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Fri., Dec. 19
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COUNTDOWN – In recent years I have expressed my desire to countdown the days until spring, a wonderful time to look forward to each day. This countdown would be instead of the continual emphasis before Christmas on the days remaining to complete necessary tasks in preparation for that special day.

I absolutely love Christmas and all of the activities surrounding this wonderful season. The continual countdowns until the day only bring frustration, though, as the lists of “To Do” items remain undone.

After months of snowy days and below zero temperatures, it is a wonderfully, positive act to look toward spring and warm, coatless days. I have suggested there be a “Countdown Until Spring” before, but have never heard this countdown on the national news programs or in a small box on the front page of the Courier-Observer.

Saturday morning I stopped at Hannaford’s. During my purchase at the deli counter, Chris and I visited about the weather and the hope spring would arrive soon. Although I am not a baseball fan, the announcement that spring training is beginning is always a wonderful sign spring will soon be here. Chris agreed that the announcement of spring training was good news, and we both agreed we were looking forward to spring.

There were a few more items to be placed in my shopping cart before I was ready to check out. As I passed through the check-out aisle, Manager Jeff McCallus said quietly, “Thirty-three days.”

Jeff is one individual who provides me with a countdown until Christmas. In fact, Jeff has the countdown for the coming year, just days after the celebration. Even though Chris and I had just discussed the arrival of spring, my mind had been on a number of different topics as I had proceeded through the store and obviously my mind was not centered on a countdown to spring at the check-out counter. I questioned Jeff, thinking he had the wrong number of days for his countdown to Christmas.

He smiled and quietly responded, “Until spring.”

My heartfelt thanks to Jeff, for remembering and for reminding me to think positive thoughts as the countdown until spring has begun.

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COLDER THAN – Recently the days have been absolutely gorgeous – the sun bright in the azure sky. It has been chilly, though. Sunday morning as I stood in the kitchen of our Bombay home making the morning coffee, the outdoor thermometer read minus one degree. The Weather Channel forecast told us that in Massena the temperature was one below with a “feel like” temperature of 17 degrees below zero.

I left our home about quarter of eight that morning to drive to Massena. As I passed the Hogansburg Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department, a number of the fire fighters were outside preparing chickens for their barbecue that day. I smiled thinking – only in the north country would life go on as usual in frigid temperatures.

Every Sunday morning I meet a gentleman running toward me on state Route 37 near the traffic circle. This past Sunday morning the runner was still making his jaunt along the highway.

I thought no more about the temperature that morning – it was a lovely day. And for me if the roads are bare that signifies it is a good day and I am happy.

Later that day as I visited with our youngest son there was a discussion of north country temperatures. Although he lives in New Jersey, he knew about the HAVFD chicken barbecue from an internet posting. I mentioned the temperature they had been working in that morning.

And then Gregg told me about a friend who is currently in Iceland. The friend had been walking on a glacier in 40 degree temperatures. Amazing. Somehow that seemed terribly wrong to think the temperatures were colder in Northern New York than in Iceland on Sunday. If you were vacationing in a warmer climate who would ever think of traveling to Iceland.

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BELATED WISHES – I believe David Burkhalter celebrated a birthday on Monday. What a terrific gentleman. I always enjoy visiting with David (and his family, too). My warmest wishes are sent your way this week. Although my wishes are belated by a few days, they are most sincere. I hope you had a wonderful celebration and have only the best in the year ahead.

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BIRTHDAY WISHES – Robert Hampton celebrates his birthday on Friday. Robert is an avid sports fan – both of all of the local teams and of national teams as well. If you want to know the outcome of any game, just ask Robert. He will know who won the game and who scored the final goal or who crossed the finish line first. Have a great birthday Robert.

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THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone and let your hand give in proportion to your purse. George Washington, the first president of the United States. (Feb. 22, 1732 – Dec. 14, 1799)

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