A picture is worth a thousand smiles

Ellen Emery

Monday morning as I was finishing my breakfast and enjoying my cup of coffee, my cellphone indicated there was a message through WhatsApp.

I checked my messages, and there was a beautiful photo of roses and a teacup with a delightful message across the picture, “Good Morning, Friend.” The personal note accompanying the beautiful picture asked how I was and how my family was, adding, “I hope you are well.”

That message made my day. How wonderful to begin my day with a friendly and warm greeting from a friend in Bangladesh.

I have mentioned this before: I am so grateful for connections made through this pandemic. During a book study on Zoom, I have had such a marvelous opportunity, a privilege to meet new friends in India and Bangladesh. What a joy this is!

On Monday a now dear friend greeted me and wished me well, hoping my Monday would be a very good day and advised that I stay safe. What a marvelous greeting.

As I thought about my friend’s greetings, I wondered why I didn’t do this with others. Hopefully, some of you reach out to family members and friends to be together as they begin their day and just say, “Good Morning!” Hearts, happy face emojis and beautiful pictures all add to that wonderful morning hello!

If you haven’t tried this practice, perhaps this might be the week to share in a morning greeting. Especially now when time together is difficult, wish your family members and friends a wonderful day as you visit through new connections.


When I first began visiting with you through this column in February 1993, then-advertising manager (I believe that was her title) Mary McGee created a logo for this column. Mary was excited about her creation — a coffee mug complete with the words “Over Coffee with Ellen” across the top on a folded newspaper.

I believe the tiny coffee mug even included the words “Daily Courier-Observer.” I was pleased with the coffee mug and loved Mary’s creation.

When my column began, most had no idea who I was and I was thankful for that! It was fun to write about those who made my day better and never knew if they ever saw my thanks or who was writing.

On a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts in Potsdam one morning, I smiled looking at the column that I had written to thank the clerk there taped on the cash register. What fun!

A clerk in a Massena store one day commented as I wrote my check for payment, “Oh, I read you!” What fun that exchange was, too.

Changes are inevitable in life. And at some point, I was asked for a photo — a “head shot” to accompany this column. I honestly think there should be an age limit to head shots and resisted a bit.

Courier Observer reporter Bob Beckstead lent a helping hand taking the picture that is now used with this column. I must say I always cringe a bit as I click on “Opinion” on the NNY360.com website and see my face appearing!

A friend in Massena is a faithful column reader. Each week she not only reads this column but will share her own thoughts and experiences, which always means a great deal.

There was a time when I had the marvelous opportunity of visiting with the woman’s grandchildren on a weekly basis. I am sorry to say those visits were some time ago — perhaps even five or six years ago.

Recently, my friend shared a delightful exchange with her granddaughter Katie, who is now 13. It is amazing how quickly time passes.

My friend was taking her granddaughter to a dance lesson. It was a Wednesday, and she had her Courier Observer opened to this column.

Her granddaughter saw the picture at the top of the page and immediately recognized the columnist. Kattie announced, “I know her!”

I love that there was recognition and an immediate connection made. Katie’s connection touched my heart and made me smile.

And on this day, I was actually grateful for an editor’s decision to include a photo of the reporter and columnist of each printed copy in the newspaper.


This past week, a gift arrived for the jigsaw enthusiast in our home. It was a day for celebration with a gift given.

The gift was a jigsaw puzzle depicting the front page of the New York Times from the day the celebrant was born. It was fascinating to read the New York Times from, yes, a few decades ago.

I was most interested in the price of the daily newspaper. In 1940 the cost of the New York Times was 3 cents. There was a cost listed of 4 cents for “elsewhere.”

I asked family members who purchase the New York Times what the price might be now. I was told that the daily newspaper was $2.50 with the Sunday publication of $6. Amazing! Although I know the 3 cent newspaper price was a few years ago, I smiled when I thought of the mark-up as costs have increased — and our paychecks, too!


“Cherish your human connections, your relationships with friends and family.”

— Barbara Bush

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