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Sat., Aug. 29
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Over Coffee With Ellen


CIRCLE THE DATE – If you have spent any time at the Highland Nursing Home I am sure your paths have crossed those of Activities Director Beverly Bolster. Beverly has served as activities director, I was told, for over 45 years. On May 18 a Retirement Tribute/Jamboree will be held to honor this truly extraordinary woman. The event will be held at the Moose Lodge on Ames Street at 1 p.m. If you would like more information on this tribute to Beverly you may contact either Crystal Stephenson or Pam Wilson in the Activities Department at Highland Nursing Home.

I had seen Beverly from time to time when I happened to be at Highland for activities we were both involved in and was always most impressed. It was not until my friend Carolyn Snyder and her husband Ron were residing there, though, that I saw Beverly’s dedication as Activities Director and her concern with each one.

Yes, Beverly, it meant a great deal when you provided an opportunity for Carolyn to be part of services she loved so much. When I went to you, Beverly, and asked about the organ Carolyn loved to play – you were so concerned about my friend’s love for music and that organ. There were tears in your eyes as you found a spot for it in an upstairs dining room. And then you found a time when Carolyn could play for residents each day. How much that meant.

And a call when a friend was in need. You didn’t have to make that call or be concerned beyond the activities planned for the day. But Beverly saw a need and knew a call had to be made out of concern for a resident and his family. Amazing!

How special our Christmas caroling at Highland was this year. There have been times when our group walked through the halls singing Christmas carols. This year at Highland when we arrived late on a Sunday afternoon, Beverly was there to greet us. She walked with us taking our group to each room of a resident who would sing along or clap, smile or perhaps shed tears remembering other Christmases and other carols sung. This remarkable Activities Director knew each one, calling them by name and making a connection with those in our group and songs sung.

My heartfelt thanks, Beverly, for your care and concern for each resident and for the events you have planned and made them a part of each day at Highland. You have touched so many lives with your work – dedicated work always serving others.

I hope each one who has been touched by Beverly’s kindness or known of someone who has been touched by her concern will circle May 18 and plan to attend to honor this remarkable woman!


NO RIVALRY – On any other week Editor Ryne and I would be cheering for different teams residing in different cities. Normally Editor Ryne cheers on the Boston Bruins while the favorite NHL team in our home is one to the North, the Montreal Canadiens. Last week, though, I think all of our hearts were at Boston Gardens. As the strains of our national anthem began, each one in the arena joined – their voices strong and across America I know others added their voices. We were all Bostonians that night, no friendly rivalries now with part of our souls now connected through the tragic events at the Marathon.

I listened to the words of Mike Barnicle, a Boston native and longtime journalist. When we were reading the Boston Globe on a regular basis I remember reading his column. On the morning after the bombing in that city, he was interviewed on the TODAY Show. Mike Barnicle was asked to read the pulse of the city. He replied that it was somber, but “there is a pulse …the sun rose!”

He then focused on the good of the day and asked people to remember “People helping people – complete strangers were helping strangers.” He continued to say he had the “memory of strangers rushing to help strangers …rushing to put tourniquets on the wounded. That’s the spirit of the City – of this Country.”

I was also touched by the comments made by veteran newsman Tom Brokaw who reminded us that “these are the times when America is more than the sum of its parts …it is people coming together.” He pointed out that no one rushing to help another asked “are you a blue state or a red state” reflecting that on that day no one was concerned about politics and allegiances, only helping someone in need.

And the words of Fred Rogers, the gentleman our sons watched on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood each day, still ring true. He was quoted in days following the Boston bombing, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers –so many caring people in this world.”

I would ask that you continue this week to look for the helpers and the caring people in this world and celebrate goodness.


WARMEST WISHES – If I have remembered correctly Jackie Sheehan will celebrate her birthday on Saturday. What a lovely, caring woman. It is always such a joy to stop and visit with Phil and Jackie in their gift shop on Main Street. I hope someone bakes Jackie a cake and wraps a present beautifully for her! My warmest wishes, Jackie, you certainly deserve only the very best as you celebrate.


WITH THANKS – My thanks this week to Dean at Hannaford’s. He attended to an error I had made with such professionalism. He didn’t laugh at me or make fun, but addressed my concern in such a kind, caring manner. What a fine gentleman. Isn’t the North Country a wonderful place to live and shop? I certainly think so.


THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – To be rich in friends is to be poor in nothing. Lillian Whiting (Inscription on a card I received this week from a dear friend Gloria Bombard.)

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