Our links to history

Ellen Emery

I am sure all of you have replaced your 2020 calendars with a new one.

The page in my date book has been turned over with the new year in full view.

We are nearly a week into the new year as you look at the top of the page and see the date for today, Jan. 6, or look on your phone or iPad that boldly announces the date.

This year as no other, it seems that everyone is welcoming a new year.

It is with great anticipation that the calendar is turned to a new page — a new year.

A new year also brings with it the call for making resolutions.

Each television news program and talk show already has dealt with resolutions.

There have been segments on resolution apps, programs that actually calculate progress on exercise, diet and sleep resolutions.

There was one app called Couch to 5K, getting you in shape for running that 5K!

There was a call from a Navy Seal for goals to be set instead of resolutions made.

On one program, there was a segment called “Januready” that prepared people for proper diet and exercise in the new year.

“Motivational Monday” was the topic on another program with “resolution helper.”

I have never kept to-do lists. I think there were lists made when I was preparing meals for guests.

As guests stopped by and our then-teenage sons brought friends home, all lists were abandoned as meals were prepared for the number of people around the table, not the number of invited guests.

As I thought about the new year and resolutions this week, I wondered if this was a recent activity brought about by product advertisements or television programs.

I quickly learned that resolutions date back more than 4,000 years to ancient Babylon.

The information I read told reported that the Babylonians were said to have started the tradition during a 12-day new year celebration.

During this festival, they would make promises to the gods to pay their debts and return borrowed items.

With a new calendar in 46 B.C., which set Jan. 1 as the start of the new year, it is said the Romans would make promises of good behavior for the year ahead.

My initial thought when I hear the phrase “new year’s resolutions” is to smile.

I usually attempt, as so many do, to watch my diet or exercise more.

I know, though, the time spent attempting to complete any resolution will be fleeting.

With concern still prevalent about the health of family members, neighbors and friends as the novel coronavirus dominates the news and our lives, perhaps this year we should concentrate on resolution-making.

We have learned in the past few months what we treasure and what is important in our lives — family and dear friends are at the top of the list.

Let’s all make new year’s resolutions this year. I would urge you to list them; write them across your January calendar. At the top of the list, if you have not contracted this deadly virus or lost a loved one to COVID-19, there should be gratitude in your heart. If you have been home with family, be grateful for that time together.

And at the top of the list should also be to always treat others with understanding and kindness.

Gratitude especially for our health care workers, essential workers including police officers and firefighters, too, and members of the clergy.

For me, essential workers also are teachers and each one who fills my online grocery order at Walmart and those at the drive-through windows who make sure I have everything we need at our home.

A resolution for this year should include treating those in food lines with kindness and understanding.

That kindness should carry over into our social lives — take a moment this week and write a card to a friend you haven’t seen in a while or, better yet, pick up the telephone and call, visit for a few minutes or an hour or two.

I would urge you to make your resolutions this year meaningful as we begin this year with gratitude for life in the north country and a caring heart for neighbors and friends.


There was a stop at Tim Hortons at Western Door on Monday afternoon.

Not just for a steaming hot cup of coffee but for ground coffee for brewing at home.

I have a coffee pot at home and enjoy freshly brewed coffee during the day — and evening, too.

This probably won’t be a surprise to any of you who know me and perhaps you, too, are enjoying coffee at home more, but I seem to have used more coffee this past year than in previous years.

My heartfelt thanks to the young woman at the Tim Hortons drive-through window.

She was so pleasant and helpful — making sure my order was complete including the purchased ground coffee.

As I carried the coffee into our home, I noticed a “Best Before” date on the coffee.

I always check the use by date on milk and meat products (the use by date on eggs is always problematic in our home) but don’t remember checking that date on my coffee.

The suggested “Best Before” date on my coffee purchased on Monday afternoon was August 2021. I don’t think complying with that date will be a problem at all.

In fact, I am sure this coffee will be used before the month is over. What a joy to know I don’t have to worry at all about the expiration date of ground coffee!


Hopefully, you have noticed that the days are a bit longer.

As I prepare dinner in our kitchen about 4:30 p.m., it is still light enough that I can see the birds at the feeder in our backyard. The Countdown to Spring has begun — spring arrives March 20.

According to the Countdown to Spring calendar, there are 72 more days until its marvelous arrival! Please add that countdown to your 2021 calendar.


“Every moment is a fresh beginning.”

— T.S. Eliot

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