Visiting with friends and neighbors has always been a joy. When I first began covering the news of the community in which I live and in the neighboring communities, how grateful I was for the assignments of my editor.
As I went to interview basket makers, ironworkers, those celebrating their 100th year of life and politicians, too, I would meet new friends. Each visit was a very precious time sitting in the presence of the one I was interviewing.
I have missed time spent in the presence of friends the past few years during the novel coronavirus pandemic and our necessary separation. It has been wonderful as cases have decreased to be able to once again hug a friend and visit over coffee on a Sunday morning.
This week, I was able to also join friends on West Orvis Street for coffee. What a joy!
During the time of social distancing, I have been thrilled to keep in touch with family members and friends and meet new friends through the internet. Zoom has been a wonderful way to keep in touch.
For me time, though, visiting in person is extremely important. Nothing can compare to sitting near a friend to visit and exchange news of the day.
Seeing a smile or tears on the cheek are the part of a conversation lost in a phone call or note (although I love handwritten notes!). I am looking forward to in-person visits with neighbors and friends in their homes, on the porch or at Spanky’s.
As I look forward to visiting in person and warm, heart-felt hugs, I was upset when I heard something about the virtual reality of metaverse. With either virtual goggles or a web-based metaverse, an individual can create an image of themselves and an entirely virtual world in which to live.
Through this virtually based universe, we were told we would be able to “teleport into a different universe.” As we enter this virtual reality we would now “escape from reality and physical connections,” it was explained.
I realize there are many benefits to virtual reality — including surgeries. But I was honestly horrified to think of a promotion that would assist you in escaping from physical connection.
Personally, I am now looking forward to connecting with real people. I have no desire to escape from reality and physical connections. I hope others will want to connect and visit over coffee — a real cup of coffee with friends in real time.
I am grateful for the internet where I can send my column to the office from our home and where I can visit with friends on Zoom. But that is only a temporary meeting and even that involves real people, not created figures simulating a real person.
I hope this week you will be cautious but still make plans to see a friend face to face. Smile as you meet an acquaintance in the store or receive the most wonderful hug from a friend on a Sunday morning.
It has never been more important to reach out and be part of the reality of life around us. As we venture out with a mask in hand, we must never forget each one living nearby in our beautiful north country world. We must take time to meet each one in our real world with no thoughts of escaping from the reality I call community.
My heartfelt thanks to each one at the J. W. Webb Insurance Agency and to the Greene family. When we first moved to the north country, we were advised to see Hiram Greene at the J.W. Webb Insurance Agency.
From the time we first entered the office, Mr. and Mrs. Greene were there for us — to guide us through insurance plans as we rented and then built a home. The Greene family assisted with our insurance needs when there were new businesses opened and when our sons were of age to drive.
With each concern, I knew when I entered the office there would be a listening ear and a voice that would be concerned and lend the most skillful assistance. When an insurance agency downstate canceled the insurance on my parent’s home after their death, I went to Bob Greene. He was so kind and helpful, finding a company to provide needed insurance for my parents’ home.
It was always such a pleasure to visit with Mary Greene. Last year, we met this delightful woman at the Eisenhower Lock — she said hello, and we were able to visit. What a joy it always was to visit with her in the office on Main Street and receive the beautiful Currier and Ives calendar for Christmas.
This week we received the letter that perhaps we knew might come, the letter announcing Mr. Greene’s retirement. I hope the Greene family can enjoy their retirement.
I hope they will realize, though, what a marvelous asset they have been and how grateful we are for their continued assistance with each insurance concern we had. You will all be missed.
COFFEE MUG SELECTION
As I visited with a friend in Massena last week, she offered coffee. She pointed out the clean mugs available.
As I reached for one, my friend asked about my coffee mug collection. (The Gardener has attempted counting and has reached more than 150 on the mugs and selves in our kitchen alone — that doesn’t count the entire box tucked away of Christmas mugs!)
“How do you decide which mug to use?” was my friend’s question. Many times, the selection is which mug might be the closest to the coffee pot.
Usually, though, there is thought behind the selection. Most of the mugs have been given to me by dear friends over the years. Some are from family members — a wonderful mug contains a picture of Minnie Mouse and was brought home by our youngest son after the Salmon River Jazz Band’s trip to Disneyworld more than 20 years ago.
How special that mug is now. As I am sure you are all aware, I enjoy coffee, especially as I hold a steaming mug of my favorite brew held lovingly in a mug given to me by a dear friend or cherished family member.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“This is a wonderful day; I have never seen this one before.”
— Maya Angelou