A sign of mutual support

Ellen Emery

It has been announced by news anchors and weathermen that summer will officially begin Saturday.

How grateful I am to live in the north country where we have the marvelous opportunity of experiencing a change of seasons. This year as in no other, we are all anticipating a change of seasons. We look forward to a season of warmth, sunshine and new life.

Al Roker, weatherman for NBC’s “Today,” told us June 1 that summer was beginning. In fact, Mr. Roker told viewers that “meteorological summer” began that day with the summer solstice starting June 20.

How wonderful to be able to enjoy the longest day of the year Saturday. I hope you will take full advantage of a day filled with sunshine.

I smiled Monday as I heard references to the beginning of summer this Saturday on news programs because the temperature that morning certainly didn’t indicate the beginning of a warmer season. At our Bombay home, the outdoor thermometer read 43 degrees as the coffee was prepared. I smiled because I thought of comments made when we first moved to the north country now more than 50 years ago.

When we arrived here in the summer of 1966, it was chilly. Our neighbors at the time (that would either be Fred Chase or John Lenney!) told us that in the north country there were two seasons: “the Fourth of July and winter!” That statement isn’t quite true and we do have a wonderfully beautiful change for each season.

But it was a bit winterlike over the weekend and on Monday morning. Hopefully by the time this column appears on the printed page, summer weather will have begun fully.


There are at least two additional days to celebrate this week. A few years ago, I subscribed to the listing of national holidays, including unofficial holidays.

It comes automatically to announce what is to be celebrated each day. The listing usually is long and isn’t pertinent to my life.

This week, though, there are two days that will hold my interest. One I discovered on Monday, but I am belated by a day with my sharing this with you.

June 16 was National Fudge Day. I hope you will celebrate this fun day sometime this week for certainly it is a day to be enjoyed.

My only regret in this celebration is that I cannot enjoy National Fudge Day with Phil and Jackie Sheehan. Phil Sheehan made the best fudge for their store on Main Street. I first learned about National Fudge Day on a visit to Phil and Jackie’s.

Today has been designated as National Eat Your Vegetable Day. I enjoy vegetables but thought perhaps since coffee comes from beans, it might be considered a vegetable. If coffee might be considered a vegetable and could be celebrated, what a joy it would be to combine National Fudge Day with a cup of coffee as a celebration.

I hope you will socially distance yourself and wear a mask but perhaps enjoy coffee and fudge with a friend today — across the room.


In recent weeks or should I say months, my only time spent with my friends has been through email or perhaps a text or on the telephone. There have even been a few cards sent and beautifully handwritten notes received. I treasure each contact made.

Our grandchildren have visited through a FaceTime visit, which is always fun — for me! There have been Zoom visits with friends in Massena and New York City.

These virtual visits are wonderful — not only can you hear a friend’s voice from across the miles but you can see their entire face, even across the miles from India, Bangladesh and Germany.

I have always enjoyed looking into the face of a friend as we have visited. That is one thing I have a problem with when texting or sending an email; you do not see a smile or the sadness in a friend’s eye as they are speaking through the printed word.

The sign in front of Speedway Plaza announces that “It’s Mask Day!” And it is — each day is mask day. And for each one wearing a mask, I am most grateful. The Gardener and I both wear masks as we pick up our groceries at Walmart and when going out or stopping at any store now.

Visiting has changed, though, with a mask. No longer can you look at a face and see a smile. A friend shared that while shopping in Price Chopper recently, she met another in the aisle.

The person said hello and extended the friendliest of greetings, I was told. And then the friend told our mutual friend he would know Gini anywhere, adding, “I see the smile in your eyes.”

I thought that was beautiful — a friend looking at someone with such insight they actually saw the smile in her eyes. I would ask each of you to smile behind the mask as you meet friends this week and look for the smile in the eyes of those you meet. How wonderful!


My parents loved reading — books, magazines and newspapers. Both of my parents were avid readers. I remember seeing my mother actually vacuuming the living room floor with a book in her hand.

Stopping for the Sunday newspaper was part of the routine for that day. And the Ithaca Journal (they lived in Danby, just south of Ithaca) was a daily feature in their home.

Although both parents loved to visit with family over the telephone, neither parent lived to enjoy contacting family and friends through technology. My mother wrote letters, and both parents wrote journals daily.

While I was sorting boxes of cards and letters, I discovered a letter from 2004 from my mother. From time to time, I would clip and send by mail (yes, with a letter accompanying it!) one of my “Over Coffee” columns. In this letter, my mother acknowledges that she had received the column and commented on its contents.

As she made note of the column content, she changed the title at the top of this column as my mother referred to it as “your coffee corner!” I have thought about that phrase this week and smiled — how delightful to be able to share from my Coffee Corner! I hope you are able to relax and enjoy your coffee corner this week.


“When it rains, look for rainbows. When it is dark, look for stars.”

— Oscar Wilde

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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