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Over Coffee

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BELATED WISHES – Yesterday was the birthday of Carl Brock of Massena. Although my wishes are belated by a day they are most sincere. I hope you had a wonderful birthday, Carl, celebrating with your lovely wife Norma and canine friend Heidi. What a pleasure it is to visit with Carl (and Norma, and Heidi, too!) each Sunday morning! I hope all of Carl’s many friends throughout the North Country will join me this week in wishing him a very Happy Birthday!

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JETS AND GIANTS OVER COFFEE – This past week I had the marvelous opportunity of visiting over coffee with Gloria and Jay Bombard. Any time spent with this delightful couple is always such a joy. Both Gloria and Jay can make an excellent cup of coffee. Gloria always warms the coffee cups before serving her coffee. What a kind, thoughtful gesture – to make sure the cup is warm so the coffee will be steaming hot when shared.

Jay is also a terrific brewer of coffee. There is just one slight problem with Jay’s coffee – it is in the cup he serves it in! Last week as we visited the NFL training camps had just begun. With thoughts on our favorite NFL teams, Jay smiled as he served my coffee in a blue NY Giants mug!

I am sure most readers remember my favorite NFL team is the NY Jets – a cross town rival of Jay’s Giants! Perhaps the next time we visit I should bring my own mug (one with a green Jets insignia!). I do look forward to my next visit with Gloria and Jay (and their feline friend Kayla, too). Our visit will have to be before August 24. I do not plan to visit on August 24 – the day my Jets will play Jay and Gloria’s Giants in pre-season play!

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NORTH COUNTRY ADAVANTAGE – On July 17 after this column appeared in the Courier-Observer so that it could be read by my sister in Italy, an e-mail arrived in our Bombay home. “You have gas attendants – Wow!” My sister was most impressed that I had someone to pump my gas.

Recently a friend’s family was visiting from California. They, too, were not only surprised to see someone come to their car to take care of filling their car’s gas tank, but were also impressed there were gas attendants here.

The gas attendants in my life are marvelous – so helpful and friendly. Whether I stop at Eastern Door, Speedway, Truck Stop Number Nine (Bobby is an excellent gas attendant – the very best. It is always a pleasure to visit with Bobby, even though he is a Boston supporter!), Bear’s Den Western Door, Twin Leaf – or JC Tower in Massena (the gentlemen there are also so friendly), I always know my tank will be filled properly even when the cap on the tank is frozen shut requiring the attendant to pry it open with bare fingers on a below zero day!

When you stop this week at a gas station near your home and if a gas attendant is at the pumps in readiness to lend a helping hand be grateful for their assistance – for there are no gas attendants in California and Italy! Isn’t the North Country a marvelous place to live – and purchase your gas for your trips to Massena and home! I certainly think so!

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COUNTDOWN – On an absolutely gorgeous, cool summer North Country morning last Thursday, I stopped at Hannaford’s for needed groceries. It was a beautiful day – the trees green, the sky blue and air clear that day.

As I made my way to the check-out counter Gene Ackerman stopped me and asked if I knew what happened in five months. I had no idea what he was referring to, my mind centers on Sunday activities and my column deadline. Other dates and events fall around those two times and I generally don’t think months in advance and I honestly had no idea what date it was on Thursday.

“Christmas,” Gene responded gleefully. He was so pleased with his countdown to Christmas. I absolutely love Christmas, but on this coatless summer day I had no desire to begin Gene’s “Countdown!” Be ready, Gene, in four months I will look forward to your countdown at that time!

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WITH THANKS – When I expressed my thanks to those who work so diligently through the hottest of summer days so our lives may be easier, there was one very important group that I failed to mention. My heartfelt thanks to each one in our local fire departments especially in recent weeks to the members of the Hogansburg Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department.

On one of the hottest days I saw this department responding to a local fire at Big Boys’ Gas Station. There were a number of other departments responding that day in the unbearable heat. The volunteers responded and worked to not only extinguish a fire, but protect lives and other structures from igniting. And for that I am most grateful!

How fortunate we are in the North Country to have such excellent departments with dedicated members so many who are volunteers devoting countless hours to fighting fires – whether it is the hottest and most humid of days. When you see a vehicle with an insignia telling you this belongs to a fireman or if you know someone in the department, take a moment this week and say “Thank you!”

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THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and passion to reach for the stars and change the world. Harriet Tubman (1820-1913). The home where Harriet Tubman, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, spent her final years of life was in Auburn, NY. Her home was across the street from the home of William Seward, both places were frequent places for our family to visit when summer visitors stopped at our home.

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