Local gifts spread the joy of the north country

Ellen Emery

As I am sure most of you are aware by now, our youngest son lives in New York City with our oldest son and his family living near the city in Chappaqua. It is about a six hour drive to visit which isn’t done on a regular basis.

I know we are so fortunate to have our family within driving distance. Many friends have family living across the country or even in different parts of the world.

When our granddaughter was born, it was the year of the ice storm. We had no telephone service for some time and no cellular service available at all then. I would literally slide across the road to our neighbor’s home to visit with my daughter-in-law and listen to the sounds of our first grandchild.

As our granddaughter grew older, we would visit by telephone. She would put the telephone in the basket of her tricycle, and I would travel with her in their driveway. (Her mother was always so kind to share the details of our visits by telephone!)

A few years ago, it was our oldest son and our granddaughter who made sure I traded in my flip phone for a smartphone. I did that reluctantly and began learning the techniques of texting and sending messages on my phone with the tiniest of keypads!

This past week our granddaughter was preparing to leave for college — this is her senior year. How proud we are of her. She texted to see when would be a good time to call (I am still getting use to that process). She called, and there was an immediate connection with FaceTime (I still think there should be a warning on FaceTime so the one involved can at least change clothes or comb their hair).

What fun! Our granddaughter took her phone outside, and I saw her dad (our son) trimming hedges and doing yardwork. I chatted with her mom, too, and we visited with her brother (our grandson).

How wonderful it was to hear Lindsay’s voice and to see her face, too. And to see their home and feline friend Patches! Change is always difficult — well, at least for me it is.

I would urge you, though, to utilize all of the marvelous new devices available. Call your grandchildren or a neighbor or friend who might live a few miles away. For me, a visit face to face over coffee is perfect.

But if that method isn’t possible because of distance, you might even visit by using FaceTime. How marvelous it is to see the face of a loved one on the screen (although I am not a fan of seeing my profile looking back at me).

I hope you can visit this week with family members and friends — over coffee and perhaps over FaceTime, too!


My heartfelt thanks this week to Chad in the cleaning supply area of Walmart. The past few weeks during our Thursday evening shopping excursion, we have found ourselves in this area. Each time there was one item we were unable to find.

A gentleman was working in that area; it looked to this unprofessional eye that he was stocking shelves. We asked where to find the item we were searching for. Immediately with a smile, he told us it was “right here” and led us to the shelf where we found exactly what we were looking for. I thanked him for his kind assistance and apologized for interrupting his work. This kind, caring and knowledgeable gentleman reassured us, telling we had not interrupted and added this was part of his job!

That evening I looked carefully for this gentleman’s name tag so I could share his kindness with you, but I saw no name (name tags have a strange way of flipping over so no name is visible). Last Thursday evening, we were in the same area — this time what I needed was a familiar one, an item I purchase regularly, but it was not on the shelf that it normally can be found.

Our friendly Walmart clerk was nearby — we honestly tried to find our item, but he smiled and asked if we needed assistance. We told him the item we were looking for, a cleaning product that was in the next aisle. (Our friendly clerk did tell us that item had been moved). Again, he reassured us as we apologized for yet again interrupting his work. This week as I expressed our thanks, I noticed his name tag: Chad was our helpful clerk.

We continued our shopping and were then in the food aisle looking for mustard seed (it is time to make relish). I had not found mustard seed yet and was looking, searching through the seasoning shelves. Just then our friendly clerk Chad walked by the end of the aisle — he smiled and asked if he could help, was there something we couldn’t find? There was: I told him mustard seed. And yes, he immediately retrieved the small bottle from the shelf in front of him.

Chad was always helpful and kind, no matter how many concerns we had literally week after week. He is marvelous at treating each one with care and kind assistance. If every clerk treated customers in the same manner as this gentleman does, it certainly would be a far better world. With Chad ready to assist, our shopping trips are absolutely marvelous each week.

Isn’t it wonderful to live in the north country where store clerks like Chad become caring friends? I certainly think so!


Bruce Truax of Massena celebrates his birthday Wednesday! What an extraordinary gentleman. Bruce is always there for family and friends and wherever there is a need. If lights don’t work or there is a problem with plumbing on 37C, Bruce is there to make sure everything is in working order. He is the one who makes sure coffee is in readiness for Sunday morning visits over coffee. And for that I am always grateful.

I am sure Bruce’s wife, Gini, and his family will join me today in wishing this terrific man a wonderful birthday. Have a great day, Bruce (with no time spent today on the lawn mower)!


“I never lose. I either win or learn.”

— Nelson Mandela

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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