Friday, March 28, 2014

Don’t pay it back ….

… pay it forward !
I remember the first time that I heard that and it’s stayed with me ever since.   The man who said that also said that he never lends money to anyone and before he had a chance to explain that I interrupted and said “I’ve often seen you give money to people”. “You’re right”, he replied, “and GIVE is the operative word.” He went on to explain that money is the cause of more upsets than almost any thing else in the world. When you only give what you can afford and do not expect it to be returned you take the onus out of the transaction.

It reminded me of a situation of my own. I was an AA sponsor for a young girl and she had approached me for a loan. She explained that she needed $120 but could pay me back in 6 months at $20 a month. Since she had just started a good job I didn’t hesitate but we did sign an agreement stating that she would make the payment on the first day of each month.

For the first three months she made prompt payments and I was feeling good about it. Then, all of a sudden, in the 4th month she disappeared. It was pretty obvious that she had relapsed since she left owing a month’s rent and other bills, including mine. I was sad for her but since I had no idea where she was I had no recourse. In time I forgot about it completely.

Then, about three years later, I got a telephone call late at night. It was my gal and I could tell that she was inebriated. While slurring her words and crying she told me that she’d never forgotten her obligation to me. She begged me to forgive her and said that she wanted to pay me the $60 she owed. She wouldn’t tell me where she was but she took my mailing address and swore the check would be in the mail in the morning.

Well, you can probably imagine what happened. I never heard from her again and there was no “check in the mail”. But it was a good lesson. Now I do give, but it’s only what I can afford and I always say to the recipient, “don’t worry about paying me back. Pay it forward” and I’m happy to say that I’ve seen a lot of them do just that !





Sunday, March 23, 2014

My “Aussie” connection …

Here is my blogger friend Cazzie from Australia. I loved getting to know her via her blog “I don’t do mornings” . ( I assume she chose that title because she was an intensive care nurse working nights.) She is also the wife of a goat farmer and mother of four.

In October of 2012 Cazzie wrote that there was turmoil in her life and that the family was being uprooted and they were not looking forward to the move. I felt bad for them but felt even worse when I kept checking back and then realized that she wasn’t writing her blog anymore.

I kept wondering how they were but figured I’d never know. Then the strangest thing happened. At some point I started a Facebook account but I never use it. However I am constantly getting emails from Facebook telling me that I have messages, requests etc. and, lo and behold one of them had a very pretty picture of a lady called Carolyn. Could that possibly be my Cazzie, I wondered … and it was !

I couldn’t wait to get in touch and see how she and the family (including the goats) were doing. She wrote back almost immediately and here is part of her answer: "Things are great. I am waiting to see if I am awarded a grant that I applied for last month in order to study a Graduate Certificate in Breast Cancer Nursing. I can then work as a Breast care nurse for women and men affected by breast cancer. We run a 1000 acre farm (in three allotments) in Little River. Slowly bringing back what has been weed infested land to its natural form. Use of goats and time consuming weed reduction is assisting with that.”

Isn’t that interesting? I’ve often wondered why they don’t use goats for weed reduction of all the Kudzu that takes over buildings and smothers trees here in the Southeast every spring. It keeps getting worse with every year and maybe this will inspire Cazzie (oops, Carolyn) and her husband to write a paper or a book with their results. It could be a bestseller.

My blogs are not usually this long but I couldn’t end without including the last of what Cazzie-Carolyn wrote to me …because it’s how I always felt when I read hers: “I love reading your blog, it always makes me smile xxoo"

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Awareness …

This is not my usual type of entry but I wanted to share it nevertheless. The Lion’s club in our town has started a wonderful project. They have set up a book exchange in our Post Office. People bring in books that they want to pass on and you are free to take whatever strikes you.

Recently I picked up Anita Shreve’s book Strange Fits of Passion. It is about domestic abuse and it really didn’t speak to me until I realized that whoever had the book before me had highlighted certain passages with a yellow marker. Here are just a few of them:

Once you tell your first lie, the first time you lie for him, you are in it with him and then you are lost.

It was because he loved me, because he cared so much. And in the distance my anger would develop, so that what he said about me became a self fulfilling prophesy.

I began to hope that he’d die in an air crash … it was the only way I knew of to get free from him.

Isn’t that chilling? All I could think as I read on was that this book had been in the hands of a person who was, or had been, in an abusive situation. This could be a neighbor or someone that I’ve smiled at as we pass by in the Post Office…smiled at but not really SEEN.

Most likely I will never find out who left that book but it made me realize that life is very difficult, at best, for so many of my fellow travelers on this earth . The very least I can do is to always be aware of this …

A smile, a kind word. Who knows? It’s little enough but it might be the only bright spot in a person’s life that day.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Then … and now !

Remember this guy? It’s Pat Boone, the heartthrob of the ’70’s and every time I see him now in that ad for walk-in tubs it reminds me of the one and only time I saw him in person.

I was working at WABC Radio in New York City in 1957 and I recall how excited we (girls) were when we found out that he had been hired at the brand new ABC TV channel. It was a big step up for the 23 year old Pat, getting his very own weekly variety show, The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom.

Since I was on the radio side of ABC I can’t remember why I had been sent to the TV studio where Pat was working but it was in some official capacity I'm sure,… probably delivering a message to one of the writers. Anyway, I was there and so was Pat. He was ranting  about something that was not to his liking and then suddenly he turned his rage on me for interrupting his session. I managed a quick apology and left but, when I got back to my desk, I made sure to tell all the girls that he’d noticed me !

Now it’s 57 years later and we're both still going strong.

I have to admit that a walk-in tub is not for me… you have to walk in and sit down before you can fill the darn thing and then wait until it's completely drained to get out. However,I do give him credit for aging well and it looks like his tizzy fit is a thing of the past.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Some EGGStatic chicklets…

These are my guests, the two footed gals that my daughter and her husband brought with them when they journeyed South at Christmastime. They need little care and thank me in great disproportion to what I do for them by laying at least two eggs a day.

I told my kids that they were acting a bit cocky lately and that maybe they were cooking up an Easter surprise. They didn’t agree with me but, sure enough look what they produced …

My son-in-law was the one who found the “gifts”. Of course the ladies had a cohort in this fiasco. It was me and I had a lot of fun with it! I bought these two plastic eggs that unhinged and were just the right size so that I could put one of their own eggs inside and then I‘d “planted” them.

When all was said and done I think I got a much bigger kick out of the whole fiasco than either my kids or the chicklets did … but, hey, don’t they say that we become child-like in our old age? I know that I do !

Monday, March 03, 2014

Lisa and Glen in Ningbo …

As most of you know my good friend Lisa and her husband are spending a year in China where they are both teaching 10th graders. I love getting her letters and photos and like sharing them with you.

Recently they were treated to a lovely day in the Old Town in Ningbo by one of their students, Terrence, and his sister and her husband.

They stopped for lunch where they could watch the vendor cooking and in the next picture you see them all enjoying their meal. I am impressed to see that Glen has picked up the art of using chop sticks. (Perhaps he’d starve if he waited for a fork !)

I had never heard of Ningbo and when I did a little research I found that it is actually one of China’s oldest cities with a history dating back to the Memuda culture in 4800 BC. It was also a trade city on the exotic silk route at least two thousand years ago. It makes me realize how very “young” we are as a country here in the United States.
Lisa and Glen are certainly getting an “on hands” view of China and I love being there too …albeit vicariously.