All dogs have teeth, which means every dog has the potential to bite. An estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur in the US each year, and more than 800,000 people bitten require medical care. May is National Dog Bite Prevention Month, so let’s examine the issue and explore methods to keep you from becoming a statistic.
Children are the most frequent victims of dog bites, and are the group that are injured the most severely when bites occur. Fifty percent of bites involve children under the age of 12, and 82 percent of dog bites treated in the emergency room involve children under the age of 15. Senior citizens are the next group most frequently bitten. Most people are bitten not by stray dogs, but when interacting with a dog they know.
Dogs bite for many reasons, but there are some issues that often result in bites. Many dogs are possessive of things they regard as “theirs” such as toys, food, treats, their own bodies, a specific area or even a person.
Dogs may also bite due to fear. Dogs may be scared in unfamiliar situations, when they are startled at home, or when they feel cornered. Children’s unpredictable sounds and movements, and senior citizens using things such as canes or walkers can often trigger a fear response in a dog.
Pain and illness can cause a dog to bite. Chronic conditions such as hip dysplasia and arthritis can cause a dog to be more likely to bite, as can injuries and sickness. If a dog is hurting or sick, he may become snippy.
Dogs sometimes nip and bite during play. Wrestling, biting and nipping are enjoyable for the dog, but not much fun for the people at the other end of the teeth.
Natural instincts such as herding drive and prey drive can also trigger bites. Herding breeds are notorious for nipping family members and friends as they try to bunch them together into a group. The prey drive may be triggered by movement or sound, such as a baby crying or a jogger or biking going past.
There are steps you can take to keep your dog from becoming a biter. First, choose your dog carefully. If you purchase a dog from a breeder, make sure it is someone who selects dogs for good temperament. If you’re adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue group, find out if the dog has been temperament tested. If you have children, be very cautious about adding a shy or reclusive dog to the family, as these dogs are more likely to be fear biters.
If you get a puppy, socialize him early and often. Prior to completing his vaccinations you need to be cautious about where you take him, focusing on places where you know the vaccination status of the dogs going to that location. After he is fully vaccinated, expose him to lots of situations, people and environments.
Train your dog from the time you bring him home. Teach him basic commands, and get him accustomed to letting you handle his possessions. Teach him to give you his toys when you ask for them, handle him all over his body, and pet him and put your hand in his dish when you feed him. It’s also important that he learn bite inhibition during play.
If your dog shows any signs of biting or aggression, don’t make excuses for him or ignore the behavior. Consult with a dog trainer, animal behaviorist or your veterinarian right away. Such behaviors are always more successfully managed when they first emerge.
When you encounter other dogs, exercise caution. Watch for signs of fear and discomfort, such as a dog who will not make eye contact, tucks his tail, or yawns frequently. Teach your children to receive permission before petting a dog. Do not approach a dog behind a fence or one that is tied, as he may protect his territory.
If faced with a loose dog that appears aggressive, it is crucial that you not panic. Hold very still, wrapping your arms around your body as if giving yourself a big hug. Avoid making eye contact with the dog; do NOT try to “stare him down.” Don’t scream or run. Once the dog moves away, back up slowly to remove yourself from the situation.
Any dog can be dangerous and any dog can bite. Train and socialize your own dog, ask permission before touching or playing with a dog, and be smart. You can do a lot to prevent bites.
Speaking of movies, it is my sad duty to report that I missed the first part of a “must-see” movie the other night.
See, one of Frosty’s jobs, along with milking and canning and splitting stovewood, etc., is to check the TV schedule very closely so that I won’t miss anything that must not be missed.
She let me down. Halfway through the Braves game, something was mentioned about asphalt. “What did you say?” I asked gently as she shelled peas for our next meal.
I thought I knew. I wrested the clicker from her and started searching the movie channels, and Sam Jaffe’s face appeared. Then Sterling Hayden’s. I had missed the beginning, but I was into The Asphalt Jungle.
There it was, in all its grimy, dirty, cheapness, some low-lifes figuring out how to rob a jewelry store.
