at the Moira post office on Monday.
What a terrific young woman — so caring, thoughtful and helpful.
Tammy has made my life so much easier on a number of occasions when I stepped to her counter for mailing assistance.
My warmest wishes, Tammy.
I hope there is a cake for celebrating!
Enjoy your day.
You certainly deserve only the very best this year.
Gini and Bruce Truax will celebrate their wedding anniversary Tuesday. (Is it 36 years?)
What an amazing couple!
Gini and Bruce have caring hearts and a concern for family, neighbors and friends.
They are two individuals who put their words into actions: Bruce can be found with a hammer in hand or making coffee.
Gini is always there with the coffee pot on, ready to serve anyone who stops by.
And for that I am most grateful.
Have a wonderful anniversary.
My warmest wishes are sent your way as you celebrate your special day!
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson