A Thousand Years

Considering all the address labels various do-gooder groups are sending me, I won’t be able to move for a thousand years, and even then, I’ll have a few labels left over as well as those they will be sending me over coming millennium.

I mean, really — in this electronic age, how many address labels does one person need? I’ve been using one each month to pay a local bill because I got out of the habit of paying in person with The Bob restrictions. (Incidentally, if you don’t know why I call this particular disease “The Bob,” it’s not just because I can’t bear to use its name, even though that’s true, it’s because of a scene from my book, A Spark of Heavenly Fire. Click here to read the explanation: The Bob)

And I might use a couple address labels for Christmas cards if I decide to send out the new cards I constructed from old cards at an Art Guild meeting the other day. But besides that, I have no use for address labels. You’d think charitable organizations would come up with some other sort of gimmick to get people to contribute to their cause, but I suppose the labels are easy to make and cheap to mail.

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“I am Bob, the Right Hand of God. As part of the galactic renewal program, God has accepted an offer from a development company on the planet Xerxes to turn Earth into a theme park. Not even God can stop progress, but to tell the truth, He’s glad of the change. He’s never been satisfied with Earth. For one thing, there are too many humans on it. He’s decided to eliminate anyone who isn’t nice, and because He’s God, He knows who you are; you can’t talk your way out of it as you humans normally do.”

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God
Click here to purchase the Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

It Is That Season

The VFW sponsors a youth essay contest, and this year I was asked to help judge the local entries. Hearing so much about schools nowadays, and how kids aren’t learning anything, I felt some trepidation, but I was surprised. Each essay in its way was very good. A few seemed age-appropriate, but others seemed adult in both ideas and writing style, which could just have been a matter of number of years of schooling since the entrants ranged from 6th to 8th grade.

Still, I was impressed with the essays. And, I have to confess, I felt a bit impressed with myself that I actually agreed to be a judge. It is so not something I like doing!

But then, I end up doing a lot of things I never thought I would do.

This is the season when all the charitable organizations make a concerted effort to solicit donations. Without a lot of research, it’s hard to know how much of the money you donate actually goes to the people it’s supposed to help, but this year, I don’t have to research. I know.

One of the organizations I joined is the Woman’s Civics Club, which raises funds and then distributes those funds to various local organizations. Often, those funds are solicited directly from the members. (For example, instead of having a bake sale, the Civics Club has a non-bake bake sale. They found that considering the cost of the goods, the time to make them, the effort to sell, it’s simply easier just to donate the amount of money the baked goods would have brought in.) With the treasurer’s report that is read at every meeting, I know exactly where the money goes. Same with the art guild.

I’m sure that the international charity organizations do good, and that not all the money goes to the CEOs and exorbitant operating costs as is sometimes bruited about, but it’s so much nicer to worry only about the local community. A community I am part of.

Does it seem as strange to you as it does to me, that I am part of a community? That I participate? That I even judged kids’ essays?

But maybe it’s not strange. Maybe it is that season — that season of my life.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.