Well, they didn’t have to figure out how, just who was going to do this caper, as we bank robbers say.
It’s very predictable. You know they’re not going to succeed. Yet it’s fascinating to see just how they fail, the little things that prevent success. Also, you get to see a few shots of the early Marilyn Monroe — interesting. She was beautiful by any standards, any time. Louis Calhoun is perfect as her sugar daddy.
The head of MGM didn’t like it, even though it was made in his studio. He said it was a dirty little movie about dirty little people, very much not what you would not expect from Leo the Lion, more Warner Brother-ish. Yet, for all that, a great movie.
I never thought of Sterling Hayden as a great actor, well, until Dr. Strangelove, but here he is just right as a big dumb hoodlum from Kentucky who loves horses. And Jean Hagen is prettier than I had remembered.
If you can‘t see anything but the last two minutes, watch that. Hayden, wounded, “with not enough blood to keep a chicken alive,” drives and drives, trying to get back to his beloved Kentucky; and finally goes stumbling across a pasture where horses are grazing, and dies right there amongst them.
I didn’t mean to carry on so long about that one movie, but it is one to watch for.
Others — and Frosty better tend to her job — include Cross of Iron, directed by the same genius who directed The Wild Bunch, Sam Peckinpaw...and it’s about time to see that again.
And it’s been several months since I’ve seen State Fair. I have to have a State Fair fix pretty often. Don’t ask why. The whole thing is as fantastic as the Wizard of Oz (another must). Here we have this picturesque Iowa farm where nobody works, apparently, except to get ready for the Fair. Two college-ag-age kids who “sit around and mope,” and who wear suits to the Fair! And yet, for many reasons, I love it. For one thing, Rodgers and Hammerstein outdid themselves in the only movie they wrote for. Several of their Broadway hits have been made into movies, but in this case, they were writing just for the movie.
I also saw Inherit the Wind again. It should be required watching for high school juniors and seniors.
One movie channel did me dirty. It showed a “must-see” early in the morning when I couldn’t watch it. Shame, shame, shame. It was Laura, with Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney and Clifton Webb, all perfect for their parts.
Love yah, Gene/Laura, wherever you are.
Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note.
Invitations to high school and college graduations as well as to summer weddings are now being received. When an invitation is received, good manners dictate that the invitation be acknowledged.
Acknowledgement is necessary for practical reasons. Today some schools have outgrown their auditorium and the number invited to attend graduation must be limited.
Space for the graduation may be a problem but the number of guests who must be fed is very important for the wedding.
To acknowledge an invitation, use a handwritten note or buy a card that applies to the occasion and add your handwritten note, but do reply and the sooner the better.
Understand that the receipt of an invitation does not mandate the sending of a gift. For years this myth has helped retailers but a gift is not always appropriate.
A gift is sent only when you believe it is appropriate and when you want to send the gift and then only when you can afford it. Do not go into debt or stretch your budget.
If you are going to the event and are not sending a gift, write your note on the bought card expressing regret that you can no attend, blah, blah.
If not planning to attend the graduation but are sending a gift, express sorrow that you can not attend but sincerely hope he likes the golf shirt (or whatever) that Smith Retail (or whoever) is delivering to him.
For a wedding invitation, follow the same format, also informing the couple what the gift is and where it is coming from.
Telling what the gift is and where it is coming from will allow him to check on it if it is not received, which is not unusual.
Many bridal couples still register at fine jewelry stores for their silver, china, and crysal, but also register at Target or Wal-Mart for more practical and usually less expensive gifts.
If you want the gift delivered when you pay for it, be sure the jewelry store has the item in stock. Not all stores keep a complete stock and it is not uncommon for brides to receive gifts long after you have paid for it.
Always keep your sales receipt.
Obviously, if you plan to attend, say so. The gift may be mentioned (or not) if you are sending one.
If you do send a gift, try to make it one that the receiver will cherish and enjoy.
There are those among us who consider the giving of money to be uncouth, but couth or not, you can say one thing about money – one size fits all and a gift certificate or money may be the best gift of all.
