Free Falling

Some near-the-end-of-summer random thoughts to pass the time….

* * *

I hate that new policy adopted by most magazines that offers subscribers the opportunity to have their renewals automatically charged to a credit card. I still want to make the decision of whether to renew each year.

I have to wonder how this new approach is going to affect the annual junior class magazine fund-raiser. Many of the purchases represent renewals.

I signed up for 14 free weeks of Sports Illustrated when I bought a pair of running shoes last spring. When I read the fine print later, I noticed that my credit card would be billed at renewal time. I cancelled the subscription.

* * *

I’m all for shopping in Hillsboro when it is practical, which is not always the case. Take the aforementioned shoes, for example. They can’t be found in our fair city.

But, there are still many cases where buying locally is a real advantage.

The other day I went to the hardware store to purchase a nut that was supposed to twist onto the end of a cable. I happened to take the cable along so I would be sure to get the right part.

Not only did I receive help from the merchant in finding the nut, he went the extra step and offered to “clean up” the threads so the nut would screw on better. Total cost to me? Twelve cents, including the labor.

It’s that kind of service that led me to buy a new barbecue grill that cost a bit more from the same store.

* * *

This kind of hometown service can make an impression when we least expect it. In early June, our post office received a letter from a woman in San Diego, Calif.

It read, “Dear Sir: I have a favor to ask of you that is next to impossible. If accomplished, it will be a miracle. Years ago, my uncle married a young girl from Hillsboro. She and I became close friends. (She) was an excellent cook, and every time she went to Hillsboro to visit her family, she would always bring back some sausages which were made there at a local market. They were out of this world!”

She went on to request that, if that market still existed, she would like to order “a large quantity if they are frozen so a few at a time can be used.”

She wrote that she was planning her own 90th-birthday party and would love to include some sausages from Hillsboro.

“I am a widow, and it is probably the last meal I will ever plan,” she wrote.

Now, that’s what I call an important supper.

If such a letter had been sent to a big-city post office, however, it would have most likely been trashed immediately. But, my wife, and those of you who know Kathy will understand, spotted the letter and thought it might be fun to try to make this “miracle” happen.

She consulted the meat specialists at Dale’s Supermarket, and they informed her they couldn’t ship frozen meat to California. It would have to be done by a civilian.

Fortunately, the woman included her phone number, so Kathy made the call. She arranged to send the care package Express Mail (as soon as she received the money order from California; we’re trusting, but we’re not stupid). In it were nine pounds of meat and some Granny’s homemade mustard. Cost: $30. Postage: $40. Reply from the California woman: Priceless.

“I cannot express enough how much I appreciate the personal interest you took in my behalf,” she wrote. “Thanks to you, we two (her son was invited to celebrate with her) shall be enjoying delicious links for many meals to come. I hope this good deed has given you a nice, warm feeling of satisfaction as it certainly has me.”

Here’s hoping that feeling isn’t heartburn.

* * *

Speaking of home-grown products, if you are a golfer, you owe it to yourself to check out Myron Schmidt’s Pine Edge Golf Course northeast of Goessel. The greens are in remarkable shape, and I guarantee those links will give you heartburn. It is one tough little course.

Congratulations, Myron, on making your dream a reality.

* * *

One more observation, if I may. Please, whoever is in charge of next year’s Marion County Fair parade, put it back on Main Street where it belongs.

I realize that the north end of Main was not quite finished in time for this year’s event, but Ash Street just doesn’t have the same charm.

Here’s hoping the two-year detour does not become the permanent route.

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