This is the time of year when all of us are inundated even more than usual with worthy appeals, trinkets and bobbles to purchase for support of one cause or another, and/or just plain attempts at laying on guilt trips. After a while it becomes a forest in which it is hard to tell one tree from another. At least, though, in a real forest of real trees one can usually spot the rotting and dead from the flourishing and fruitful. Such is not always the case with people.
Right now we are hearing mostly about people who will not have enough food Thanksgiving Day to gorge themselves quite as fully as we have opportunity so to do. I do not doubt there are those going without in America, in Clay County, in Brazil; but how do we determine who is going without and whom simply wants more? The day after Thanksgiving it will be an even greater emphasis on every kid getting the toy they want, invoking our obligatory giving response.
After enough of really honest appeals one does realize the meaning of "can't see the tree for the forest."
In the middle of all this comes in the mail a letter from one Lynnlee Baysinger, a student at The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. Is this the most important thing, which will come across my transom in the next few weeks? Not nearly. Is there even anything particularly original in her approach? Nota. But somehow it just stands out for her honesty. Included is a picture obviously printed at some expense on an inkjet printer and a SASE. I think I could have written the letter a little more "appeal like," and am not sure about the cost of a stamped envelope. However, I do appreciate two things: The effort taken and the fact she does not try to appeal to my "Christmas spirit."
Anyhow, here is part of what she says, judge for yourself whether it is a "tree" worth noting:
"…I am doing exceptionally well in school right now and do not want to dismiss this one shot at my dream. Acting is all I've ever wanted to do. I am currently working weekends as a waitress at a nice restaurant to help with expenses, but it would never be enough to pay for even a quarter of tuition and room and board since I need approximately $14,000 for next semester.
"I would appreciate any help you could give to me at this time. If you are able to make a donation, you may send it to Lynnlee Baysinger College Fund at Riddell National Bank. 1 East National Ave., Attn: Marcie Rush. Thank you for taking the time to consider this."
Our daughter Susan is painfully aware of daddy's propensity to "adopt" other daughters, so I am sure she will bear with me adding Lynnlee to my list. There is not much I can do for Lynnlee -- I don't even know the girl. But, when Susan was that age and needed my help I did what I could. I can't finance Lynnlee, but I do choose to choose her out of all the trees as one most beautiful. And, I can tell the readers of this blog about her (assuming anyone actually reads this far through my forest of wordiness).
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.