Paying Dues

Fifteen cents – a dime and a nickel – was scotch-taped inside the lid of my lunchbox every Tuesday and I never gave it much thought.

But it comes back to me now, the day Mary Jo Hensler approached the desk where the Brownie leader who kept the records sat.

I don’t have my dues again…my father still out of work…,” she said.

One leader looked to another and then on to the 3rd. Then, as if orchestrated, they all nodded at the same time and Mary Jo was kindly told to hurry along to her group so she didn’t miss anything.

Funny, it comes back, my first encounter with corporate compassion. 8 years old.

It seemed right to me, what the leaders did. How does an 8-year-old know that?

And what Mary Jo did seemed…remarkable. Brave even. She could have simply not shown up.

If attitudes toward those in need are affected by our earliest exposures, this episode put a face on it for me and the face was someone in my own circle.

I’ve never liked the words “they” or “them” in reference to the needy, as if speaking of a foreign, faraway, nobody-we’d-brush-shoulders-with people. Some are faraway, yes. But some are right here. Right here in Brownies with me. And we could switch places very easily.

I think this was an important first lesson in acts of charity.

Next post: Anonymous Benefactor

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About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
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