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Henry Burt Stevens

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$5 isn't much
By Henry Burt Stevens
Saturday, March 26, 2005

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A rant about right and wrong, and being able to tell the difference.

$5 isn’t much


by Henry  Burt Stevens

September 23, 2003


Who’d start a fuss over $5?  Well it depends.


At a time when institutions of every stripe are breaking their word, promises and contractual obligations it came as a shock to me when the Mayflower Society of Vermont billed me, a life member, $5 for postage for my newsletter for the coming year.


I’ve been a member for years and a life member since 1992 and, of course, I always received my quarterly newsletter.  What is the meaning of a life membership if there are to be surcharges as the board of directors feels pinched in their budget?  I fussed and fumed to myself and sent in my $5 and promptly put the whole problem out of my mind.


But yesterday I received an official letter from Dana K Roecker, Governor, Vermont Society of Mayflower Descendants saying, “Dear Society Life Member, The Board of Assistants, at its meeting in June 2003, rescinded the Green Mountain Pilgrim Subscription fee of $5.00 per year for LIFE Members. Since you paid this fee, you many have it refunded, if you wish. 


This is not the same thing as Enron employees losing their pensions and 401Ks.  It is not the same as declaring unilateral unprovoked war on a country we are peace at, and using untrue statements as a rational.  It is not the same as cutting social services to poor people.  It’s $5 from someone who can afford it.


However, I see a larger meaning.  If the Mayflower Society, a high minded and very well off group of people, can officially create and approve a moral lapse of judgment  using the same flexible rationales as Enron and President Bush, and for an  amount as tiny as $5 then something is seriously wrong with the world I live in. 


I’m going to retreat further into my own little sphere, where I can use my own little sense of right and wrong to guide me.  Certainly I am not going to adopt these previous stated examples of right and wrong.


I’ve only had a regular full time job for two years in my whole life and I’m now 70.  The rest of the time I made my own way using my own time, my own money, running my own business. I did business my way.  I never had to follow a board of directors about implementing a plan I didn’t think was right.  I could make my right and wrong decisions by myself, as I went along.


Henry David Thoreau said, “We make ourselves rich as we make our wants few.”


Not only rich, but we can preserve a sense of right and wrong by not placing ourselves as individuals, or businesses, or nations in a position where our wants force us to compromise by wrecking employee pensions, creating war for unstated ends, cutting benefits to the poor or socking life members for $5 postage.


We can learn to do right by learning to want less.                            






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Reviewed by MaryGrace Patterson 7/14/2005
Its a good article. You're right ,, $5.00 isn't much...m
Reviewed by Birdie Houston 5/1/2005
Thumbs up on this rant nicely done.
Reviewed by Sandy Knauer 3/29/2005
Nice article, and I understand the frustration. I suspect there will be many more decisions similar to this one made in the near future, as the gas prices go up. Ever think about what the increased price of gas does to the postal service (whose funds have been cut), or the school systems who have to put gas in school buses, or groceries prices, delivery charges. . . everything will surely have to go up along with gas prices.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 3/28/2005
rant on, henry! i know how that is. i had lifetime insurance when i was living at home with my daddy, and when i moved to texas, they dropped me. so now i have no insurance and can't get any because of preexisting medical problems. grrr. so now i am in a fix! i only hope and pray i don't get sick; i can't afford it!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :(

i was also getting relafin when i was under my daddy's insurance for my arthritis; now i only take tylenol or motrin. can't afford the good stuff. grrrr! oh, well, some pain relief is better than none, i always say; things could be a lot worse!
Reviewed by Cynthia Borris 3/26/2005

Rant, Rant, and Rant some more. Get your $5 worth. Lifetime memberships should stick to the definition. A lifetime.


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