By Joe Angelino
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness” is a gem of a quote attributed to Oscar Wilde which readers should keep close in mind while reading today’s column. With this writing I pay homage to the late Jim Wright, a long-time columnist, first for The Binghamton Press and later the combined Press & Sun Bulletin when each paper had a Norwich Bureau. Jim’s annual Christmas columns were always a favorite of mine, and many other people, as he offered some genuine and some tongue-in-cheek gifts to people and organizations. Only Santa knows which gifts are sincere and which gifts are satirical.
Recently I had the great fortune to stumble across the naughty and nice list kept by Saint Nicholas at the North Pole. This list had the names and gift ideas for many in the area that was just too good to keep under wraps until the morning of the 25th.
Retiring Norwich Superintendent of Public Works, Carl Ivarson; an unlisted telephone number so the two or more people hired to replace you can’t bother you with questions.
Sherburne Mayor William Acee; a passenger side, front door for a Suburban in the correct Gold Mist metallic color. Installation not included.
The homeowner of 138 East Main Street in Norwich; a $100 NYSEG voucher to offset the December electric bill along with thanks for your years of high quality decorating efforts.
City Judge elect, Michael Genute; a nineteen year career on the bench, just like the one he gave Judge Downey this year.
The Norwich School Board; a Personnel Committee with a labor attorney on retainer.
Newly elected Sixth Ward Alderman Robert Jeffrey; in keeping with tradition for that Norwich Ward, a real vowel for the end of your last name. Or as some suggest, use your mother’s maiden name.
Newly re-elected Norwich east-side Supervisor Robert Jeffrey; a catchy knick-name, besides “Buff”, to help us differentiate you from your Alderman son.
The Town of Norwich Board; Hillary Clinton’s book “What Happened”.
State Assemblyman Clifford Crouch; a much more reliable and attentive Constituent Aide.
Everyone who decorated outside their home; at least one nice warm day in first two weeks of January to take down your Christmas lights.
The Evening Sun; a fulltime reporter.
Norwich Police Chief Rodney Marsh; a full and stable roster of personnel.
The Toys for Tots Volunteers; a nice long rest. Oh wait, did you remember batteries?
The Veterans of Chenango County; a capable and sufficiently paid Veteran’s Service Officer with an office and clerical support.
Woman from Pharsalia; it was me. It was my great idea to hire the Department of Social Services Deputy Commissioner. There you go, enjoy your gift.
My high school English teacher, Richard Milner; Thank You!
County Sheriff Ernest Cutting; a pay raise. Not only for the good work that you do, but to help create a gap so those at the bottom can rise a little higher on the scale.
Editor of The Evening Sun, Tyler Murphy; a large bottle of aspirin for tolerating nineteen weeks, so far, of my writing.
The ladies at the Scarf Project; a special place in everyone’s heart for helping provide one of life’s basic necessities. Santa is glad you helped out.
NY State Senator Fred Akshar; a clone, if he doesn’t already have one, to attend any and all bake sales, high school plays and ribbon cuttings where three or more registered voters may be in attendance.
The Norwich High School Class of ‘78; a happy 40th Anniversary party that is attended by all of your classmates.
Norwich Mayor Christine Carnrike; a $25,000 gift certificate to be used as a down payment on a nice, single-family home.
Patrick McNeil of McNeils Jewelers; a Peabody Award for entertaining use of revolutionary war history in a jewelry advertisement. The “Last Minute Man” is a classic.
Norwich Fire Chief Tracy Chawgo; an unmarked Chief’s car.
County Board Chairman Lawrence Wilcox; an active and busy Agriculture, Buildings and Grounds Committee.
Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani CEO; a formula and technique to produce frozen Greek yogurt. Really. Please. Anytime now, we’re all waiting.
Norwich Police Officer Andrew Delmar; a winter uniform jacket you can call your own. Or, at least some silver buttons.
Syracuse Basketball fan, A. Wesley Jones (He bleeds Orange); a defibrillator for the 2017-2018 season.
Each member of the County Board of Supervisors; their very own smartphone app to remind them when to attend committee and board meetings.
If you’re not on the list, please don’t be disheartened, Santa surely won’t miss you. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!