Jottings: A guilt trip in the mail
I've got all the money I'll ever need
if I die before four o'clock.
- Henny Youngman
I thought of Henny as I slit open the two inch pile of envelopes that grew daily. Letters with no postage due, a blessing. All well written. No typos. Too much information. Too many enclosures. Always a return envelope. Several already stamped, saving me 45 cents. And mighty nice people, too, as they addressed me as 'Dear Friend' or 'Dear Patricia.' Oh, and one 'Dear Conservationist' from the Save the Redwoods League offering a free canvas tote with a mere $19 contribution. It was the minimum amount. And the Oregon Shakespeare Festival sent 'my family's love to yours.' Now in this day of social distancing, my life has been rather dull and my family a bit small — George, a nine year old diabetic canary who is visually impaired, lost his song years ago, and is in his annual molt. Still, it was lovely to hear that this most prestigious festival was sending its love to George and me.
Several missives were equally warm and fuzzy. 'I hope you and your family are receiving this letter in good health.' 'I can't thank you enough for being part of my team.' Heady stuff coming from a candidate in Wisconsin, my natal state. But it was the ones with a hint of desperation in their plea that made me reach for my checkbook. 'I can't win again without your help today.' And the saddest — 'I knew it wouldn't be easy.'
What's a girl to do? My head was spinning and my good conscience was in overdrive. Give the minimum donation of $19 to these heartful requests or the maximum at $2,800? In other words, $609 or $15,439? With the former I could buy dozens of large Papa Murphy's Cowboy pizzas or with the latter over 1,000 with a case or two of pinot grigio thrown in. However, I thought of another well known person's advice and decided to toss all the correspondence in my recycling bin.
"A woman's best protection is a little money of her own."
- Clare Booth Luce
Patricia is a member of the Jottings group at Lake Oswego Adult Center.
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