If you know the people who have invited you well enough, you may simply ask them what they would like. You do want the person who receives the gift to be happy with it.
When the gift is received, the same good manners dictate that a thank-you be sent, and promptly. If you receive too many of the same item, possibly you can discreetly return some of them for credit, but be careful how you handle this. Regifting is very popular now, so put the extra in a closet to be used later.
The ideal answer to the gift problem is a gift shelf where you store future gifts. Your brother will probably wear the same size socks Christmas as he did when you found them on a dramatic sale in July. Be frugal even with gifts.
Watch seasonal sales and store closings sales for an opportunity to get ahead on some of these gifts that you know you will wish that you had when the time comes.
If you see what appears to be a giant yellowjacket flying close to the ground or your premises, it’s more than likely a yellowjacket queen searching for a suitable place to nest and start a colony. The queens are the only ones to survive the winter, except on very rare occasions. Lately, I have seen three on my property. I have put out my jellowjacket trap, which trapped and drowned hundreds if not a thousand or more of the yellowjacket workers last summer, and I hope to trap one or more of the queens before they can establish colonies. Every queen killed results in a reduction of between one and five thousand of the smaller trouble-making offspring that bother us later in the year.
Yellowjacket stings are not only painful but can result in death. About one person in a thousand is hyperallergic to the stings of yellowjackets, wasps, and bees. If a hyperallergic person is stung and not treated immediately with an antihistamine, such as Benadryl, death occurs within one hour 66 percent of the time, and within three hours, the stung victim dies 94 percent of the time.
I took a bee-keeping class under the late Professor Faye Guyton, and following his death, Professor George Blake taught the course. After having been stung by bees numerous times, Prof. Blake began experiencing symptoms of allergy. He kept a bottle of Benadryl handy, and if stung he would take a swig. That prevented him from dying from respiratory obstruction or anaphylactic shock, which causes fatality in untreated hyperallergic people following a sting.
Most allergies produce mild symptoms, but some, such as the aforementioned, are potentially life-threatening. I have experienced one of the latter. About 20 years ago, I was carelessly handling a copperhead and was bitten on the finger. Within a few minutes, using a sterile razor blade, I made an incision about one-fourth of an inch long and about that deep through the fang puncture and sucked. I believe I sucked out most of the venom, but Janie, who was there at the time, insisted that I go to the hospital. To keep peace in the family, I agreed to go. Meanwhile, my finger had swollen to about twice its normal size and I was experiencing severe pain, but only in my finger.
I was admitted, and Dr. Strother performed an initial test to ensure that I was not allergic to the antivenom, which was negative. But I knew that about 70 percent of people who were treated with antivenom would experience a delayed allergic reaction to the antivenom. Whether the antivenom produced today results in a delayed reaction is questionable.
No complications occurred from the snake bite, but about twelve days later, I felt an unusual sensation in my lips and eyebrows. I drove home and Janie said, “Bob, your lips are swollen and your eyebrows are too.” I thought, I’m reacting to that antivenom and told Janie to call the doctor, who met me and gave me a shot of antihistamine.
We returned home, and I began experiencing hives, itching on my scalp and torso. The hives began to subside, but I noticed something else, my voice began to squeak, an indication that my larynx was swelling, a condition called larynx edema. This can result in a closure of the trachea and suffocation. I told Janie, “If this gets worse, you may have to perform a tracheotomy on me, to keep me alive. It’s a simple procedure. You make an incision in the neck, just above the collar bones, and then cut into the trachea and insert a hollow object into the trachea. That will bypass my larynx and allow me to breath. These diagrams in the Merck Manual will show you exactly how to do it.”
I placed a single-edge razor blade, the barrel of a ball-point pen, and a wad of cotton next to the bed, and told her, “These are all you’ll need. Then call the doctor and ask him for additional advice.” Fortunately for me, and especially for Janie, my larynx didn’t swell to the extent that my ability to breath was impaired.
