According to long and well-entrenched tradition Labor Day is the end of summer (such as we had this year). A much younger tradition seems to have developed that the next day is the beginning of the raise-money-for-some-more-or-less-worthy-cause season.
After awhile there are simply too many solicitations for too many admittedly worthy causes and one gets hardened to it all.
Our policy at Computer Central (where I sometimes hang out and can implement the policy) is to help any student type with nerve to show up at the door and ask. The arbitrary limit to this being $25. It does help their cause if the solicitors are pretty girls, such as the four who came in last week from Clay City. As I often say, I have ties [and grandchildren] older than them, but we sprang for the cheapest Yearbook advertisement.
For the most part we turn down any phone solicitations -- unfortunately without knowing the caller it is impossible to sort the good from the bad on the phone. As a general rule, too, most of what comes in the mail is disregarded unless the sender is known and local.
In our September 11 post came a return address I well recognized: Chamber of Commerce Flag Fund, Sugar N' Spice Florist, 234 E National Ave, Brazil. If you've been around Brazil business and social gatherings very long you should immediately know the name behind that masthead: Vickie Mace.
For the 12 some years I've been in town Vickie has provided floral arrangements as door prizes for the Chamber of Commerce meetings and many other civic and non-profit groups. If you've heard of any moves to beautify Brazil, somewhere in the background you will probably find Vickie making things happen.
Her immediate crusade being the American Flags our city so proudly displays along National Avenue. Her letter reads in part:
"HELP KEEP THE FLAGS FLYING
"Due to the extended length of time the flags downtown are being left up, it is getting too costly for a few people, or one organization to maintain. Therefore I am asking for your help with this project. I think we will all agree that the flags on Main Street not only enhance our downtown, but shows our small town patriotism and our support for our troops that are still serving away from home. Duke Energy is always so gracious in taking them down and putting them up. Dave Evans of Evans Decorators gives us a good deal on quality flags.
"So, if you would like to help keep the flags up, please respond with your $25.00 donation as soon as possible, so we can get them ordered and replaced soon."
Now that money-raising season is upon us, flags will not be the most compelling of appeals that will come in our mails. But with the recent talk of remembering the heroes of 9-11, replacing our symbols of Americanism seems worth a few bucks. Acknowledging non-heroes like Vickie who just silently go about doing what they love to do for the town they love seems worth a few moments, too.
By the way, no pretty girls will come to your door, but if you would like to add to the flag fund the Chamber of Commerce is accepting contributions. You can help even if you didn't get a letter or phone call.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.