It’s just a column: Lighten up! 02-25-2011

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Column by Jim Clark

Some columnists, especially those who like to throw some humor into their efforts, exaggerate a bit occasionally, especially when their columns are trying to make a specific point.

Such is the case, I feel, with the Rev. James Snyder, who writes a column each week called “Out to Pastor,” which runs in our newspaper and several others in the area. He always writes with humor, leading into a spiritual message at the end of each epistle.

Many people look for this column regularly. In my own house, if I have to leave it out because of space reasons, I hear about it.

Much of the time he’s talking about his wife, and my picture of her is not based on what is said in the column, but rather the fact that she’s the “fall guy” for many of the stories. I figure she’s one of the more patient and faithful people alive, and probably a kind, Christian person. Also, I always think of a line my father used: “You only tease the people you love.”

That’s how I felt when I read one of his recent columns, “Don’t call me sweetie,” about a waitress who kept calling him that name while serving him.

As an aside, that morning I went through a restaurant drive-through, and the girl at the window called me “sweetie.” I almost laughed in her face.

Anyhow, that column struck close to home, and I enjoyed it.

I couldn’t believe it when, within a couple of days, I got some really nasty e-mails about Rev. Snyder and his column. I tried to tell people that he usually writes tongue-in-cheek, but to no avail.

There aren’t many letters to the editor that I don’t run, but in this case, when I felt they would be unnecessarily smearing a good man, I held them to see what happened.

Evidently, Rev. Snyder got some messages himself, and he clarifies it in this week’s column. Yes, he left a napkin with “Here’s your tip, sweetie” written on it … but under it he left a $5 bill. If that was in one of our smaller local restaurants, it was probably the biggest tip she got all week.

So here’s the message, folks. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take a look at the bigger picture. Try to get the message that’s being sent overall in any of the columns, without concentrating on the minute details.

In other words, enjoy the story, and lighten up!


Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or 352-854-3986.