Speaking of allergies, Geezer Bob Sanders told me about one I had never heard of. His grandson is allergic to white oak trees of all things! A website, sharecare, states, “Avoid white oak in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to white oak. “ It stated that one patient experienced an anaphylactic reaction after eating acorns from a related oak species. The patient was also allergic to peanuts. So, I am led to believe that Bob’s grandson isn’t the only person in the world who is allergic to white oak trees, as I initially thought he might be.
Bob Mount is a Professor Emeritus with the Dept of Zoology and Entomology, Auburn Univ. He is also chairman of the Opelika Order of Geezers, well-known local think tank and political clearing house. He writes about birds, snakes, turtles, bugs and assorted conservation topics.
In 1976 a good friend of mine died as the result of a heart condition related to smoking cigarettes. He left a wife and four children. He tried to quit smoking, but he couldn’t.
At that time I smoked a pack a day ... at least.
After I left his funeral I went home and vowed to quit, and somehow I did quit even though I did every thing wrong in the process.
You’re not supposed to “quit” in an emotional state, but that is exactly what I did.
I had a wife and two young children. My wife smoked, and she was going to quit, but she never did. She died, but not necessarily because she smoked.
So, the point is that I quit “cold turkey.”
Later, I found out that “cold turkey” doesn’t mean what most people think it means. I looked it up a long time ago, and if I remember correctly the phrase developed in the early 1900s, and it had to do with people who were trying to lose weight.
They would keep some cold turkey in the refrigerator for snacks, if they got hungry. The phrase represents a tapering off, and there are those who say that you cannot stop smoking by tapering off.
And I agree.
You just have to quit. And you have to mean it when you say it to yourself, even though some times you might laugh like a maniac when you say it to yourself.
What I did do was reward myself at the end of every day that I did not smoke.
Usually my reward was food ... every thing from banana pudding to peach ice cream.
Yes, I gained weight, but the ex-smokers I talked to said losing weight was easier than dying from smoking. They were right.
One thing you have to realize is that when you decide to quit smoking you are not just breaking a bad habit.
You are fighting a deadly addiction to nicotine.
When you realize that you are an addict it becomes much more serious.
Smokers are addicts: The addiction is nicotine. This is not a game. This is an addiction that can kill you ... one puff at a time.
Those television commercials put out by the Bureau of Health and Human Services are effective because they are real. Those commercials reminded me of the fact that I would probably be dead had I not quit.
I’m not the picture of health, but I am 79, and I walk a half-mile every day.
And you can save a ton of money if you quit.
I come from a long line of disabilities. I stutter, my father was blind, and my mother and brother are Alabama fans; however, since May 13-19 is National Stuttering Awareness week, I’ll st-st-stick to stuttering.
When I was in the second grade, one of my classmates asked me why I stuttered. I told her that when I was a kid, I was eating a piece of meat and it got stuck in my throat, so whenever I tried to talk, it bounced up and down which caused me to stutter.
She bought it hook, line, and sinker.
I can’t recall whether she moved, transferred schools or what, but I didn’t see her again until we were in the seventh grade. After a brief conversation, she said, “Jody, it sounds like you still have that meat stuck in your throat.”
Indeed I did. Indeed I do.
I’ve stuttered my entire life, although it was much more severe during my childhood.
There are varying degrees of stuttering, from mild to severe.
There are, perhaps, as many different patterns of stuttering as there are people who stutter. I’ve often said that a person’s stutter is as unique as fingerprints and snowflakes.
The exact cause of stuttering is not known.
Throughout history, some of the more laughable proposed “causes” of stuttering, per Wikipedia, have included tickling an infant too much, allowing an infant to look in the mirror, eating improperly during breastfeeding, cutting a child’s hair before the child spoke his or her first words, having too small a tongue, or, my favorite, the “work of the devil.”
People who stutter often experience physical tension and struggle in their speech muscles, as well as embarrassment, anxiety, and fear about speaking. Together, these symptoms can make it very difficult for people who stutter to say what they want to say and to communicate effectively with others.
I borrowed the previous paragraph from my friends at the National Stuttering Association.
The National Stuttering Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing hope and empowerment to children and adults who stutter, their families, and professionals through support, education, advocacy, and research.
