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EMPTY NEST – It was nearly 30 years ago now that a fly catcher first built her nest on the top of the light by our front door. The year our first visiting bird babies left the nest was the year our oldest son graduated from Salmon River Central School. In fact that year I wrote my first column for the Courier-Observer (which I believe was then the Massena Observer). I was a “guest” columnist for Editor Ryne. Since I was the only one in the office at the time with a graduating senior in our home, I shared my feelings on graduation and a son leaving the nest relating it to our nest of young birds nearby.

In recent years the fly catcher has built her nest on the top of our light near the back door. The bird parents worked diligently feeding their brood. I believe there were four young birds in the nest, which seemed to grow smaller as the babies grew in size. The last few days before they flew from their nest, I could look them in the eye as I opened the back door. They would sit on the nest’s edge and look back never fearful, never retreating from the human’s view.

And then one day they were gone – mother, father and babies, too. The nest now sits empty waiting for a new bird family to be raised nearby. As I have thought about those baby birds and the empty nest that is left and that was left now 27 years ago, I wonder if this is the same family. Could it be the same parent birds or do the children return to raise their family? Perhaps there is a birder in this column’s readership who can answer my question as to what generation might be returning to nest on our pointed back light.

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DENTIST’S VISIT – Last week a regularly scheduled appointment was kept with the dental hygienist at the dentist’s office. It is always a pleasure to visit with Dental Hygienist Sue and on days when there is an assessment of “No Cavities” it is a special pleasure to visit with Dr. Place as well!

This past week the waiting room, both before and after my appointment, was a wonderful place to visit with neighbors and friends. All that was lacking was a pot of coffee. While I was waiting Margaret Demo said, “Hello.” How good it was to see her and have the opportunity to exchange greetings. As I was leaving the Main street office, a familiar face greeted me in the waiting room. Our neighbor Raymond was there, too. We had a marvelous visit. It was good to see Ray, even if we had to drive nearly 15 miles to catch up on the news of families.

How wonderful it always is to see friends and visit, if for only a few minutes, sharing news. No matter where I go in the north country there is always a friend or neighbor or perhaps a newfound friend with a smile and the warmest of wishes. Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live where a visit to the dentist’s office is a morning for sharing with friends? I certainly think so.

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WITH THANKS – My heartfelt thanks this week to Chris in the bakery department at Hannaford’s. I am always amazed by Chris’ skillful artistry with an icing piping bag in hand. The cakes he creates are exquisite! Each cake created by Chris always brings the highest of compliments from my Saturday friends who celebrate birthdays from time to time.

Last week Chris went beyond the normal dictates of his job. I had ordered a chocolate cake and asked for a box of cupcakes for my non-chocolate eating friends. The cupcakes were beautiful – each one created in the form of the most beautiful icing filled rose. Everyone was most impressed, Chris. I thank you for sharing your skilled artistry and my most sincere thanks for making our Saturday birthday celebration so special.

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HANNAFORD APOLOGY – My apologies to Larry Hazen at Hannaford’s. I know his birthday is in January. I have wished him a Happy January Birthday on numerous occasions. Last year I found myself attempting to deal with a new computer. I suppose that should be a good thing, but not everything transferred exactly the same from my old computer (when in doubt, blame the computer). One thing that did not transfer at all was my birthday list, which I believe I have mentioned before. At some point I turned on the old computer and copied all of the birthdays – then I copied those names and dates onto a printed calendar!

Needless to say something was lost in that transfer – perhaps it was in my writing with a “J” scrawled beside Larry’s name he had two birthdays this year (that really is pathetic when you can’t read your own writing). Just think how much younger you will be, Larry, now that I have deleted one birthday from my calendar. My apologies, Larry, for any inconvenience birthday wishes in the middle of June might have caused.

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CHAMPIONS – Congratulations to the Chicago Black Hawks who are the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Champions. On Monday evening, Gary Donaldson’s Chicago Black Hawks defeated Editor Ryne and Donnie Comins’ Boston Bruins – in Boston. Gary will be happy and I am sure Editor Ryne and Donnie will not be. At least I will not have to see the Stanley Cup on Donnie’s home as I drive past each morning. I wonder if his Bruins’ flag will be flying as I drive by today. And a note for the Editor – the favorite NHL team in our home the Montreal Canadiens still hold the record for the most Stanley Cup wins with a 24 total. Nothing more needs to be said.

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THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - All sunshine makes a desert. (Taken from a June entry on the calendar beside my computer in our Bombay home.)

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