New Recipe: Over Coffee with Ellen: Use April 1 for something other than foolishness | Columns

A new month arrives on Friday. Tomorrow is the last day of March with April beginning the next day.

It is on that day when we can turn over our calendars (yes, some of us still have old school calendars that we can turn to a new page as a new month arrives). I am sure most of you will join me in expressing gratitude for a new month that should bring warmer, spring-like days.

There is one difficulty in looking forward to this new month. For me, at least, I find the designation of that first day of this new month as April Fools’ Day problematic.

April Fools’ Day has been celebrated for centuries, I read this week. We know it’s a day so many in which take great pleasure playing jokes with a shout of “April Fool!” as their prank appears to succeed. There are practical jokes played not only by individuals but by newspapers and television news anchors and talk shows.

Our sons always seem to find glee in pranking Mom on this day. There have been countless telephone calls just after midnight with a practical joke.

By midnight, I have been asleep just long enough to not be aware it is a new day. The caller (one of our sons) usually has a terrifying announcement for Mom. Until recently, that midnight call was always a successful (if you can refer to it as that) joke played on Mom!

April Fools’ Day is one of my least favorite day designations (I can’t even bring myself to referring to it as a holiday), especially this year when so many are still suffering with COVID-19, the restrictions of a pandemic and recovering from the devastations of this disease.

As I read about April Fools’ Day, I learned historians have linked it to festivals celebrated in Ancient Rome such as Hilaria, which the reference I used said was Latin for “joyful.” We should change this April 1 holiday to a Celebration of Spring — one that is truly joyful!

I suggest that on Friday, instead of playing practical jokers, this day could be one filled with a demonstration of acts of kindness. How marvelous our day would be if it could be filled with doing for others instead of making others confused, upset and fearful!

Celebrate this week with Rotary Pancake Day and a drive-through chicken and biscuit dinner — celebrate the arrival of spring with thought and caring for others in our community. Wouldn’t that be a much better way to begin April? I certainly think so.

A faithful column reader sent an email this week sharing that when she had stopped at Home Depot, she noticed there were “lots of potting soil bags out front,” which, she said, had made her smile. This is certainly an indication of spring’s arrival.

There was a robin eating at our bird feeder at our Bombay home this week. And as I walked to our car on a weekday morning, a robin sat nearby!

Last week, I shared my thoughts about a book I had seen promoted on television suggesting making the walls in our homes “Joyful, Happiness Walls” complete with pictures and treasures.

A column reader sent a message commenting on those thoughts: “As to the joyful, happiness wall, I can relate,” she wrote, adding, “My refrigerator door is full of [pictures], and I love looking at them.”

My refrigerator door is within my eyesight as I sit at my computer working on this column. I honestly never thought about that aspect of a joyful wall. I agree with my friend — my refrigerator is filled with pictures that I enjoy.

The pictures on my refrigerator are fun photos of family, friends and grandchildren. There also are quotes and magnets — magnets from my niece, young children from years ago and some from traveling sons and grandchildren and magnets from my parent’s home as well.

If you haven’t already created a Happiness Wall, perhaps this week you can transform your refrigerator door into a Joyful Space! Thanks, Sandra, for reminding me of a very joyful space in our home.

When I opened my email last week, I received a fun reminder of an earlier time. There in a message from a friend was a column from 2010. That honestly didn’t seem that long ago, until I realized it was more than a decade ago!

I had mentioned a neighbor on our road, Miss Verna Mulvana (she was a third-grade teacher and was Miss Mulvana!), in an earlier column. She would stop by and visit.

As we visited one day, she shared a lemon cake recipe. I told her I had never seen that recipe before.

A few days later, Miss Mulvana stopped with a handwritten recipe, which I still treasure and use complete with a cake pan for her cake. Each time I take out the handwritten recipe card or use that pan, I am reminded of the thoughtfulness of a Bombay neighbor.

Readers had asked about her recipe, so I included it in that 2010 column. This column reader told me that she had “been going through my recipes, and look what I found!”

She cut out the column and saved it with her recipes. How very special!

Perhaps, though, the most meaningful part of the connections this week was seeing the coffee mug at the top of the column. Mary McGee, who was the life of the Massena Observer office, was so supportive when I began my column. It was Mary who had created the coffee mug image complete with “Over Coffee with Ellen”!

What fun memories. My thanks to faithful column readers who read, share and clip columns for saving! The north country is certainly a marvelous place to live, share my thoughts “over coffee” in newsprint and meet the most marvelous people. I treasure each connection made each week.

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold; when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.”

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