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Sun., Dec. 28
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Over Coffee With Ellen

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A HELPING HAND – One morning, a few weeks ago, as I looked out of our back window, I saw our neighbor Carole Smallman. She was near our bird feeder with a huge cardboard box in her hand. By the time I arrived at the back door she was gone. Shortly afterward, though, she visited with the birder in our home telling him a sad tale of a pigeon in her yard.

Although Carole does have curtains and shades to limit the reflective view for birds eating on her back deck, a pigeon had hit her sliding glass door that morning. The pigeon (who has been named Pauly Pigeon by the Emery home birder) could walk and eat seed, but could not fly after his collision with the Smallman glass door.

Carole is one of the kindest, most caring people you will ever meet. She is there for family, friends and neighbors in need – and her heart is always open for any stray or injured living being that comes to her door.

There are a number of feline friends who reside in the Smallman home, and the cats on that side of the road are let outside each day. Carole was concerned that her pigeon friend, who could not fly at the moment, might be injured by one of the household pets who might come in contact with the now walking pigeon.

Carole knew our feline friend Tigger isn’t allowed outside our home, so she brought her new pigeon friend to visit our Bombay home – across the road. The first day Pauly Pigeon stayed under the bird feeder where ample food was provided.

We have an enclosed back porch. Underneath that area is a large covered area where a visiting pigeon could take shelter. There were puddles nearby for drinking and the Emery Birder placed seeds under the porch for Pauly’s dining pleasure. Leaves were also provided for Pauly under the porch for nesting.

Our visiting pigeon friend seemed contented – although I must admit I would have no idea how to tell if a pigeon was contented or not. Pauly has distinct features, a white marking so we could tell if our pigeon friend was still visiting. For about a week we watched as he would venture to the bird feeder or around our back yard. And then under the porch he would go.

And then one day our adventuresome pigeon walked from our back porch to the side yard near a tractor (the one used by the snowplowing birder in our home). We were amazed by Pauly’s ability to walk distances now.

And then he began to fly – short flights at first. There was a flight to the lower section of the roof of the clock man’s shop and then the report came that Pauly had flown to the wires and was sitting proudly with his pigeon friends. Carole was called at work that day with the good news. We were all delighted to think Pauly had survived his collision with the window and then a week or so after visiting across the street, now he was flying.

Carole came over to share her news that afternoon. When she arrived home from work Pauly Pigeon was nearby – waiting for her in her yard. Pauly walked to the Smallman’s back deck, walking up the steps to wait for food. He was home. Pauly not only survived, but he had found his way back across the road to his rescuer, Carole.

I checked on Pauly this weekend. Carole refers to our mutual pigeon friend as “she” (perhaps it should be Paul-i!). Carole said her pigeon is doing well. Pauly meets Carol every day after work and walks to the patio door. She will fly into the pine tree in their backyard, but continues to walk up and down the steps of the deck for food.

We tried to do our part in our pigeon rescue effort, but Pauly knows who he owes his life to – our neighbor Carole. And he is going to make sure he stays close by in case he needs her helping hand once again.

Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live where not only do neighbors help neighbors, but make sure the helping hand is extended to every living being? How fortunate we are to live in such a caring community.


BIRTHDAY WISHES – Jim Johnson, Brasher Iron Works, celebrates his birthday today. What a pleasure it has been to be able to meet this fine gentleman and visit from time to time in recent weeks. Jim is another caring neighbor – always there to lend a helping hand.

My warmest wishes, Jim, for a terrific day as you celebrate your birthday. I know your lovely wife Erma will join me today in wishing you only the best. Hopefully there will be no lawn mowing on your schedule today.


AND ON SPORTS – There was to be no mention of sports in this column today for there is no good news to report in my NFL world. I chose not to listen to the Morning Extravaganza and Bills’ Fan Sanford T. Cook on Monday morning. WMSA was turned on for Swap and Shop, which I felt would be “safe” listening.

Thankfully I hadn’t heard from a single Buffalo Bills’ fan during the entire day – there were no calls and no e-mailed messages to speak with glee over the horrific Sunday meeting between my NY Jets and Sanford T., Bob B. and Bruce’s Buffalo Bills.

I was preparing supper and the telephone rang. Our youngest son, Gregg, and his high school friend, A.J. Adams, had met after work at a restaurant near the George Washington Bridge.

I heard A.J.’s voice and was so pleased to hear from a friend now working in New Jersey (technically working on the George Washington Bridge. And then it began – A.J. had not called at all to see how my day had gone or what the weather was like at home. No he was calling to make sure I remembered he was a Buffalo Bills’ fan and to make sure I knew his team had in fact beaten my Jets badly on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon NFL viewing was not a pleasurable experience at our Bombay home. By the second quarter of play, there was absolutely no hope for a comeback.

Sunday’s outcome made A.J. happy. I will remind this Bills’ fan, though, that one game is not an entire season. There are a few more games to be played and hopefully the results will be in the “win” column in future match-ups!

Perhaps there should be a telephone ID that instead of identifying the “Caller” would identify the team allegiance – such as “Bills’ Caller or “Bruins” Caller (for a Donnie Comins call). That would certainly save a great deal of needless frustrated conversation following a Sunday upset!


THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up. NFL Coach Vince Lomabrdi (1913-1970)

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