The sight of a bald eagle reminder of local beauty

Ellen Emery

Sunday evening, our granddaughter sent me a text.

She asked if we planned to vote in person or by absentee and if we needed any assistance in obtaining our ballot.

How thoughtful.

Our granddaughter had just helped her other grandparents (maternal) in obtaining their absentee ballots and was willing to lend a helping hand with her north country grandparents.

I expressed my thanks and assured her that we had already sent in our application for absentee ballots. A picture was then sent of our grandson placing his absentee ballot application in the mailbox.

The text accompanying the picture told me he was “very excited” about voting in his first election.

That photo touched my heart.

As my granddaughter and I visited by text sharing voting experiences (I was sharing my experiences), the image of our grandson proudly mailing his ballot application remained in my mind and I thought of those eligible to vote throughout the country.

It is my hope that each one would decide to vote — at the polls or by absentee ballot.

Not only is voting one of our fundamental rights, a civic duty, but it’s also a privilege that many in other countries do not have.

As I have thought about the privilege of voting, it struck me that voting is not mandatory — you are not required by law to vote.

When you cast your ballot, you are exercising your legal right.

I have voted in person every year (with the exception of one presidential election a few years ago now when our oldest son decided to arrive in this world the same time as the election date that year).

I have served as one at the polls who counted the ballots and respect the work done by these extraordinary individuals.

Election Day will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3, this year. There are numerous deadlines for registration to vote, obtaining an application for an absentee ballot or for voting by absentee ballot.

The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 9 if you plan to apply in person at a board of elections office; mailed applications must be postmarked by Oct. 9 and received by Oct. 14. Oct. 27 is the last day to apply online, or by email, fax or to postmark a mailed application for an absentee ballot. Nov. 2 is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot in person, and Nov. 3 is the last day to postmark a ballot (they must be received by Nov. 10).

There also are times for early voting. Please check at your board of elections for the deadlines where you live.

I called the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections and obtained the information from a gentleman on the telephone. He was most helpful in making sure I knew how to complete my application for an absentee ballot.

And for that I am most grateful.

A number of years ago when my mother was in her 93rd year of life, walking was difficult.

But casting her ballot was important.

That year, I attempted to convince her to vote with an absentee ballot, but she would have none of that.

My parents lived in Danby, just south of Ithaca.

She had me call the town clerk to make sure she would be able to vote in a wheelchair. I was assured she could.

On Election Day, our mother and father and a dear caregiver went to the polls.

My mother cast her ballot by pulling the lever on the machine that year.

How proud she was to have had the privilege of casting her ballot in a presidential election.

Each of us should be proud to cast our ballots. This year we can still go to the polls, but we also have the option of casting an absentee ballot.

Whether in person on Election Day or by depositing your ballot in your mailbox, I believe fully that we must all exercise our right to vote for our elected officials, which I feel is an essential aspect of democracy.

WARMEST WISHES

This week I learned Florence Clark of Massena will celebrate her 98th birthday Friday.

She grew up on a farm in Knapps Station.

After Florence Wilkins married Jay Clark, they built a home in Raymondville where they raised their two daughters, Lynn and Judy.

Although I have never met Mrs. Clark, I know she must be a truly extraordinary woman.

The family members I have met, including her daughter Judy VanKennen, demonstrate an amazing caring and kindness for others, certainly marvelous examples of Mrs. Clark’s love and caring.

I am sure her family and many friends will join me this week in sending the warmest of wishes for a beautiful birthday celebration Friday.

STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS

Monday evening, Massena’s Zach Bogosian (24) skated on the ice hoisting the Stanley Cup. Zach is a defenseman for the Tamp Bay Lightning, the 2020 NHL champions.

What a joy it has been this week watching Zach and his team skate to victory. Congratulations to Zach Bogosian on a job well done. Congratulations, too, to his parents, Ike and Vicky. How proud you must be!

REMARKABLE REMINDER

I am sure you are all familiar with road signs that advise you of the speed you might be going.

There is usually a sign on State Route 37 near the Saint Regis Mohawk Police Department, which reminds me of the speed I am traveling at that moment.

As we have traveled to and from our Walmart online pickup via the “back way” I have discovered, a delightful sign reminding us of our speed.

On East Hatfield Street just beyond the Bayley Road connection, there is an amazing sign (at least I think so).

This sign tells the driver what speed they are traveling — if it is below 29 mph, green words appear telling the driver “Thank You.”

A driver ahead of us one day exceeded the required speed limit, and the words printed in red read “Slow Down” with the speed of 31 or 32 appearing.

That is such a delightful, fun sign, telling drivers how fast they are going and then advising them to either “Slow Down” or commending them on complying with the speed limit.

My thanks to the Highway Department who developed this sign and decided to display it in that spot.

It brings joy to my driving experience.

And for that I am most grateful.

Perhaps there should be other signs throughout town and the north country with other advisements appearing in flashing colorful letters!

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“As long as autumn lasts, I shall not have hands, canvas and colors enough to paint the beautiful things I see.”

— Vincent Van Gogh

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