A word for Brian

Posted 7/20/22

I understand how painful it is to lose a family member suddenly. There are so many memories that collide, and no lack of anecdotes about a man who was indeed “a man about town,” as was …

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A word for Brian


I understand how painful it is to lose a family member suddenly. There are so many memories that collide, and no lack of anecdotes about a man who was indeed “a man about town,” as was Brian Sykes. 

Here is mine:

My memory sees Brian flash a smile and a quick word as I drive down Fremont Street. Oh, whoa! Slower I must go; there are two dogs loping along the road. I’d prefer not to wave back now but that would be rude. 

Still, I’ve spoken to Brian about the leash law. I recall he was polite, addressing  me as Mrs. Schroeder (a respect not unnoticed by me). He assured me they knew I wasn’t going to hurt them. Actually, it was the other way around that concerned me. Brian’s dogs eyed me whenever I came by and I never knew what they were really thinking. Nonetheless, it was hard to stay mad at someone who usually waved and smiled a friendly “hello”—I know, because I’d tried—and that was Brian. 

I think of the eulogy given by Brian’s daughter at Holy Cross Church. One of the things she lovingly recalled about her dad was that he was not one to judge others. This brought to mind the words of Jesus, “For the way you judge you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matt 7:2)

How fortunate for all of us that we will ultimately stand before a Judge that NO amount of money can buy.

One more thing: I expect someday to be strolling along a street of gold, only to see ahead of me a near-dozen dogs cavorting and running loose around their beloved friend. After all, since there can be nothing to cause pain there (Rev. 21:4), leash laws in heaven are unlikely. Yes, methinks Brian will flash a winning grin again!

Michelle Sackett Schroeder
Callicoon, NY

Milk snakes are harmless

I would suggest that Hunter Hill and your editorial department reconsider before ever “sharing” another piece about killing an innocent animal.

I escorted a milk snake out of my house just last week.  The reason they come in is because they like mice. They are harmless, except to mice.

Mr. Hill calls himself “outdoorsy,” but he reveals himself as a tenderfoot if he mistakes a milk snake for a copperhead. 

All in all it was a very depressing article, especially the crowing at the end.

Phil Budinger
Long Eddy, NY

When we feel threatened, we act

Hunter Hill’s column had me laughing from “11:30 at night,” to the very end.

I could visualize the Biblical scene with him, naked, his wife present, plus a snake. 

I started laughing again this morning because a similar situation happened to my sister decades ago.

A bat had entered the house and began attacking her. Every time she’d try to escape the kitchen, the bat would fly directly into her face.  I got the call at 11:30 p.m. to come over and help.

She is the kind of person who believes with all her heart that thou shall not kill anything.

But when I arrived, she was on the floor screaming (with a blanket over her head), “Kill it! Kill it!”

I couldn’t stop laughing. This was the total opposite of the love child’s philosophy.

It’s easy for the rational brain to make calm choices, but when our primal brain feels threatened, survival instincts kick in and we don’t think—we act. 

Thanks, Hunter, for reminding me!

C.A. Grant
Narrowburg, NY

Alzheimer’s legislation would mean better care

June was Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, dedicated to raising awareness of the over six million Americans who have Alzheimer’s, and the more than 11 million people who provide unpaid care for them.

Serving as a New York State Alzheimer’s Congressional team member, I attended the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement Forum in Washington D.C. this past June with hundreds of other advocates from across the country. Our primary objective at the forum was to gain support from our Congressional representatives in implementing Alzheimer’s [Association] legislative priorities. 

 My advocacy group of 10 met with a very receptive member of Sen. Schumer’s staff at his D.C. office. We focused on two of our identified legislative priorities and passionately requested that Sen. Schumer support us by helping move them forward:

1) The bipartisan Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act (S.1125 / H.R. 2517), which would create a more effective path for dementia care and address shortcomings in the way dementia care is currently delivered.

2) The bipartisan Equity in Neuroscience and Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials (ENACT) Act (S.1548/HR. 3085), which would increase the participation of underrepresented populations in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Sullivan County communities exemplify “rural underrepresentation,” with limited access to clinical trial locations, transportation availability, cost to participate and internet availability.

Join me in urging Sen. Schumer to move this legislation forward.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease or get involved in community activities, volunteerism or advocacy, visit alz.org and alzimpact.org.

Karin Pantel  
Thompsonville, NY

Vote so our grandchildren will have choices

The Supreme Court  has overturned Roe with its recent ruling on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health, and gutted the federal protection of abortion rights and control over our own bodies.

This triggered new laws already on the books in states across the country—the most restrictive in recent history, including complete bans from conception with no consideration for maternal health, rape or incest—along with the 13 trigger laws that were immediately enacted with the Dobbs ruling. They are unconstitutional, and a majority of Americans don’t want them. Including me. The Dobbs ruling will impact people of color and poor people the most.

I fight for abortion justice, as a nurse, mother and grandmother of eight. I want my grandchildren to grow up in a country that is ruled by love, not hate; by kindness, not anger; and by choice—the choice to have control over their own bodies as I did.

We will go to the polls. We will vote for elected officials that support protective federal abortion legislation and abortion rights in the United States. We will pressure President Biden to declare this a national emergency.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always.”—Mahatma Gandhi

Jo Shuman, RN
Cottekill, NY

loss, milk snakes, bat, alzheimer, voting


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