I Publius: Extending the leash for Searles

A recent letter writer to The Eagle openly admired Murray’s writing style. You will remember that Murray, the cutest dog in the world, was taught how to read and write by the South Berkshire Literacy Center.

In fact, I met a guy the other day who asked me if he could talk to Murray, who was with me at the time.

“Of course,” I said. “Just talk to him.”

The guy took a look at the little Westie and just walked away. Maybe he thought he’d look like an idiot if someone saw him talking to the dog.

Is anyone old enough to remember that exact situation in the “Francis the Talking Mule” movies? Every time Donald O’Connor would talk to his mule, he’d be locked up and forced to weave baskets. On the other hand, you got to give a little to get a little. No give, no get.

“Murray,” I said to the tyke, “Could you possibly write this week’s column? I’m really busy.

“No problem, Pop,” said the little white dog, licking me on the face.

So here it is. Remember, these are Murray’s words as dictated to me. We’re still working on his computer skills, so he talked and I typed.

Dear Sir,

Pops gave me your letter to The Eagle, complimenting me on my observations regarding getting rid of graffiti and extending the library hours.

I just want to make sure to add that we dogs need to be admitted to the library. I’ve heard that silverfish love to eat the bindings of library books, and I happen to love the rare and exotic taste of silverfish.

What, you’re repulsed by the thought of eating silverfish? You, who eat cow and pig and sometimes (shudder) dog? Ah, well, not to worry. You did raise some questions you wanted me to answer and I am happy to do so.

In your letter to the paper, you asked Pops to ask “his dog” about what you called “The Searles School fiasco.”

It is true that I am a dog, but you know my name, and I would have preferred you to use it. It’s friendlier that way. Anyway, I take it you are referring to the potential sale of the Searles complex in downtown Great Barrington.

In the end, it came down to two finalists: Alan (don’t tell him I call him that) calls them the Jane Iredale group and the Steve Picheny group. As you know, the Picheny group won and all hell broke loose. People chose up sides, and the dogs around town tell me that the Iredale proposal was backed by more of them than the few Basset Hounds who backed the Picheny proposal. There were rumors of skullduggery and names were called but, in the end, the Picheny group came out on top.

Then came the economic downturn; the Picheny group pulled out, and the town was left high and dry when the Iredale group said “Thanks but no thanks.” In other words, things were so bad that nobody wanted to touch the thing.

Now, there have been new developments.

The town mother and fathers have expressed an interest in keeping the gymnasium as part of the town infrastructure. People like to play basketball there, and the gym is used for town elections. I think that’s a splendid idea.

Also, we could condominium-ize the rest of the Searles complex and let people buy and rehab portions of the building. As for me, I’d like to see, an indoor dog facility as part of the plan.

Another idea would be to have the South Berkshire Community Center purchase the gym and use it as a natural extension of their excellent facility, which is running out of space. What success they’ve had! Our neighbor, Bob Norris, is the head of the place, and he has two dogs, Ellie and Hobbes, who give me all the gossip.

So, while it is true that things got a bit fouled up and the tax payers are caught with a lot of debt, there is no use crying over spilt milk.

Originally Published in the Berkshire Eagle, 3/28/09

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