May 13, 2013

Cheers and Jeers: May 13, 2013


---- — CHEERS to the kind crew at M.A. Jerry and Co. who came to the rescue of a local person in distress. Shirley Furnia, 75, was on her way from her home in AuSable Forks to CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh for cancer treatment the afternoon of May 7. As if she didn’t have enough to cope with, her car developed a flat tire near Exit 36 of the Northway. She pulled over to the shoulder and crept along on the tire rim until she reached a gas station, where, unfortunately, she was told no one was available to help her. She returned to her car, and it limped along until she reached a nearby business, which happened to be M.A. Jerry. There, employees jumped to help out when they heard of her plight. They brought her inside out of the heat, got her a glass of water and saw to her comfort while changing her flat tire. The staff tried to get in touch with Shirley’s doctor to explain what had happened. She offered to pay the workers at M.A. Jerry for changing her tire, but they refused to accept anything. We were told about this act of kindness by Shirley’s daughter, Jackie Furnia, who said: “I am so grateful for the respect and compassion that my mother received from this business. My mother arrived safe at home in AuSable Forks. So thank you to M.A. Jerry. There are still good people in this world.” The Press-Republican tracked down the names of the M.A. Jerry employees who helped Shirley, and we send a big cheer to: Wade Eagle, Dale Goss, Shari Seney and Sally Vilardo.

JEERS to professional singers who treat our national anthem like their own composition, giving it wails, yodels and roller-coaster lilts that demean the hymn to patriotism that it was designed to be. The late, great operatic baritone Robert Merrill warned against doing anything with “The Star Spangled Banner” but sing it in a brisk, straightforward manner, devoid of improvisation. He should know. Not only was he one of history’s premier classical singers, his version of the anthem was played at every game at Yankee Stadium for years. Too many singers nowadays, knowing they have a national or even international audience, use the occasion to fracture the national anthem with displays of their vocal gymnastics that betray self-absorption and blindness to the moment. At the Kentucky Derby this year, country singer Martina McBride performed a rendition of the national anthem that was straight, if a trifle slow-paced, and appropriately respectful of the reason she was singing it. If only more so-called star performers had her sense of our nation and her place in it.

— If you have a Cheers and Jeers suggestion that you want the Editorial Board to consider, email it to Editor Lois Clermont at