Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, March 17, 2008

Somethings Are Just Too Hard to Swallow

edify verb 1) to build up, establish, or strengthen a person, institution, etc.; to uplift

Took me awhile, but I learned that edification does come naturally, and when it is faked it comes off as being trite. What is edification? Here's an example you might run in to out here in Central Mass.

"Ed, I got fungus."
"No, not me, my Crab Apple Tree. It's got a fungus. Anyone you know can fix it?"

Now, this is the edifying part:

"Talk to Merle Fleek down at the Agway. He's a right guy and really knows his fungi."

By sharing a good, true opinion of someone with another we establish a place of respect for that person. We build that person up in the others eyes to where we see them. Essentially, we give credit where credit is due, and share that positive opinion with another.

We do this all the time and don't even realize it.

"Yes sir, that Milo Hinks is the best large animal vet around, and he does alright with hamsters, too."

Another edifying statement.

The trouble with edification can be its source, and the manner in which it is done. It should come naturally, but at times it is forced. And, then there are the times it is plain faked. Why? To make the edifier look like a "right guy", to curry favor from the person they are edifying. It is called "brown nosing".

When a person refers to another as having courage, character, and integrity, and states they are honored to know them this would normally attract our attention. But when the person they are building up in this manner admits they have never met the person that is edifying them, then something is amiss.

How is it that a person can speak so highly of someone when they don't even know them? And, what about the words they use? Why "courage", or "character", and "integrity"? These are traits that one learns about another either first hand, or by what is written or reported about them by others. Why admit to "knowing" them when they have never met them?

I don't know. Really, I don't. Too deep for this page, but I hope you see my point.

But, if you take the statement in context with other things the person has said, it may help understand why.

Statements like this do little for the credibility of the person that is offering them. Their other statements should be more closely scrutinized. Essentially, take what they have to say with a grain of salt.

A more serious downside of this is the innocent person that they were edifying in the first place is now going to be associated with faker. Not a good thing. Unless their shoulders need artificial pats so badly that they'll take them from anyone.


So, what is my point? Simple. When listening to people, or reading what they have to say, give them the benefit of the doubt until something comes along to jog your intuition a bit. If something seems askew, then tread lightly, and put a question mark next to credibility.

We all want the best information, honest opinion, facts, and true testimonials in order to help us make good decisions. Always consider the source.

It would be a flat out shame to bring your sick hamster to taxidermist, instead of a vet, based on someones bad edification.

"edify." Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.7). Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. 17 Mar. 2008.


  1. Thank You! Your words are powerfully uplifting and positive (whether your intent or not). Please keep up the good work!!

  2. I will be signing my real name so I hope you will post this. I can’t help but feel that the person you are describing in your article (The man who another person refers to as having courage, character, and integrity) is my brother, David M. Mattioli since these were the exact characteristics used to describe him on the other Sturbridge Blog. You ask how a man who has never met my brother can attribute such traits to him. By making such a statement, you are suggesting that my brother perhaps does not have such qualities.

    Let me set the record straight. I KNOW HIM. So I can say the following without hesitation. My brother does indeed have those qualities and so much more. He is a loving father. He is a man of honor who stands by his sister and his family. He puts himself on the line to defend and protect his family. He is a dedicated husband. He is respectful, generous, and loyal. More importantly, he is a HERO. He puts his life on the line every day in his line of work.

    My brother has done nothing to you. His comments on your website have been nothing but respectful, polite and genuine. I have no idea why you would question his character.

    I would lastly like to comment on the following statements you made: “A more serious downside of this is the innocent person that they were edifying in the first place is now going to be associated with faker. Not a good thing. Unless their shoulders need artificial pats so badly that they'll take them from anyone.” #1. My brother is not associated with anyone but his family. Just because someone gives them a compliment because they truly believe my brother has these qualities, why is my brother then associated with them? #2. How dare you even suggest my brother is so artificial he will take a compliment from anyone? You criticize someone for giving them a compliment when they never met them. But, you are making presumptions and disrespecting someone with whom you have never met. I find that a bit hypocritical. Just so know, my brother does not need a pat on the back from anyone. He has risked his life more than once to help and protect people he has never met. He asks for nothing in return. He is the type of person that does not let his left hand know what his right hand is doing.

