Counting down to the blessings of autumn

Ellen Emery

The past few weeks’ television viewing and visiting among friends have centered on the Olympics.

I am always truly amazed at the skill and abilities of the athletes. I cannot even begin to imagine the work that each athlete has put into rehearsing each routine to perfection.

Each of the 113 medal recipients for the United States and those for each of the countries participating is certainly more than worthy of their medals. How thrilling it is to watch them place their medals around their necks with pride as the national anthem is played.

On Monday, I watched news reports of hometown welcomes and accolades for the Olympic athletes — parades in their honor and countless television interviews.

As I thought about the medal presentations and honor each athlete received during the past few weeks, my thoughts have turned to others who have put an outstanding effort into their work. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could honor each one who extended their hand in friendship or lent a needed helping hand?

I thought about an EMT who has spent hours giving COVID-19 vaccinations. On Saturday, I watched as our local volunteer firefighters fought a fire nearby in the extreme heat. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if we could honor them with a medal for their efforts — and perhaps a ticker tape parade, too!

On Friday, I read in the Courier Observer about the amazing work of state trooper Zachary Benson and Fire Chief Dallas Denny who, the article said, had recently saved five children stranded in the Oswegatchie River. Again, this work is certainly a gold medal effort.

As I hear friends praising the Olympic athletes and applauding their efforts, I hope that we can extend that appreciation and gratitude to others who have accomplished so much in making the north country a wonderful place to live. Let’s take a moment this week and honor each one beginning with firefighters and first-responders for their outstanding achievements. Let’s honor them with gold medals and applaud their marvelous work and extend our deepest appreciation.


Mike Gagne will celebrate his birthday Friday. Take a moment and stop by 181 Salon on Main Street and wish this terrific gentleman a wonderful birthday. Have a great day, Mike, and only the best in the year ahead!


What a marvelous opportunity I had on Sunday. I was privileged to be able to meet in person those I had visited with this past year during the pandemic on Zoom. This technology was new to me as it was to many of you this past year. It brought us together, though, and connected each one of us in amazing ways.

And on Sunday, we exchanged greetings and visited. The event was a gathering outside for a larger group.

How fortunate I was to receive a kind invitation to join for this very special time together. For the others, it was a time to enjoy the fellowship of friends after the past year.

But for me, it was a time to meet many I had not met previously. Each one would ask about a vaccine status, and then there were shared warm hugs.

How grateful I was for time together on Sunday — grateful for new friendships, for Zoom connections and column connections. Isn’t it wonderful we can now meet, visit and share over dinner? I certainly think so.


On Sunday, I was asked why I hadn’t shared the telephone number for the shipping schedule at Eisenhower Lock. My apologies; I honestly feared having the number incorrect so chose not to include it.

Here is the number for the Eisenhower Lock Traffic Schedule: 315-769-2422. It is wonderful and lists each ship passing through the lock with its time for an arrival.

My thanks to my friend for sharing the number with me. It has been most helpful.


This week, there was a birthday gift to purchase. The new friend I was making the purchase for had mentioned she enjoyed music and would like a CD for her birthday when I asked for gift suggestions.

On Monday, I stopped at the store to make that purchase but honestly couldn’t find what I had remembered as an aisle filled with CD selections. I asked Elizabeth behind the counter — she kindly took me to the area where the CD selection is now located.

There were only a few CD offerings in the center of the aisle I was in. No listing of categories and music preferences from which to choose.

Surrounding the CDs, though, were vinyl records: 33⅓ records filling most of the area with the remainder taken by record players to purchase. Amazing!

I have realized in recent weeks that there were changes in listening habits of consumers. A few weeks ago, we purchased a new car.

This was the first car we have purchased that I cannot use the CDs I have and love and play as I drive or ride to and from our destinations. I was saddened when I realized I could no longer use my favorites.

I understand changes made by those in the business of marketing cars, but I was honestly astounded to think CDs weren’t sold anymore and that records were making a comeback! We still have our “stereo” and record player (didn’t we all stop at the Hi-Fi Shop to make that purchase?) — and we have our records, so many 33⅓ records of famous artists and favorite songs.

I still have 45 records, too, some I treasure — recordings from local artist Peter Jock. A favorite on 45 by this amazing young man is a song he wrote that still has great meaning today, “All this hate/We don’t need.” Yes, I still listen.

In the back of our closet is even an entire box of 78 records waiting for their comeback. There is even a large record saved that was used for radio advertising, I was told. It was a record advertising Lydia Pinkham’s medicinal supplies.

The Pinkham family was a neighbor and close friend of The Gardener and his family. When the advertising record was no longer being used, it was given to the Emery family. I wonder if that large recording (perhaps 2 feet in diameter) will ever see a comeback to use again.

My grandmother had a beautiful Victrola in her living room. What fun to be able to listen to her records.

My parents disposed of that Victrola, seeing no use for it with the then-newer record players. I smiled when I looked at that sale for recordings and the offerings of vinyl records and record players wondering if indeed everything old will become new again!


“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”

— Woodrow Wilson

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