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Fri., Oct. 9
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Over Coffee With Ellen


BOMBAY REMEMBRANCE – Each summer a marvelous story complete with pictures appears in the Courier-Observer telling of the arrival of children from New York City.

The children are part of the Fresh Air Program and travel to the north country to spend time with families in a rural setting. I have read of the Fresh Air program in Massena, but until a week ago I had never heard of children coming to spend time in Bombay.

Last Tuesday evening I accompanied the Clock Man in our home, who is a member of the St. Lawrence Valley Antique Dealers Association, to the association’s annual banquet. Seated at our table was another couple from Bombay, the community where I am sure most of you know by now we call home. As discussions continued about our town and the recent open house at our new Bombay Museum, a friend at our table shared her remembrances of Bombay.

Marion McIntosh, who owns Grasse River Antiques and taught at the Madrid-Waddington Central School, remembered coming to Bombay in perhaps 1939 or 1940 as a Fresh Air child. She recalled staying with a doctor in the town who lived in a brick home. Perhaps there is someone in Bombay who remembers a doctor living in a brick home at that time. If you do remember anything about that era or the Fresh Air Program in Bombay, I hope you will share it with me this week.

Marion and her family came to America from Germany and lived in New York City for two years, she said. It was during that time that she came to Bombay. Her father, who was a doctor, moved to Waddington after their stay in New York City.

I was fascinated to learn about the Fresh Air Program and its Bombay connection. I have heard about children coming to other communities through this program, but I had never heard about any connections with the program and our hometown. My thanks to Marion for sharing that – how wonderful to have a Bombay connection with New York City and Waddington ties.


COMPLIMENTS, PLEASE – Recently I noticed a sign on the wall in the examining room of Physician Assistant Cosette Witty-Lewis. The sign detailed step by step the measures a patient might take to lodge a complaint. I read through the listing as it was written and smiled. My complaint would be that there was only a request for criticisms with no method described to register a compliment.

For me there would only be compliments to record for PA Cosette. She is so concerned with each patient – the whole patient, asking about family and children and grandchildren. When my parents’ health was failing and appointments had to be canceled because of trips to be with them, PA Cosette understood and was concerned about her patient and about her patient’s parents, too. I saw Cosette one evening at a concert at the high school and my PA not only recognized me, but spoke and asked how my father was. Amazing.

And at a recent Massena JV football game under the lights, PA Cosette was on the sidelines lending her assistance. What a joy during halftime to have the opportunity to visit with her on the sidelines – and then hear her visit with other patients as well. She took time for each of us – visiting personally as a professional.

How fortunate I am for excellent, skilled health care. And how fortunate that care is provided by a caring individual – Cosette Witty-Lewis. Although the details for filing a complaint are listed in plain few in her examining room, I will lodge no complaint, but will only hope there is some opportunity to register my compliments on a job well done.


NEIGHBORLY RECOGNITION – Last week I mentioned the survey that found one third of all people cannot identify their neighbor by sight. I shared that information and kindly disagreed with the survey’s findings. Not only do our nearby neighbors recognize one another and are concerned if lights are not on or a light is left on in the shop or the driveway is full of snow, but neighbors “country-style” also recognize each other.

I have wanted to express my thanks to Lisa, behind the deli counter at Hannaford’s before – she is another marvelous Hannaford’s employee who always remembers my order, but Lisa’s name tag has always been hidden from view as I have stepped to the counter.

A few weeks ago I stopped at another favorite place the Speedway Plaza. On that occasion I was at the convenience store counter. I heard someone call to me, asking what I was doing in this area. I turned to look and there was my Hannaford friend Lisa. We said hello and learned we lived “near” one another – a few miles, but close enough to be considered neighbors.

Last week I saw Lisa at Hannaford’s (and yes, she did remember my order) ,and we visited about living near one another. As we talked we recalled the Speedway encounter. I couldn’t remember what I had stopped for that day – Lisa remembered and said immediately, “Diet Pepsi.”

Yes, in Bombay neighbors recognize neighbors and remember their deli order and purchases made in a nearby store. And for that I am most grateful. Thanks, Lisa for recognizing me, for saying hello and for always remembering. Your friendly service always means a great deal.


AND FOR FRANCIS, TOO – My heartfelt thanks to Francis at the Hannaford’s Deli Counter this week. I am always so amazed by the service in our local stores. This week Francis went beyond the dictates of his job to make sure my order was complete before I left the store. How grateful I was for his kindness and caring in making sure every item on my list was in my shopping cart. What a fine gentleman! Isn’t the North Country a marvelous place to live – and shop? I certainly think so!


THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain (Taken from a plaque in the lobby of Massena Memorial Hospital on a Friday morning.)

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