Counter Arts
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Counter Arts

Prompt: General Paper Subject

Charitable Giving

To what extent is charitable giving desirable?

Charitable pre-Christmas Drive — Photography by Raine Lore

At first, when this prompt was suggested, I hesitated, because I didn’t fully understand what the heck a General Paper was, and also because I hardly understood any of the three possible subjects proposed. (At all)!

I think this is probably where I should declare my lack of higher education, and make excuses for being born at a time when an elevated education was deemed not all that necessary for girls, especially if they could cook, sew, and do laundry. I liked to pretend I was hopeless at all three!

However, I did attend schools that were very progressive for the time, (the Fossil Age), and I was blissfully unaware of any divide regarding attitudes, and expectations, for either sex.

This was not the case on the home front!

Father was always broke, and mother had Asperger’s Syndrome, which meant there was no money for advanced education, and there was only one job for women that mother understood, and that was shorthand-typing.

My mother had successfully(?) navigated life by clinging firmly to anything learned in her formative years. If her mother had shown her how to set a table, then that was how every table would be set, regardless of the meal, or the time of day. Mother went with what she knew and refused to acknowledge other opinions or other ways of attending to a matter. Consequently, because mother was an excellent shorthand-typist/bookkeeper, and worked full time in a lawyer’s office, so too, should I. Consequently, I was forced to choose study subjects that led to office work.

Anyway, back to the subject. What was it? Oh yes, I am supposed to waffle on about the extent that charitable giving is desirable.

Of course, charitable giving is desirable when assistance is constructive and fills a need. To my grass-roots style of thinking, I would say there is not much point in giving someone a double bed when they are living in the backseat of a car! I thought that would be obvious to the educated, but the question is being posed by educators, so go figure! Beyond that, I suppose it is possibly undesirable to continue dishing out stuff when someone is learning to manage autonomously. Extended assistance could disempower and discourage personal effort, but I’m not too sure that the recipient of said charity would altogether agree with that postulation.

Let’s not overlook that many people need assistance for long periods. I reckon it is the responsibility of the community to deliver wherever that need exists, for however long it exists!

So, that is where I am going to leave the ‘highbrow’ stuff and try to look at the subject purely from a personal point of view. I’ve probably created dissenters at this point, anyhow, and I’m still not one hundred percent sure, nor do I care, that I am adequately answering the question posed!

Any Charitable Giving is Desirable When I Am on the Receiving End!

I am not poor or lacking in anything, (except education), but I know what I like, and that is most definitely free stuff. Perhaps that is the result of my upbringing. Nevertheless, I have no intention of blaming my avarice on anyone but myself.

Free stuff acquisition can be a sickness, but I have managed to control the urge to line up when things are being dished out to the truly needy. However, there is one thing I cannot ignore, and that is the big, red fire truck that drives down my street every second week in December, piloted by a local real estate proprietor’s car!

From miles away, Christmas songs can be heard blaring out from two big speakers installed on top of the pilot vehicle. Excitingly, an old fire department truck, sirens blaring, follows the support car. On top of the truck is Santa, seated in a big comfy chair, accompanied by two glamorously dressed elves.

When kids run out onto front yards, the elves throw wrapped sweets, and Santa yells, “Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas!” The music and sirens are loud enough to hurt your eardrums, and I love it!

If you look carefully at my story image, you will see a distinct lack of children on the street. In all the years I have lived here, not one kid has ever shown up for Santa, even though plenty are living in the neighbourhood.

There is no excuse to miss Santa because the charity advertises Santa’s timetable, and route around the neighbourhood, online. I know this to be true — I look it up every year! Because of the lack of childish enthusiasm, I feel I must encourage the charity, and Santa, by being there for the drive-by, (and the free sweets).

I often wonder if the people onboard the high vantage point of the fire truck, look for the eccentric, elderly lady who lurks in her bougainvillea, waiting for Santa’s arrival. Do they experience the joy of giving when I finally leap out from behind the garage, to wave and shriek with joy as Saint Nick draws closer to my front yard?

I am probably the only reason they keep my street on the digital map!

It works! Every year, for weeks following the firetruck event, hubby finds overlooked wrapped sweets when mowing the front lawn. That is probably because I don’t spend a lot of time raking over the grass, following Santa’s drive-by. We have neighbours that tend to peek from behind curtains, and I am certain it is not good viewing; an elderly lady crawling around, head down, bum up, looking for elusive lollies. After all, I do have to look my neighbours in the eye, from time to time!

Summing up (in bullet points) because that seems like a higher education thing to do:

· I did not receive the benefit of higher education

· I probably should leave General Papers to those who actually understand what is required

· I try not to make excuses for my failings

· It’s good to give stuff to people who are in need

· It’s really good to give stuff to me

· I love Christmas

· Kids these days don’t know how to have fun!

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Whacky, countercultural, and the only 1 Stop for Nonfiction on Medium.. Who cares what the algorithm says?

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Raine Lore

Raine Lore

Independent author on Amazon, reader, graphic artist and photographer. Dabbling in illustration and animation.

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