    I don’t know if you will even post this comment or you may even say you are not referring to David Mattioli. However, the comments you made are direct phrases used from the gentleman that made them. I honestly believe you owe my brother any apology. He did nothing to deserve your insinuations and criticisms. This world would be a better place if there were more people who had half the admirable character of my brother. Thank you.
    Respectfully Submitted,
    Stacy A. Courtney

  3. talk about presumptions! where is anyone mentioned in this?

  4. Dear Ms. Courtney,

    I just read the article and your comments as well. I don't think the writer was referring to anyone in particular, or a particular person saying them. The article seems to have been written in generalities. Maybe I'm wrong, but I didn't see what you write about in the article. Another thing is the writer DID NOT question the traits in your brother. In fact, he never mentioned your brother at all. He was questioning people that make such comments without knowing the other person.

    You know your brother, of course you can and should make comments about him.

    No, Ms. Courtney, the writer never questioned your brothers character, he was merely writing about how some people use adjectives, like those that you say have been associated with your brother, with other people as well.

    You mentioned the other blog in town,I read it often, and enjoy it most of the time but the writer here did not mention that blog.

    The writer also did not disrespect your brother. Again, he was making comments about people, and how they operate at times. From your description he sounds like a fine man, and you should know.

    Just my take on it. Don't get upset with me, but sometimes we read things, and want them to say what we want, not what is written, or we just "presume" what is meant. We all do it time to time.

    So don't presume what the author meant, Ms. Courtney, his article doesn't mention your brother, and I have seen those same words used for many others depending on what the other blog writer wants.

  5. The way I see it, the difference between this blog and "the other blog" is one comes out and names names, while one comes out with grandeous statements and calls them generic. Come on, who's kidding who, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck.......well damn, it must be a damn duck!!!!!!!

  6. Thanks for your feedback Ted f. I appreciate your comments very much. But i do respectfully disagree with you. Just a week ago, the other blog said the following: "The following is a post from David Mattioli, a man of courage, character, and integrity. I am honored to know of him." I find it too Coincidental to find the exact same lines used in this article and it not to be my brother. So I said my peace. I stick by my comments. Thank you very much.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Stacy A. Courtney

  7. Ms. Courtney: this article isn't about your brother. It's about people who brown-nose people like your brother, because he is an upstanding citizen. It's also called 'riding their coat tails'.

    Step back, take a deep breath, and look at this post for what it is, not what you think it may mean.

  8. Thanks for saying such nice things about my Mr. Fleek, my Daddy!

  9. Ms. Courtney,

    Courage, character and integrity are words that the other blog writer has used repeatedly for people. They are empty words from him. Your brother may just have all those great qualities, but no one has said that he doesn't. And, yes, I read those words on the other site for your brother. Class is another word the other blog writer uses a lot for people. If he knows them, fine, but your brother admits that he never met him.

    One more thing,on the other blog "honored to know of him" is what it says now that this article went up. It said "honored to know him" yesterday. He changed it. But the letters to the editor can't be changed.

    No one slighted your brother. No one said he isn't what you say. No one. the point you are making is that you assume it is all about your brother. When we have been witness to this behavior for too long. The other writer uses people as a tool, will heap compliments and praise on them, and it works. It even worked on you. You made assumptions that weren't there, and lashed out demanding an apology for something you say was done, but was not.

    The other writer is very good at what he does, but there are many of us that see thru it and call it as we see it.

    I am sorry both you and your brother have been sucked in to this whole mess.

  10. gumdrop says this blog makes grandeous statements and calls them generic. I don't recall ever reading that anywhere here. What grandeous statements are you referring to? The writer has a nice style, and you are right, he doesn't name names. Just writes about things. How we take it, is up to us.

  11. Ted F said: "The other writer is very good at what he does, but there are many of us that see thru it and call it as we see it.

    I am sorry both you and your brother have been sucked in to this whole mess."

    AMEN! I have said it before under another article on this blog: Mr. Mattioli is a convenient tab in the other blog writer's Book of Smear. If you cannot see, Ms. Courtney, that you and your brother have been used and manipulated because of your good name and stature in the community, then you are both blind.

    No offense to you or your brother. But someone is peeing down your back, and telling you, it's raining.


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