Welcome to The Squeaky Pen

...where life is slow, and ripe with rural treasures

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Priceless In Pink

Save The Sherburne Inn Restoration Project has been receiving a steady stream of donations from people in and around the Sherburne community -- and indeed, from those around the country -- since our fundraising card was dropped in the mail two weeks ago. Every day checks arrive, often accompanied by notes of encouragement and thanks. Those of us on the SSIRP board knew we weren't alone in our belief that The Sherburne Inn was worthy of saving and restoring. What we didn't know is how many others are out there who feel the same way. As my dad used to tell me, when you see one rabbit in the road, there are a hundred more in the bushes.

As if the outpouring of support from our community wasn't enough, last week I spoke with Julia Rocchi, managing editor at The National Trust For Historic Preservation. Ms. Rocchi confirmed for me what those of us at SSIRP have known all along: that in order to save our historic places, citizens of small communities like Sherburne must get involved. We can no longer sit back and hope someone else will come along to preserve our history. We are "that someone." All of you who are contributing dollars to saving the Inn, who are urging us forward on Facebook and on our website, and who are showing hands and offering services are "that someone." Our story of rising up and saying no, we will not allow another historic building to fall, is not a good one...it's a great one. The National Trust is interested in our progress and will, as we move forward, follow our journey with the hope of sharing its success with other communities who feel as we do: that small town history and historic places must be preserved because who we are today and who we will be tomorrow is tied inextricably to what has come before us.

We have received thousands of dollars of support thus far, sometimes in the form of very large donations, and sometimes in the form of small ones. The smaller checks are those that tug at my heartstrings. Yesterday a $25 donation arrived. A small pink note was attached to the check that read as follows: "Committee: Keep up the good work. Don't get discouraged."

SSIRP is so appreciative of the benefactors who have and will continue to donate thousands. Their generosity will allow us to replace walls and retouch bricks and ultimately re-energize our downtown corner. But it is because of the lady and her pink note that the SSIRP board meets every week, that committee members gather to brainstorm, that we will approach corporations with funding requests, that we will spend hundreds of hours applying for grants, and that, once the building is ours, we will surge forward with plans for this community's future. It is the lady and her priceless pink note of encouragement for whom I get up every day and say we will make this happen. We will not get discouraged. We will keep up the good work because we know, as does every person who writes a twenty-five-dollar check knows, that we are -- all of us -- on a path of great and historic things to come. 



To donate to Saving The Sherburne Inn, send your check made payable to SSIRP to:
Save The Sherburne Inn Restoration Project, Inc.
POB 1102
Sherburne, NY 13460
or pay by credit card at our website:
thesherburneinn.org (click on "contribute" link)
SSIRP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nonprofit status for Save The Sherburne Inn Restoration Project has been approved! Please donate to SSIRP by visiting our website, thesherburneinn.org (click on contribute button to pay by credit card via PayPal), or mail your check to SSIRP, PO Box 1102, Sherburne, NY 13460.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Beware The Ides Of March, Little Caesars

Today is March 15, the Ides of March. This day is best known, as Wikipedia tells us, as the one on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate, with as many as 60 conspirators -- led by Brutus and Cassius -- involved in the plot. Apparently a seer had warned Caesar that harm would come to him no later than the Ides of March. Caesar, a bit full of himself by the sound of things, passed the seer on the way to the Theatre of Pompey (where the deed would take place) and joked "The Ides of March have come," implying that the prophecy had not been fulfilled. "Aye, Caesar," the seer replied, "but not gone."

It's never really a good idea to tempt fate. As Caesar found out the hard way, we just don't know how things are going to turn out. A few years back (egads, ELEVEN years back, time is certainly flying) I was getting "vibes" that something was going to happen to me before Christmas. Something as in death. I kept mentioning to people that I had this strange sense I wasn't going to make it to celebrate the holidays, and naturally, since most of my friends and family believe I lean to eccentricity, my concerns were dismissed. Then, on December 21, 2002, I fell and broke my ankle on my sister's slippery driveway. I was rushed to the hospital and informed by a very nice doctor that my ankle was broken in three places and I should have surgery. I had reached my fated crossroads, I could feel it, and knew for a fact that if I went into surgery I would not return alive. Instead, I elected to go the hard way...a closed reduction, which essentially means the doctor yanks and pulls and realigns the bones. Doc further informed me that by making this choice I would probably limp for the rest of my life. I kept to myself that I'd rather limp on earth than skip in heaven.

