by Jay Lawson
Thank you to everyone who sent Christmas greetings to us at The Weekly this season. It means a lot that you thought of us, and we appreciate it greatly.
When the mail came on Monday, one of the envelopes contained an illustrated card, depicting farm animals—a cow, a donkey, a pair or lambs, a duck with her ducklings, and a bunny. They were drawn in a charming colored-pencil manner, reminiscent of a children’s book.
The animals were outside a manger, peering through a doorway and window. A yellow light glowed from inside. Above, in the night sky, shined the bright Christmas star.
This was a nice card.
Inside the greeting read: “May the promise of that first Christmas bring you joy.”
A handwritten message, added beneath, read: “Have a great X-mas. We are.”
The author of this message was unclear, but the envelope came from the Town of Forestport.
On opening the card, something fell to the floor. It was a newspaper clipping, a torn section from our Weekly Adirondack. The article printed on this page was an obituary published on December 10. It was an obituary announcing the death of Parker Snead.
For those who don’t know, Parker Snead was the Supervisor of Forestport until his death on December 8. He had been battling leukemia for a time and had spent his last days in the hospital.
Emblazened across this news clipping were the words “Best Xmas present ever.”
The “present,” the sender was referring to, was obviously the death of Parker Snead. His death was the best Christmas present this person had ever received.
The words had been scrawled forcefully in thick red ink.
I wondered why this card, this news clipping, this mean-spirited message had been sent to me. Why had I been targeted by whoever this person was, as the recipient?
Yes, I knew Parker Snead, and I knew there were those that disliked him. I have reported on the Town of Forestport for many years and, through my work, had come to know its past few supervisors, Parker among them.
But, why did this particular enemy of Parker’s feel the need to involve me in his/her celebration of his passing?
I didn’t get it. Why was this message sent to me specifically?
It turns out the letter writer has a distaste, not only for Mr. Snead, but also for yours truly.
Apparently the letter writer was angered by Snead’s obituary headline, which described Mr. Snead as “Town of Forestport Supervisor.”
“HE LOST THE ELECTION, IDIOT!! TELL THE TRUTH!!!!”
Those words were also emblazened on the paper. Same red marker, same forceful handwriting. On the same page that had been angrily ripped from our newspaper.
The “truth,” according to this person, is that Parker Snead was NOT the Supervisor of Forestport, having not been reelected on November 3rd.
But that is wrong.
Here are the facts or, if I’m sticking to the parlance of the letter writer, THE TRUTH!
Parker Snead had WON election to a two-year term in 2013. The duration of this term was through December 31, 2015.
It seems the letter writer wrongly believes Mr. Snead’s term to have expired on Election Day.
Yes, a new supervisor was elected, but for a term that would not commence until the conclusion of Snead’s.
That’s the truth. So, at the time of his passing, Parker Snead was indeed Supervisor of the Town of Forestport (as stated in the news article).
Further, Supervisor Snead’s passing did not negate him as supervisor. It did, however, necessitate the assumption of his role by the Deputy Supervisor, who became “Acting Supervisor.”
I won’t argue with the letter writer about my being an idiot. Regrettably there have been too many times where that characterization was fitting. This is not one of them.
Anyway, it was disheartening to receive this kind of letter. It saddened me to think that someone could reflect on all their years and find no Christmas blessing greater than the death of a fellow human being. I understand Mr. Snead was thought to be an enemy, according to this person’s criteria. But, we all have those, don’t we? We all have people we don’t care for and don’t get along with. So what? Don’t we just ignore them and move on? Don’t we do our best to scrape away any bitterness and bad feelings, if only to allow ourselves inner peace?
I would like to return to the greeting card that this critic sent, echoing its pre-printed words…
“May the promise of that first Christmas bring you joy.”
To all our friends in the community, we at The Weekly thank you for your readership and support in 2015. You have blessed us immeasurably, and we wish you a joyous Christmas, and a healthy and rewarding new year.