North country residents go out of their way to be kind

Ellen Emery

Headlines always catch my eye. I realize that is the intent as headline writers search for just the right words to draw readers into the top news article or to a magazine feature story.

There was only one person in the check-out aisle ahead of me as I waited on a Monday morning shopping trip. It was just long enough for my eyes to scan the magazines in the rack nearby.

The large headline in the center of the magazine was promoting a topic I was certainly interested in: “Developing a positive attitude.” I began to scan the headlines of articles included in this magazine — one made me smile. The headline stated this article would share “The science of a smile”!

I was definitely interested and took the magazine from the rack. The woman in front of me had not completed her transaction yet (thankfully), so I had time to look for the price.

I am grateful for the time allowed — if I had been hurried, I might have instinctively purchased the magazine with no regard for its cost. In small print, I read the cost of this magazine was $13.99!

I was astounded. I realize the cost of everything has increased, especially in recent months. I quickly decided, though, that paying probably more than $14 with tax would not create a positive attitude at all.

The magazine was returned to its rack. As I checked out and walked to my car, I thought about the “science of a smile.”

We can all agree we now appreciate seeing a smile more than ever. This past year, I have missed seeing smiles although I know full well the importance of wearing a mask.

I absolutely loved seeing the “smiling” mask at Price Chopper on a clerk, and I believe the gentleman behind the seafood counter wore a smile as well. What joy those smiling masks brought.

Although I believe fully in education and scientific research, studying the science of a smile isn’t necessary at all. The smile (and warm hug) of a 17-year-old friend I hadn’t seen for some time brought joy on Sunday morning. And the smile and wave from a friend across the room always means a great deal.

The smile of a 2-year-old complete with a video touched my heart. The smile of this child means a great deal and certainly made my day complete even through a texted video.

And the smiles of our grandchildren whenever I turn my iPad on always brings joy and a marvelous positive feeling with in-person smiles always adding to the meaning of the day.

This week, I would ask that you treasure each smile offered. If family and friends aren’t nearby at the moment, put a picture of that dear one smiling on your table or refrigerator door and smile as you see their face celebrating life and friendships. (With family living away, my refrigerator is covered with the most delightful smiling faces of grown sons and their father, grandchildren, too, and a dear young friend perhaps a year old at the time helping me play the keyboard.). I would also ask that you take a moment and smile at a friend or even a passerby in the parking lot, say “Good morning” and greet another with the warmest of wishes.


Last week, I was unsure of the actual date for Melodie Lindsay’s birthday. Last Wednesday, I stopped at the Hogansburg post office and asked postmaster Melodie for her birthdate.

What perfect timing: Melodie’s birthday was July 15, the next day, which gave me time to find the right card and make a delivery. I hope you had a wonderful birthday, Melodie.


Charlie Boots will celebrate his birthday Friday. What a terrific gentleman.

It is always great fun to visit with him when our paths cross. Have a great birthday with only the best to celebrate in the year ahead. Happy Birthday!


Lori and Jim Collins will celebrate their wedding anniversary Monday. What a wonderful couple.

Time spent with Lori is always such a pleasure. My warmest wishes to you both as you celebrate your anniversary and beautiful family.


My thanks this week to Ryan at Dunkin’ in the Speedway Plaza. There was a stop for a gift card last week. There also was a need to purchase ground coffee for brewing at home (yes, that is definitely a necessity!).

Although I enjoy specialty coffees from time to time, my favorite brew at home on a daily basis is “regular” black coffee”! I looked at the shelf near the counter at Dunkin’ that morning. There was no original blend coffee at all.

I stepped to the counter, and Ryan smiled (yes, there was a warm friendly welcoming smile with his “Hello; may I help you?”). I purchased my gift card and then asked if I could purchase a blueberry muffin.

There were none in the front rack. Ryan asked me to wait a minute, and he returned with blueberry muffins! How wonderful — the fan of blueberry muffins in our home would be so grateful!

I then asked about the coffee. I told the gentleman behind the counter that I couldn’t find ground original blend coffee. Again, he said so cheerfully, “Just a minute.” He returned again with exactly what I needed to fill my order (along with my order of a medium black coffee).

I left with a bag full of treasures from Dunkin’ and a smile on my face. I had the perfect blend to make my morning coffee (and afternoon and evening, too!) and each item I had stopped to purchase.

But I had a great deal more. I have gratitude for Ryan who smiled and made sure each item I purchased was exactly what I had ordered and wanted that day.

Ryan literally made my day. (And thanks, too, to the gentleman who gave me my cup of coffee and shared my clerk’s name when I asked!)

Isn’t it wonderful to live in the north country where caring clerks behind the counter at Dunkin’ make a stop a marvelous, positive experience? I certainly think so!


“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

— Roald Dahl

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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