SALEM — If nothing else, you have to give Brendan Walsh credit for keeping his sense of humor during Monday night’s debate on an emotional topic: ending the popular extended-year program at Saltonstall School.
It was Walsh, of course, who started the whole thing by proposing that all public schools observe a 180-day schedule. That was an indirect way of trying to kill the extra 10 days at Saltonstall.
His motion eventually lost by a 4-3 vote.
There was no yelling or hand-wringing during the lengthy discussion, but the emotion was evident. Mayor Kim Driscoll had trouble concealing her — how shall we put this? — mild annoyance at Walsh for bringing the matter to a vote before a summer school alternative had been brought forward that may prove a satisfactory replacement for Saltonstall’s summer session.
Unable to conceal her feeling that Monday night’s emotional meeting may have been unnecessary or premature, the mayor tossed a gratuitous comment in Walsh’s direction.
“There was a strong desire to have this showdown at the O.K. Corral,” she said at one point.
Toward the end of the discussion, when Walsh was — how shall we put this? — mildly irked at something or other, the veteran school board member returned to those bloody days in Tombstone, Ariz.
“One of the Clanton brothers isn’t all that happy ...” he said.
Then, possibly for the benefit of an audience of young Saltonstall parents and a youthful mayor, he added: “The Clanton brothers lost at the O.K. Corral.”
Walsh, one of the notorious Walsh brothers, forgot to mention that the Clantons lost that legendary 1881 showdown to a worthy opponent: the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday.
Speaking of the wild west, police Lt. Jim Walker, who rides herd on the superior officers, has a family connection to the Frozen Four, the NCAA hockey championships being played in Pittsburgh.