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CELEBRATION – Last Thursday afternoon Mary Fiacco celebrated 100 years of life. What a beautiful birthday party it was – there was a cake, balloons, cards and loving family and friends surrounding this amazing woman.

What an honor it was to meet Mary Fiacco. I had the opportunity last week of seeing pictures of this beautiful woman playing sports as a teen, at her wedding and with her beloved family. I also had the marvelous privilege of visiting with her before she had to cut her cake.

One of the women I admire the most, Sister Christine Taylor, was at the birthday party. Sister Christine is always there for others - visiting when there is a need, at services, in the nursing homes throughout the North Country – what an extraordinary woman she is.

As we visited, Sister Christine told me I would have enjoyed visiting with Mary Fiacco and her husband. When the time came and Mary could no longer attend church, Sister Christine would take communion to Mary and her husband each Sunday morning. Sister Christine recalled that Mary would always make a pot of coffee. “She made the best coffee,” Sister Christine told me. “And she would always send her husband out to get a muffin.”

As Sister Christine shared the Sunday morning coffee story, Mrs. Fiacco smiled and also remembered making coffee every Sunday morning for Sister Christine. She also remembered sending her husband for a muffin. What a wonderful memory and what a beautiful Sunday morning that must have been.

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WITH THANKS – My thanks this week to Ron and Al at the Bear’s Den gas pumps. I stopped last week (I believe it was on Thursday). I enjoy my trips to Massena to visit with friends and to shop, but with numerous trips in recent weeks my stops at Bear’s Den for fuel are more frequent.

The gas attendants I saw that day were so friendly and welcoming – Ron washed my windows and Al stopped to assist with my purchase for the day. How pleasant they both were and how efficient. We visited about the 60th anniversary of the opening of Bear’s Den, my gas was pumped and my trip to Massena could continue. Isn’t the north country a wonderful place to live – and buy gas on a weekday afternoon? I certainly think so.

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HOT WEATHER THANKS – Last week I stopped at Cornell’s Dry Cleaning on Main Street. My clothes were in need of cleaning. As I laid the clothes on the counter, I felt guilty for I knew someone had to work in the heat to clean and press each item.

On a warm evening when our family was visiting, the decision was made by our oldest son to go out to eat. He didn’t want his mother to “heat up the kitchen” by cooking. We did go out to eat that evening. That was a very good thing for our family and for Mom as well – but again I felt badly because someone had to cook over a hot stove that evening.

And on a number of occasions this past week, when my time in Massena was later than expected and the heat was more than I wanted to deal with in our kitchen, there was a trip to the Subway at the Speedway Plaza. Others were doing the same which made all of our lives easier on a hot, humid north country evening. Once again, though, my thoughts went out to the young men and women working in the kitchens of each facility and behind the counter.

If you go out to eat this week or order out because the heat prevents you from cooking in your own kitchen, please take a moment and say thank you to those who are providing the meal so you can stay cool.

My thanks this week to everyone who has made my life easier during this heat-filled July – the cleaners at Cornell’s, the chefs at each restaurant, including Goose Landing, and fast food facility I have patronized this week, the road crews and electrical employees who worked diligently after our last storm to make things right again and to the gas attendants who are there to assist on the hottest of days and on days when ice covers my gas cap and makes their lives most difficult.

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BIRTHDAY WISHES – Take a moment on Tuesday and stop at First Niagara Bank and wish Pam Doelger a very happy birthday. My thanks, Pam, for always being there when there was a financial crisis in our lives.! Your calm, skilled knowledge was always appreciated. Warmest wishes for a wonderful birthday celebration with no financial crisis to deal with that day.

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THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – I never learned anything when I was talking. TV and Radio Host and Commentator Larry King on Monday’s Today Show.

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