For centuries “cures” such as drinking water from a snail shell, hitting a stutterer in the face when the weather was cloudy, strengthening the tongue as a muscle, and various herbal remedies were used.
These “cures” are equally as laughable as the “causes.” There is no cure for stuttering. Some of us may outgrow it or control it better than others, but once a stutterer, always a stutterer, and that’s okay. It’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it should be embraced.
Danny, one of my Canadian pals who also stutters, says stuttering is cool. I couldn’t agree more.
Unfortunately, not everyone agrees.
During Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, I was told by an officer from another company that I couldn’t be an officer because of my stutter. I wish I’d caught his name because I would’ve looked him up and sent him a message by now letting him know that upon arrival at my first assignment at Ft. Lewis, my bosses had enough confidence in my abilities to appoint me as the platoon leader of the third largest platoon in the Army.
Clear and concise communication is important; however, it is not the be all end all. Only 1% of the adult population stutters but 4% of children do, which means 96% do not. If I had a nickel for every time I was made fun of, I could have retired at 12.
We all have perceived flaws. None of us are perfect.
We’re all unique in our own way and all have the ability to shine, regardless of the perceived flaw. At the risk of sounding arrogant, there was a time in my life where people made fun of me for the way I spoke, yet, today, people pay to hear me speak.
My advice to anyone who stutters is to truly accept it. I know that can be hard for some of us, but if you don’t accept it yourself, then how can you expect it from others?
Accept it, embrace it, and let it shine, because loving yourself really is cool, no doubt about it.
We recently threw a rather elaborate birthday party for our youngest in the Enchanted Play Yard. I was inspired, since “everyone is mad here” to plan an Alice in Wonderland event to honor our little eight year old. Believe it or not, we don’t do many big parties, with a family as large as ours there would be one every week in the spring.
For inspiration I went to Pinterest. If you haven’t discovered this wonderful place, you are missing out on the most creative, idea-filled “imagazine” imaginable. It’s like having the creative minds of thousands of people open for public view, just type in a topic and be amazed.
After making a list of fun items I would need for the party, I headed downtown to my favorite little whatnot store, “Gatherings.”
My friends Judy Robinson and Paula Roberts have a collectors paradise down on the corner of Railroad Avenue. They are tucked away at the end of the street that now houses some of the best restaurants in a hundred mile radius. If the smell of all that delicious food doesn’t draw you to Railroad these days you haven’t been riding with your windows down.
“Gatherings” is like falling through the Rabbit’s Hole itself. The girls have done a beautiful job displaying anything you might want to uniquely decorate your home. I was looking for teapots on my birthday party search and they certainly didn’t disappoint. I always have to walk through the store several times to feel like I’ve seen everything. I found exactly what I wanted at prices too good to pass up. I had my little birthday girl with me, she immediately found a tiny teapot she wanted. After Paula wrapped all the treasures and I paid her, we headed for the car. It was then I spied the perfect little teapot cake topper in the window — I had to have it too! It became the centerpiece for the whole party.
That evening I shared on Facebook about the cute little shop at the end of Railroad and was shocked at the responses I got from people who didn’t know anything about this jewel in our town.
“Gatherings” is pretty much what the name suggests. Judy and Paula are gatherers, I suppose they are like “Pickers” Frank and Mike, if you are familiar with that show on the History Channel. They find unique items along the way and sell them in their store. This is not a junk shop or a thrift store, it is more a boutique at bargain prices, and I do mean bargain. I have seen the same items in other specialty shops at twice the ticket price, sometimes more.
“Gatherings” is a labor of love for two hometown girls who just want to share their excitement for finding fun and interesting items. I never go in and come out empty handed. My home has countless “Gatherings” touches all over. If I ever need inspiration I know where to go. Pinterest may be a great starting point but Paula and Judy are far more entertaining and they give encouragement and hugs.
Go visit, tell them Angie sent you.
As someone active in dog rescue, I network with many other folks involved in the same activity. Lately, I’ve seen a disturbing increase in the number of senior dogs being picked up as strays or turned in to shelters. In some cases where the dogs are being dumped, their owners are calling them aggressive; in others they are upset that the dog is ignoring his training. It’s heartbreaking that these senior citizens are being lost or turned out of the homes they love because they’re suffering the pangs of old age.
