• Semprebon was generous
    April 14,2012

    Semprebon was generous

    My grandfather was an honest, self-educated Vermonter. His formal education extended only to the third grade, but he could discuss many different topics in depth and with both honesty and logic.

    Once when I was in one of the higher grades I asked him about law. I wanted a better understanding of how it worked. He gave me an explanation that even I could easily digest.

    He told me that basically the law consisted of two parts: The Letter of the Law and The Spirit of the Law. He said that the letter of the law was an exact interpretation of the law as written and the spirit of the law was interpretation that preserved the original intent.

    I asked him which was more important and he said the letter of the law until it violated the spirit of the law and then the letter needed to acquiesce.

    Then I asked him if it usually did, and he told me that it depended upon the understanding and honesty of the participants.

    If this sounds a little familiar, it may be because our good city fathers are in this exact quandary right now over the use of the money that Mr. Semprebon so generously donated. And from what I read in the Friday, March 23 issue of The Times Argus it would seem as though the family of Mr. Semprebon are concerned that they may lose their argument by default.

    I cannot think that their interpretation of Mr. Semprebon’s intention would be incorrect. To say that would seem to be calling their intentions into question, and I don’t think we should do that. Charlie Semprebon gave generously to a community he loved, if somehow his wording allows for another interpretation it would be beneath the dignity of this community to subvert his intent just because we can by following the letter of the law.

    It would be better to dig right in and produce that bike path. Charlie wasn’t the only one with money in this community, perhaps others would like to step up and help out, then lets use those high spirits and good intentions to work hard to raise money for whatever other projects are now laying claim to Charlie’s generosity.

    There was a good reason why Charlie loved Barre. It is a great place filled with good people and we can do a lot when we set our minds and hearts to it. One of the finest things that could come out of Mr. Semprebon’s kind act would be to show everyone that Charlie’s love for Barre was well placed. This is the kind of people we are.

    Arnold Martin


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