The Christmas bird

Just when Citizens Voice reporter James Halpin thought he was assigned to cover a boring small town council meeting, he got an early Christmas present.
A bird.
Not a partridge in a pear tree.
Not even a turkey, but that can be debated.
And not exactly “a” bird but “the” bird.
Yep. That one.
The kind someone flips, although usually not an elected figure and usually not at a public meeting.
But then again, there is precedent. Even for this.
In 1976, then-Vice President Nelson Rockefeller gave “the finger” to a group of hecklers in Binghamton, New York. It was captured by a photographer. Look it up. It’s iconic. The bird of all birds.
Now, Yatesville councilwoman Sandra Falcone is no Nelson Rockefeller, but let’s give her her due.
According to Halpin’s article in Tuesday’s Citizens Voice, she “unfurled a one-fingered salute from her seat at the council table.”
You go, girl.
Reading the piece, you could almost hear Halpin chuckling as he wrote it. “During a phone interview Monday, Falcone admitted to releasing the bird,” he writes.
Releasing the bird? Has to be the first time Halpin found reason to type that. (One would think.)
The whole incident brought back my own experience with “the bird” and a bunch of college students.
I was advising The Outlook, the student newspaper at Luzerne County Community College, at the time and all the kids on the staff decided each should have their photo taken giving the famed one-finger salute. Not for publication, mind you, but just for fun.
Of course, they got around to me.
“C’mon, Ed, let’s see it.”
I was about to comply when it dawned on me I had never “given the finger” in my entire life. It might seem weird and definitely uncool but it was, and still is, true.
So I declined.
When I told them why, the response ranged from disbelief to downright shock.
One student exclaimed, “My God, how do you drive?”
Obviously not a question that has to be asked of Councilwoman Falcone. Even by a pro like Halpin.

Ed Ackerman