Young woman begins ministry at local church

Ellen Emery

There are countless suggestions on television programs and newspaper articles of what we might do at home during our time of safe distancing.

Most of the suggestions make me smile with none that might be of use in our home.

A segment on NBC’s “Today” described camping and the essentials to “enjoy the great outdoors.”

How fortunate we are to live in the north country where all we need to enjoy the great outdoors is to look outside your window, walk to the mailbox or garden or drive to the St. Lawrence Seaway or beach area.

How beautiful it is where we live — especially this time of year with trees and flowers in full bloom.

As I listened to the description of the “essentials” to enjoying the out of doors, I looked out of our front window to enjoy the blue sky, clouds and a scene full of green leaves from the trees surrounding our home.

I do not have to leave the confines of our living room to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors!

The description of camping in 2020 as set up by a magazine for NBC News anchor Craig Melvin and his family also made me smile.

I grew up camping with our family.

Although I never thought of our family as being poor, our vacations were never spent in resorts, hotels or amusement parks.

Our vacations would be camping on our uncle’s property in Delhi.

There was a lovely stream nearby and even a waterfall with a pond for swimming.

It was in a secluded area where my father could relax and read.

My sisters and I would read as well and play together.

This was an earlier time, though, with much different “essentials” for camping.

The campsite set up for the Melvin family included a fire pit, which could be connected to your cellphone.

You could actually turn the flame up by syncing your cellphone to the fire pit.

I have a delightful photo in our living room of my mother cooking over our fire pit in a dress.

That fire pit contained twigs and firewood we had gathered from the woods nearby.

My mother would watch the flames so she could put her dinner on the fire.

It was a time with no cellphones.

And there were no espresso machines (yes, that was suggested for the “Today” campsite).

I enjoy coffee but could not picture having an espresso machine while camping that would be connected to my cellphone.

My coffee pot at home is not even connected to my cellphone.

The only thing that appeared to be similar to our camping decades ago was the creation of s’mores.

Whether marshmallows are toasted over an open wood fire or an electronic fire pit, the melting of chocolate and marshmallows is always delicious — at least on my menu!

Remembering camping vacations with my family is a treasured memory.

What fun to sleep on the tent floor and cots with our canine friend Butch nearby.

And what fun to remember our mother cooking over a campfire.

And how marvelous that today perhaps you will be able to start a fire pit with your cellphone and enjoy a meal in the great outdoors basking in the beauty of the north country.


Hogansburg postmaster Melodie Lindsay celebrated her birthday just a week ago.

Although my wishes are belated, I wanted to make sure this remarkable woman was wished the best this year.

I always enjoy stopping at the post office on St. Regis Road (something I haven’t done since February or early March).

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, too.

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.

Although my wishes are belated, they are most sincere.

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.


Charlie Boots of Massena will celebrate his birthday tomorrow.

What a joy it always is to visit with this remarkable gentleman and his lovely wife, Eileen.

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

Have a great day.


Last week, the doorbell rang.

The Gardener went to the door thinking it was yet another delivery (yes, we are still ordering online).

It was a delivery by a friend.

Phil Sheehan stopped to pass off a package, two “Over Coffee” coffee mugs he had created.

Phil had created one earlier when I had stopped at Phil and Jackie’s Shop on Main Street.

What fun to have a personalized “Over Coffee” mug.

Although this delightful shop on Main Street has closed, I was delighted to learn Phil is still making personalized coffee mugs and silk-screening T-shirts!

My heartfelt thanks to Phil for the beautiful mugs, for his shared artistry and for delivering them in person (at a distance through the doorway)!

Perhaps I will just order by calling Phil this year as I complete my Christmas list.


“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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