Reading makes for healthy souls

Ellen Emery

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, I was handed a gift bag.

I thanked the giver but in my mind questioned why I had been presented a gift, after all it wasn’t any special day to celebrate. There were a number of people in the room at the time — it was a set time for a meeting to take place, so the bag was discreetly put aside.

When I arrived home, I pulled the wrapped tissue papered gift from the bag. Inside were two beautiful luxurious dish towels.

Each towel had a fitting coffee design. The giver knew that this gift recipient enjoys coffee and has great fun displaying anything coffee related.

The “coffee” dish towels won’t be used for drying dishes immediately but have found their home on display. I discovered a few years ago marvelous, fun hooks that go over the doors of the cabinets in our kitchen.

The towels were placed on one of those hooks and add a fun reminder of my favorite drink — coffee! They are also a lovely reminder of the kindness of friends.

When this kind, thoughtful woman saw the dish towels, she told me they reminded her of me. She gave them to me on a Tuesday — not for any specific celebration but as a gift from friend to friend.

How thoughtful! The actions of this lovely woman who lives in Massena touched my heart.

I would urge you to think of others as you shop. And when you find a treasure that reminds you of another, make the purchase.

And for no particular reason but the warmth in your heart for a friend, give that gift on a weekday afternoon. How meaningful a gift is when the only reason for the giving is friendship.


Before putting away my winter, wool clothes, I make sure each has been dry-cleaned. I actually think I learned in a summer job during college that cleaning before storing was a good procedure because it eliminated any possible moth infestations.

Recently, one last jacket was taken to Tri-Town Cleaners on Andrews Street. How pleasant each one behind the counter has been.

I have always been amazed at the work involved at a dry-cleaning facility — in winter months and in the heat of summer, too. The hot presses and machines are operated not only on cooler days but in extreme heat, too.

The day I stopped to pick up my jacket, it was extremely warm. The woman who came to the counter left her work to attend to my cleaning. It was so hot — I felt terrible to think I had asked someone to clean and press my jacket in the warmest of our then June days.

And each time I stop on Andrews Street — the gentleman and women, too, leave the heat of their work and attend to my cleaning in the friendliest, kindest manner. There is never a complaint about the heat or their work. And for that I am always most grateful.

My heartfelt thanks this week to each one who washes and presses shirts and cleans and presses our dry-cleaning so we can all look a little bit better. Perhaps the next time I stop I should bring a cool drink for sharing. And next year I will try to dry clean all of my winter clothes while the temperature is a bit cooler!


Summer in the north country is a very special time. The blue sky is spectacular, the grass so green — and what a heavenly scent from a freshly mowed lawn. There are beautiful fresh flowers to pick (we have had roses, lilacs and sweet peas so far) and fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden. What a joy life in the north country is!

There is the beauty of the night sky, too. I have told you before of a visitor at our Bombay home from New York City.

The visitor had called us to the backyard to see the stars in the sky. This visitor, who grew up in New York City, had never seen the night sky in its full beauty because of the lights of the city.

And there are living creatures, too, including flying creatures such as lightning bugs. A lightning bug was magical as a child.

Yes, we captured them in a canning jar. What fun to be able to see their light enclosed in a jar with holes punched in the lid for safe keeping. Our parents would always make us release them before we came in the house at night.

I don’t ever remember a lightning bug in our home as a child. A few nights ago, I woke seeing a flash of light in the darkened bedroom. I was concerned thinking there might be a medical issue but soon realized there was a lightning bug flickering across the blackened room.

This might have been a delightful time of remembrances of an earlier time with our captured lightning bug. The only problem was that this lightning bug was flying freely with our now awake feline friend, Tigger, involved in the chase.

With every light of the bug now indoors, Tigger would leap across the bed or from bed to bureau in an attempt to capture the then darkened flying creature. It was an interesting few moments when the outdoor flying creature came indoors and decided to test the patience of our feline friend.

Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live where the change of seasons can be enjoyed thoroughly? Where on a summer day we can inhale clear air, taste delicious fresh strawberries picked minutes before eating and enjoy the beauty of a lightning bug before your eyes at midnight — all on a steady firm foundation. How grateful I am to live in the north country where our only annoyance is a mosquito or a lightning bug indoors — and where there is no threat of a 7.1 earthquake on a Friday evening.


“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”

— Princess Diana

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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