In February of the next year, while still hobbling around in a hip-high cast, I was on the telephone with my own version of Caesar's seer, a friend who dabbled in astrology. She didn't know when I broke my ankle, but when she looked at my chart she said "Oh my, you were surrounded by death on December 21st."

Unlike that poor chap who listened not to his soothsayer so long ago, I paid attention to fate's subtle nudging. And no, I do not limp today.

Whether or not you believe in events of fate, it's wise at least to give them a nod. Had Caesar done same and rescheduled his senate to March 16, the world might be a very different place. I pay quiet homage to The Ides of March every year having had my own internal seer portend trouble. The Ides should remind us all: heads up little Caesars...you know not what the future will bring.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Sherburne Inn: A Spirit Alive

Her lights have been dark for almost a decade now.  Still, when you step inside, you can almost feel the souls who have passed through her doors since 1917 when those doors opened for the first time. For eighty-plus years people of this community -- and indeed, those from well beyond -- have celebrated life's moments within the walls of The Sherburne Inn. Our sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, grandparents and children, aunts and uncles and friends have crossed the threshold of this building to gather and make merry, whether at dinner or for a glass of wine, or for weddings, reunions, and milestone birthdays. The Inn's two fireplaces, cold now for years, once warmed the hands of those huddled inside away from our town's legendary snow. And on brilliant summer days in June, when Sherburne's Pageant of Bands brought streets to bursting, glasses were raised on Sherburne Inn porches to hail a village known for its generosity and love of rural sensibilities.

There have been many since the turn of the new century who believed the Inn's doors had closed for good. Our lady has endured much: rain and snow, falling bricks, a gathering of not people, but pigeons. Those who have owned the Inn in recent years had good intentions that, sadly and through no fault of their own, did not come to fruition. They are to be commended for keeping the bulldozers at bay. People become tired, or discouraged, when a project seems too big and when others are not stepping forward to help. But that day is behind us. Help has arrived in the form of individuals who care enough to say no: we will not let the bulldozers win, we will not let our community become another on a long list whose historic buildings have fallen in the name of "progress."

Save The Sherburne Inn Restoration Project has taken a giant step. We have raised the funds to purchase the Inn and will proceed to closing on the property. By spring, barring unforeseen circumstances, the building will be ours, at which point we will reach out to any and all possible sources to bring our dream to fruition. And "our" dream is not only that of SSIRP, but of the entire community of people who remember the Inn in her days of glory, when on our corner was fine dining and guest accommodations, a place to wed or meet, a pub where friends gather at fireside, away from blinking screens, to talk and laugh and fall in love; a spot for church ladies to lunch and service organizations to plan and school children to prom. The Inn will open its doors to seniors, to corporations, to out-of-town guests, and to all who know that a village is made of -- and thrives because of -- its people, and that the memory heart of a community is not in place to buy lotto and gas. Our memory heart is in our history, and in the knowledge that above all our job during this brief time on earth is to preserve that history for those who come along after we are gone. 

Join us in reopening the doors of The Sherburne Inn. Help us turn on her lights. The spirit of the Inn is reflected most brilliantly in the spirit of our wonderful, hopeful, and caring people. 

We are on a remarkable journey. 


To donate to Saving The Inn, make checks payable to Save The Sherburne Inn Restoration Project and mail to PO Box 1102, Sherburne, NY 13460.
Visit our website (http://thesherburneinn.wordpress.com/contribute/) to pay securely by credit card.


About Me

Newspaper columnist; blogger; author of Delta Dead; author of 101 Tip$ From My Depression-Era Parents; author of Australian Fly; editor: ...And I Breathed (author, Jason Garner, former CEO of Global Music at Live Nation), "A History of the Lawrence S. Donaldson Residence"; "The Port Washington Yacht Club: A Centennial Perspective"; "The Northeastern Society of Periodontists: The First Fifty Years"; editor: NESP Bulletin; editor: PWYC Mainsail; past editorial director: The International Journal of Fertility & Women's Medicine; past editor of: Long Island Power & Sail, Respiratory Review; Medical Travelers' Advisory; School Nurse News; Clear Images; Periodontal Clinical Investigations; Community Nurse Forum