Im going to be honest here. I never, ever give to a charity unless theres the possibility of getting something back.
And I dont mean an appreciative smile from some volunteer. Or worse yet, receiving a warm fuzzy feeling.
I dont get much of those anymore. The warm-fuzzies. Unless you count the times (and theyve been numerous of late) when Im wrapped up in a blanket and just too tired to untangle myself in time for that 3 a.m. restroom break.
Did I just stumble into the realm of too much information?
No, when I give to a charity I want something in return. Something I can put my hands on. Something tangible. Something I can take to Welsh Pawn Shop in times of trouble.
So when I heard about the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway a few weeks ago I became almost downright philanthropic. A virtual Salvation Army of one.
Each year -- this is the 13th, by the way -- communities across this great nation of ours raise money for St. Jude Childrens Hospital by raffling off the American Dream: a brand new house in the suburbs.
This year volunteers in our community continued this grand and noble tradition by offering Dream Home tickets for a mere $100. Only 7,000 tickets would be available, we were told.
Those arent bad odds for a $325,000 house (I was a tad crushed to find out there was no pool) in Richmond Hill. Ive yet to visit Richmond Hill, but I hear the best Savannah families are still fleeing there.
St. Jude is truly a wonderful organization. Theyve treated children with serious illnesses regardless of their familys ability to pay for more than fifty years. If I ever give up my selfish quid pro quo ways, this would be the charity I would do volunteer work for.
I can still fondly remember the times Momma tried admitting me to St. Jude. Never mind there was nothing wrong with me. She just wanted me out of the house. Maybe nows the time I try getting her into one of those splendid unassisted living homes. Quid pro quo, Momma.
Anyway, I purchased my Dream Home ticket the day before the live drawing held on WSAV. Raffle aficionadoes the world over swear the odds of winning are better if you make your move just before deadline. Something to do with the last-in, first-out theory, I suppose.
When the big day arrived I hurriedly untangled myself from my blanket, poured myself a bowl of Lucky Charms and turned on the telly. Before I could say Goodbye stinking hellhole, hello Richmond Hill! nagging doubt set in.
Mother of Jefferson Davis! What had I done? What guarantee was there that my
ticket had actually made its way into that hopper (I guess thats you call them. Better ask one those raffle aficionadoes next time) so prominently displayed right there on WSAV?
Did that woman with the beady eyes and slight facial hair, the one I handed a real one hundred dollar bill to, actually turn in my ticket? Or did she pocket the money and wisely proceed to get a face wax and a pedicure?
In all fairness, my receipt and a nice little thank you note (I didnt win the house) did arrive a few days later at my aforementioned stinking hellhole. But how was I to know that as I sat there watching the drawing with only a bowl of stale Lucky Charms and Nagging Doubt for breakfast companions?
Even though I have come to terms with not winning the house, it was for a good cause. It was for good cause, I keep telling myself.
I do have a few suggestions for next years drawing:
1) Hire an independent auditing firm to count and keep tabs on the tickets. You know, the way they do it at the Oscars.
2) Define conflict of interest. My bowl of cereal fell to the floor when it was revealed that the winner of the house was not only a friend of the Dream Homes builder, but was presently having another house built by them, too. Hmmm.
3) Whoever the kid was that was doing the drawing needs to be told Collect your belongings and leave the playground. Turning his back to the camera just before drawing the winners name didnt exactly instill confidence in the viewing audience. Besides who knows whose cousins bothers babys momma nephew he might have been. Hire a professional. Hire an adult.
Now with all that said, I still plan to buy another ticket next year.
Just the other day an old gypsy woman approached me on the street and said I would win. Of course, the old gypsy turned out to my mother. I guess shes trying to get on my good side and avoid those unassisted living accommodations Ive been looking into.
But if indeed I win, all of you are invited to take a tour of the house.
Admission will be $20 in advance. $30 at the door. Hey, pools cost money.
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If I left, how far inland would I have to drive to be safe? How hard would it be to find a motel that would take in my cat and I? How would my cat act all that time in the car? She gets very unhappy in just the five-mile drive to the vet.
The ordinance was written by and for the entrenched interests of downtown property owners, seeking to preserve their dominance in the short-term rental market, and hoteliers seeking to limit the growth of new, competing supply in a market where they are already concerned with over-building.