Sometimes, because our dogs are so stoic and cooperative, we don’t realize how much is changing for them. Many dogs suffer hearing loss as they age. They may not go completely deaf, but they do become hard of hearing, just as people do. Because of this, it may seem your dog is ignoring you, when in fact they simply aren’t hearing your commands. The hearing loss can also make some dogs seem aggressive, if they wheel or jump when someone approaches them unseen or startles them when they sleep. A dog that formerly could hear you approach is now clueless that you’re there, and may react in a manner you aren’t accustomed to. You can help your senior dog by approaching him from the front, talking more loudly than normal to him, and by waking him gently, with a gentle caress rather than an abrupt shove.
Vision changes can also impact your old dog. As he grows older, the lens of his eye may become cloudy. Some dogs also develop cataracts, which can impair how well they see or even cause them to go blind. As with hearing loss, full or partial blindness can cause your dog to startle easily if he doesn’t realize you’re there. Approaching from the front or speaking to him as you approach will help him realize you’re there. You also need to accommodate your dog’s loss of vision by keeping things the same for him. Rearranging the furniture, or adding something new to the room or the yard, can make it a confusing place for your old timer. Keep things the same if at all possible. If you do move things around, take the time to introduce the changes to your dog.
The partial or complete loss of hearing and/or vision also make it easier for your dog to become lost. If you take your dog to an off leash park or allow him to run free, he may not make it back to you. He may not hear you when you call to him, and not recognize you from a distance. Senior dogs should be watched carefully when not at home. They should be leashed when walking along streets or when in parking lots. The ability to be startled by unknown people and dogs means that even in “doggy places” such as off leach dog parks, it’s better to keep them on at least a long lead.
Arthritis is another issue your old dog may have to deal with. Painful joints may make your dog reluctant to come to you, especially if he needs to climb stairs. He may hesitate to get into the car. He might refuse to fetch or sit up or roll over as you have previously trained him to do. These responses may make him appear disobedient, when in fact he just hurts. Your dog might also shy away from your touch, flinch when petted, or respond to pushing or pulling with a grumble or lifted lip. Many owners take these behaviors as signs of aggression, when in fact the dog is trying to tell you you’re hurting him. Ramps, orthopedic beds, nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and prescription medications from your veterinarian can help relieve your dog’s pain and make life more pleasant for him. His days of jogging with you may be past, but he’ll probably enjoy a short amble at your side.
Old age may mean your elderly dog needs to urinate and even defecate more frequently. Dogs that formerly “held it” for hours may be physically incapable of doing so. A senior dog is usually not being disobedient or stubborn when he “goes” in the house, and scolding or punishment do nothing to prevent it from happening again. Frequent bathroom breaks or an available potty pad will help him get through this time.
Your senior dog has given you a lifetime of love and devotion. As his body begins to fail, his love for you does not. Adjust and accommodate, and allow your dog to spend his last days loving you.
The mail was late today and I plumb took umbrage at this disruption of my regular schedule. It usually comes late in the morning, and when it doesn’t, my routine is off-balance the whole rest of the day. I say and think bad words.
I know there was probably a good reason for the delay--the cute little buggy broke down, or someone was off and my mail person had to do a double shift, or the cute buggy was attacked by a vicious pickup, or something. But after my third or fourth trip to an empty mail box, I got aggravated. Put somp’n in the pot, boy.
Frosty will say, “Well, maybe we just didn’t get any mail today.” Hogwash. No catalogs? No great deals from Haband? No chances of becoming a billionaire? Don’t give me that. On the once-in-a-year day when there really is no mail, I’ll scream at Frosty, “Well, subscribe to something!”
As the patriarch of Gold Hill has said many times, and as I have always thought, being a rural mail carrier must be about the perfect job. You get to know the people on your route. They bring you fruit and vegetables and goodies. You see the seasons change, the plowing and planting in the spring, the growing in the summertime, the coming of fall, from the first red sourwood leaves, to the burnished gold of the hickories late in the fall.
