Local businesses offer a personal touch with clients

Ellen Emery

The gentleman most of you know as The Clockman or The Gardener could also be described as The Beekeeper.

Through The Gardener title, he has planted apple trees, which have grown beautifully near our home and provided us with fresh apples in the fall, applesauce for winter months’ enjoyment and apple pies. A few years ago, The Gardener was concerned about the pollination of his apple trees with fewer and fewer bees in the apple trees with the arrival of spring.

Since he was familiar with beekeeping, something he had done as a teen, he ordered honey bees and everything that would go with it. At that point we would travel to Sayre, Pa., to bring the packages of bees to the hives near our Bombay home.

The bees performed wonderfully — pollinating the apple trees and providing this columnist with the most delicious honey.

We have been more and more aware of the plight of the honey bee. Each year, complete hives would not make it through the winter. In the spring, we would again order bees and drive southward to bring them home. In recent years, the bees would be shipped to our home (The Beekeeper has called the post office and gone to pick them up so the bees didn’t have to travel the route with our mail carrier, Nicole!)

Although we are aware of the plight of bees today — many not surviving the winter or dying from disease, pesticides and sprays along the roadways — I had to smile when I saw a jewelry ad this week.

I always try to purchase everything I need locally, especially gifts. But there are some items — particularly this past year — that have been purchased online.

With online ordering, there are always advertisements that follow. This past week when I checked online for mail, an ad was displayed: “Adopt a Bee!”

A necklace complete with a honey bee on a gold chain was shown in this ad with a very true statement that more than ever bees need our help. The statement said millions of honey bees are disappearing each year, and beekeepers are experiencing up to 90 percent loss of their bee colonies every year. Already this year, one hive at our home has been lost.

The purchase of each necklace and bee adoption, according to the ad, would go to help fund research and support the shrinking bee population, which would be a very good thing. Every item purchased, we are told, adopts a unique bee. You receive a certificate of adoption and learn the bee’s name.

I support any work that will assist with the support of the bee population. Bees are vital to our very survival; we rely on them to pollinate everything we consume.

I smiled when I read this, though, because I know there are at least 5 pounds of bees in each hive. We have named our feline friend, Tigger, and each goldfish our then young son had was named, but I cannot imagine naming and identifying each bee in the hive. They work together to survive, and make honey.

I cannot imagine trying to separate each bee from the hive to identify it. I think I will pass on the bee necklace.

I am sure The Beekeeper will purchase a new hive this spring to replace the one already lost. He will continue to provide the bees the hive, food and necessary habitat for survival here. And I will enjoy their honey and be grateful for the bees adopted by The Bombay Beekeeper.

WARMEST WISHES

Mary Jo Fairbanks will celebrate her birthday Tuesday. What an extraordinary woman. I am always impressed by the work she has accomplished and is doing today.

But what I am touched by most is this woman’s ability to welcome all, inviting each one to join the organizations she is part of. Mary Jo’s kind invitations have drawn me in and touched my heart. How grateful I am that our lives have crossed this past year — usually on the computer screen as she hosts a Zoom session.

My warmest wishes, Mary Jo, for only the best as you celebrate this year. You certainly deserve a year ahead filled with joy!

Happy Birthday. Enjoy!

WITH THANKS

My thanks this week to Amanda at the Walmart service desk. On a Friday morning, she was so kind and helpful and literally made my day a joy filled one. And for that I am most grateful.

My thanks to Sam at the counter in GameStop in the Harte Haven Plaza. He had the game that had been the only item on a Christmas list. This gentleman asked how my day was and was so pleasant when I stopped.

And thanks to the young man behind the Walmart deli counter. He made sure my order was just as I had requested and was so helpful on a very busy Friday morning.

Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live and where a service manager and store clerks are so helpful and friendly? I certainly think so.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

It was just a week ago that the final question on the popular television game show “Jeopardy” had a local connection. The category was “1950s Public Works.” The statement presented what “the greatest construction show on Earth when it was completed it connected Minnesota to Montreal.”

The Gardener and I have always enjoyed playing along with the contestants on “Jeopardy.” At one time, we even had handheld devices that would ring in and record our scores.

Those devices no longer work, so the scores are recorded on paper. I won’t share my response, but I will admit I answered incorrectly.

The Gardener answered immediately “The St. Lawrence Seaway” and was correct. And yes, he won, defeating this columnist.

I found it fascinating that the Seaway was part of a nationally broadcast television program. If they had listed cities or the opening ceremony, perhaps Massena would have been mentioned. Maybe next time!

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“Christmas is not a time nor a season but a state of mind.”

— Calvin Coolidge

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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