Letters to the Editor

Removed but not replaced

To the editor:

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting on the bench near the exit at Hannaford when my agent T. McDermott stopped by to visit. Yes, it was the same guy who was with me 76 years ago when I sustained a fractured scull after being struck by a truck driven by a relative of Florence Allen. More on Florence Allen later.

T. explained to me that there were a group of people from SMI when it was located on Forbes Street who met once a month for a luncheon at different local restaurants. The previous month they met at CP's in Hagaman. This month they were going to Shorty Persico's.

I didn't want to go for two reasons. I have been cooking at Mount Snow and Pork Beach and all over New Hampshire for 40 odd years. When I eat out I project a negative image. I always look for flaws. The other reason I don't eat out is because I married the greatest cook on this planet.

I have had 61 years of perfect meals. I retired several years ago and my wife, who is 83 years old, will not let me near the kitchen. She claims I would mess up a one car funeral. She makes pie crust to die for. My pie crust, well, you can have your driveway done with my pie crust. She makes doughnuts that are light and fluffy. My doughnuts, on the other hand, are not Dunkin Donuts. You have to soak them overnight to get them soft.

In 40 years of being a head cook, the only thing I have acquired is a cemetery of satisfied customers.

Against my better judgment, I decided to go to Shorty's. I use a walker to get around and when we got there I took two steps inside the door and I thought I was in an ICU unit at St. Mary's Hospital. The place was spotless. You could smell how hygienically clean it was. It was noon and the sun shined through the windows. When it fell on anything metallic it sparkled. So much for bad mouthing the ambiance of the place.

I was seated at a table with five women; two of them, I knew. Mrs. Bryant, Jeff's mother, and Mary Ann Riley. We were given menus and they were a thing of beauty. They were laminated, very clear print, and enough items on there to satisfy anyone. It seems like everyone ordered reubens. I spotted a pulled pork sandwich on a bulky roll with french fries and an ice tea. I looked at the price -- it was under $10.

I've been doing this work all my life. I wondered how the people could extract a nominal profit at such a moderate price. Surely, something must be going on in the kitchen. Let me tell you about this sandwich. The french fries were perfect. The sandwich was even better. There was not a nickel's worth of fat. It was all lean. What upset me most of all, it was served in a marinade I knew I could not duplicate. You just smell this and it tickles the roof of your mouth. It made me want to eat the plate and all. So much for bad mouthing the product.

The only thing for me to attack now are the waitresses. Like most old timers, or hard-headed people, they have tunnel vision. I think the only really good waitresses are the ones between the ages of 35 and 50. They are the ones who make sure salt and pepper shakers and sugar bowls are full, the napkin dispensers are full and there is a bottle of ketchup and a container of Parmesan cheese on the table.

Now I learned why they put erasers on pencils. People make mistakes. These girls were not only drop-dead gorgeous but they were no where near 35. They were courteous, polite and knowledgeable in every phase of this meal.

There's nothing wrong with being a jerk if you know you're a jerk. The bad part is being a jerk and thinking you know it all. If I had to rate this restaurant in its entirety on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, I would give them a 7. I have never been there before but this warrants a repeat.

I had two emotions when I left. One was on the inside of the building and one on the outside when I left. The one on the inside came when I asked for the check and I found that T. McDermott had picked it up. That was a very philanthropic move. But this guy had an angle. I knew when we got in the car to come home he would turn around and say very quietly to me "Don't go looking for anything on the 25th of December, this is it." I got warm all over.

And the outside I found that he had parked the car in front of what used to be Pepe's Bakery. I shed a couple of tears when I thought about Sunday mornings. Warm Italian bread and a dozen dinner rolls and 105 years of being.

I said a quiet prayer and I looked up at Heaven and I said very quietly, "Ralph, you broke a lot of hearts when you put that last key into the door. You have been removed, but you will never be replaced. Your pal, Gym."

James Sheridan,


Thank you, thank you, thank you

To the editor:

This is a public thank you to the town of Florida youth commission for the beautiful ceremony that was held at the Sajdak ballfield in Minaville Saturday, June 29.

In 2006 the field was named after my late husband Ed. It was a great tribute to a man who was very involved for 32 years as a councilman in the town, and served many years on the youth commission. He loved working with the young people in the town. With regret he finally had to give up what he loved doing, due to health problems.

They rededicated the field to him on Saturday. Now that he has gone with the angels, with no more pain, we are sure he is playing his beloved softball in Heaven.

His children, grandchildren and I would like to sincerely thank the members of the youth commission and anyone else involved for taking time out of their lives and families to plan such a special day for Ed and us.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We are sure he was looking down on us all at his field saying with a smile, "What's all the fuss about? Just play ball."

Joan Sajdak and family,

Town of Florida

Flag table was a special gift

To the editor:

It was brought to our attention that a letter was written to the Leader-Herald in regards to an American flag picnic table. We will personally be receiving that picnic table, custom made in honor of our son Bobby Bower who died suddenly June 10 while home on leave from the U.S. Navy.

This was a special one-time-only gift made for our son by a Vietnam vet.

We are a very patriotic family and we're proud to display this beautiful table at our lake home.

Everyone is welcome to stop in and view this gorgeous patriotic gift from our great friends.

Desecrate? No way.

Appreciate? Absolutely.

Proud to be Americans.

Patty and Mike Bower,


The salt of the earth pitching in

To the editor:

While the politicians fly in for their photo-ops and talks with the locals in Fort Plain, it is the Amish, who left their work and fields, to come, with their straw hats and blue shirts, to help their neighbors in need. Hats off to this wonderful group of people, who are truly the salt of the earth.

Jane Slezak,