Even the winters are beautiful in their own barren way. Drawbacks? Probably, but don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.
Mr. Pennington was the first mail carrier I remember. He drove a Chevy. The first post-war car I saw was Mr Christian’s ‘46 white Ford. What a marvel! We’d watch for him. Living in the country, we got our newspaper through the mail. The Birmingham Post. I’d grab it and spread it out on the floor and start analyzing the baseball box scores — as soon as I’d peeked at Alley Oop and Red Ryder and L’il Abner and Our Boarding House, et al.
Uncle Kelley was a substitute mail carrier, and he worked pretty often. Sometimes he’d let me ride with him. I don’t think they allow that now, but it was great fun. I helped him get out of a swollen creek one time when his Plymouth flooded out right in the middle of it.
A big day on the rural route was the day the catalogs came. The Sears & Roebuck and Montgomery Ward tomes would have the back of Mr. Christian’s car dragging the ground.
People in town had boxes at the post office. All right, I guess. They’d met their friends there every day about the same time, kind of a social gathering. But it was not the same as the anticipation of seeing the mail carrier’s car go by Grandma’s. Then you knew it wouldn’t be long.
I keep hearing this trash about how much trouble the Post Office is in, and about cutting services, and about cutting out Saturday delivery, I’m a relatively newcomer to Auburn, but even I can remember when we had, get this, TWO-A-DAY mail delivery service.
I don’t expect that. But once a day? Certainly. Cut the crap. Give the Post Office whatever it needs, and keep them cards and letters ... and junk mail ... coming.
Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note.
Several weeks ago the result of a survey taken of millions of Americans to ascertain any economic difference in their well-being caused by our recent (or current) recession , were aired over CNN, the local news, and on the Sunday talk shows almost at the same time, leading the listener to believe that this must be huge news.
The result of this big survey indicated that the well-to-do families showed an increase in their financial picture of some 26-28 percent while the poorer, you and me households, suffered a loss of 4 percent. Who did this surprise? My sainted Papa told me many years ago simply that it was a fact of life that “the rich get richer and the poor gets poorer.” So it was no surprise to me.
The official reason for the increase by the more affluent households was that they were more liable to be invested in the stock market.
If you were included in the people who showed a decrease in your net worth, you would be wise to consider how you can not only regain that loss but to make some additional gains. It is always important that you realize just how much of your money goes where.
Study your budget, looking for any place where a reduction can be taken in the outgo allocated to that part of the budget. Obviously, installment loans or certain insurance premiums may not be places that you can change amounts but there are many other opportunities.
Food is one of the categories that lends itself to reduction. It is not wise to force your family into meals that are not nutritious, but with planning and research, a healthy, nutritious meal can usually be served at a reduced price. It is important that family members enjoy their food but less expensive ingredients can usually be substituted without any decrease in taste or quality.
Education is a key factor in reducing your food budget. As you walk down the aisle in the grocery store, take note of the many different brands of the same item. Also take note of the price differential.
It is not wise to make your choice based on price alone, but if your family likes the cheaper brand as much as they like the more expensive one, you are ahead on that particular item. If you are considering changing over to a less expensive brand, read the ingredients listed on both packages before making a change to be sure you would be purchasing a more or less identical product.
If there is any one brand that seems to please your family more than the others, it is probably wise to stick with that brand even if it is more expensive.
If your goal is to compensate for the 4 percent loss due to the downturn, there are many ways other than food where you can recover that percentage.
Overall, what you eat may be the most important item in your budget. Unless you are absolutely forced to do so, do not forego the pleasure of food.
If you are alone, take the challenge yourself. The lone participant has a distinct advantage over a larger family unit as there is nobody else he has to please.
If your family reacts with more enthusiasm to a specific goal, your choices are almost unlimited ranging from planning for a new car or a super vacation or college football games this fall or a Christmas get away. Children (including big children) tend to make more of an effort in saving where a definite goal is in sight.
This is a made to order opportunity to teach children the value of money and that it should be used in a positive way.