The Barn Celebrates Sherry Snider

A delicious buffet was provided by staff and pot luck contributors

by Bill Monahan

On Sunday, March 25th, The Barn Co-op in Meaford held a special open mic to celebrate the spirit of Sherry Snider, who passed away suddenly last week in the prime of her life.  This was in addition to the popular open mic that runs every Sunday at The Barn from noon to two.  Organized by Jim and Mary Lang, this additional gathering allowed musicians and friends to remember Sherry, who was always present at every musical gathering at the Barn.  In addition to the live music a free buffet was offered upstairs, prepared by staff with contributions from those who attended.

It is always sad when a valued member of the community passes, but it was difficult to remain sad for long on this occasion because sharing the stage with every performer was a large photo portrait of Sherry, her characteristic joy beaming with an ear to ear grin that was familiar to everyone who knew her.  There were some in attendance who hadn’t known her by name but they recognized her face as the woman who was always positive and encouraging.  Those who did know her knew well what a special person she was.

Clark Little recites “High Flight”

Clark Little began the proceedings with an emotional recital of “High Flight” by John Magee.  The familiar poem begins with the lines “Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings,” and concludes with “I’ve trod the high unsurpassed sanctity of space, put out my hand and touched the face of God.”

The “laughter-silvered wings” seemed particularly appropriate in relation to Sherry whose sense of humour was always paramount.

Sherry Snider was much more than a source of joy, especially to those who are responsible for The Barn Co-op.  Clark Little pointed out that she was an invaluable expert at navigating the rules and regulations of a non-profit organization.  As a retired oncology nurse, she blended her knowledge and experience of traditional medicine with alternative approaches and was an integral part of M.E.N.D., the medicinal cannabis group that provides weekly seminars at The Barn to educate the public about that plant’s remarkable healing powers.

Darlene Sacks filled the room with the evocative sound of her handpan

There were songs from many of The Barn’s open stage regulars, including John Bino, Jim and Mary Lang, and the beautiful sounds created by Darlene Sacks with her handpan.  After performances from Michael O’Connell, Drew McIvor and others, Kara Davison spoke about how essential Sherry was to the success of The Barn ever since Kara, who formerly owned the organic food store downstairs, first floated the idea of a cooperative dedicated to community wellness and sustainable living.  She added an anecdote about how Sherry loved skinny dipping as an example of her zest for life.

As the afternoon went on, it seemed that all traces of sadness evaporated in the face of memories of Sherry and her positive healing spirit.

Musicians and admirers honoured Sherrry’s memory

There was a palpable sense of community in the event.  The dedication of volunteers and the variety of ways that The Barn Co-op enriches the community of Meaford creates, particularly for those who pack the weekly open mic events, a unique sense of celebration.  As someone said, Sherry was “the true beating heart” of that spirit.  She will be missed but her light will not be extinguished any time soon.

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