North country residents go out of their way to be kind

Ellen Emery

It was extremely hot this past weekend.

My favorite temperatures, I must admit, are those a bit cooler — usually during springtime or fall. I love living in the north country where we can experience a change of seasons.

Although the temperatures were a bit warmer than my liking, the sky has been beautiful — and clouds and green leaves perfect. Even the rain has helped make the garden grow! And for that we are always most grateful.

My sisters and their families all live in California — yes, sunny California. As we have visited in recent weeks, I have been surprised to learn most of their vegetation is brown unlike the beauty of our green grass and tree leaves.

Last week as I visited with my youngest sister, she paused and announced “Oh, we just had an earthquake!” She quickly pointed out it was a “minor” one, I believe 3.0 in magnitude, but that sentence was unsettling to me. No matter how small the magnitude of an earthquake, it is still an earthquake.

How grateful I am this week for life in the north country. We brought our take-out supper to Eisenhower Lock on Sunday evening. There were perhaps a dozen cars there — the parking lot was filled with interested bystanders and visiting canine friends all there to watch the extraordinary site of a ship passing through the locks.

The sky was azure with clouds floating by — the ship majestic and neighborliness of strangers gathered to watch as the ship passed by wonderful. How grateful we were on a Sunday evening to live in the north country.

Take a moment this week and look skyward, stop at Eisenhower Lock to just look around and see the beauty of the flowers and vegetables growing skyward. The north country is certainly a marvelous place to live.


There is at least one good aspect of humidity in the air. I am so fortunate to have had a number of sweet grass baskets. On most days, the sweet grass woven carefully into each basket is forgotten.

This past weekend, our home was filled with the fragrance of sweet grass. Yes, the humidity enhances that wonderful fragrance. This is a plus for humidity on an extremely hot day.


The Clockman has been a hockey fan for as long as I have known him. Since we moved to the north country, more than 50 years ago, his support has been for the Montreal Canadiens. Our two sons grew up in a home where each game played by the Canadiens was watched on television and where hockey memorabilia surrounded them. Trips to the old Montreal Forum was routine, and the name of players and their stats were known and repeated.

When Henri Richard visited the Massena Arena, there was a trip made for pictures and an autograph. (There were multiple autographs that day — the hockey legend knew the book I had brought for an autograph and signed every picture that depicted him. What fun!)

With each game watched, I was impressed by the skills these individuals possessed. The ability to skate while manipulating a small, round puck with a slender hockey stick was amazing to me. Soon, I was a fan as well.

Last week, the Canadiens (without their head coach on the bench because of COVID-19) defeated Las Vegas to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. After their winning game that earned them a spot in the finals playing for their 25th Stanley Cup, there were messages sent from family members and clips of the outstanding play of the favorite team in our home shared by text.

Our youngest son, who lives in New York City, has even discovered a group from Montreal who in the heart of NYC are cheering on the Canadiens. What fun to have “our” team attempting to bring the Stanley Cup back to Montreal.

As I started for Massena on Saturday, I smiled. Across the side of the Montour CPA & Associates building on the four corners of Hogansburg were the carefully printed words “Go, Habs, Go” and a picture of the Stanley Cup and No. 25. (Across the street is a marvelous video display projected on the screen of victorious Canadiens!) Yes, our Montreal Canadiens have won the most Stanley cups of any other NHL team with 24 in the record books.

In 1986 when the Canadiens won the Cup, The Clockman and our oldest son went to Montreal to join the parade to celebrate the win that year.

The last Stanley Cup win was in 1993. There was a parade that year — on State Route 37 through the center of Hogansburg past the four corners. The Clockman was part of that parade driving his truck complete with license plates “Habs One” and a replica of the Stanley Cup (thanks, Derek!). I believe that was the year there was a trip to Vermont to meet Canadien hockey great John LeClair and take pictures with the Stanley Cup.

I smiled when I saw the words “Go, Habs, Go” on the side of the building on the four corners. That building is where I first met Donnie Comins at the then-Harry’s Market.

Donnie is definitely not a Canadiens fan. In fact, he is a Boston Bruins fan complete with a tattoo on his arm, I believe. And during the 1993 parade, Donnie parked along the highway at the parade letting each one know his fan support of an opposing team.

I heard Sunday there was talk of another parade (depending on the outcome of Stanley cup finals this week!) What fun — to support your favorite team and hope for a win and a victory parade.

And what fun that we can cheer for opposing teams. I am sure Donnie Comins will make sure there is a Bruins emblem on the four corners or a jersey on the light post!


Our neighbors Pat and Keith Edwards will celebrate their wedding anniversary Saturday. What wonderful neighbors and what a terrific couple.

My warmest wishes, Pat and Keith, for a beautiful day on Saturday. Happy Anniversary!


My thanks this week to store clerks who are so skilled in packaging everything I purchase. How kind and understanding each one is as well as we all try and adjust with carrying our own shopping bags and the new process for dealing with our order.

Monday morning, there was a trip to Walmart. I had a number of odd purchases and forgot my shopping bags.

I have a trunk literally full of bags but generally forget. And on the days I remember, I make sure to tell the clerks not to watch me as I stuff items most unceremoniously into the bag with nothing fitting properly.

Store clerk Barb took a single bag and placed each item — cans, a bowl, small box, cards and even a pair of slacks carefully and skillfully into that single paper bag. Amazing!

How thankful I was on a Monday morning for her ability to pack each item successfully into a single grocery bag. And how grateful I have also been for the clerks at Price Chopper, who have been so understanding and thoughtful with each checkout.


“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.”

— Diana, princess of Wales

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