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When we come up a little short
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Many groups and individuals find themselves in the same situation as United Way Board Member Taylor Wallace at the recent Recognition Luncheon, “coming up a little short of the goal.” 


In the present economic climate, however, the United Way Board was grateful to have reached a large percentage of the 2009 goal. And the recipients of United Way funds will appreciate those who did give.


The question remains: what can we do when we face such shortages?


In some instances, those who “have” dig a little deeper to cover the “have-nots,” but many are reluctant to do that, fearing their own sufficiency also being threatened. 


Sometimes we rearrange our priorities, looking at what is really needed rather than what is just desired. In my younger days, we “added a little water to the soup.” In other words, we learned to stretch what we had. And we learn to substitute: If I can’t donate money, perhaps I can give time and/or extra effort.


Truthfully, it isn’t only monetary situations in which one may come up short. Have you sometimes found yourself lacking in patience? In understanding? In friendliness? In sharing abilities? In commitment?  Brought face to face with such questions, I must admit guilt, and I realize that there are often occasions when I can remedy the “shortness.”  A change in attitude can usually result in a change in actions.


That last statement can apply in different situations. Example:  A couple of Woman’s Club friends who had been helping with roadside clean-up in their “adopted section” of a county road were lamenting the attitude of people who carelessly toss their litter from car windows. Why do they do that? They are certainly coming up short in thoughtfulness.


It is obviously a rather widespread attitude; I can’t believe only a few people are responsible for all the cups, bottles, napkins, papers, etc., that line every roadway. But I have never met anyone who openly declared, “Oh, I do that all the time. I don’t have anywhere else to get rid of such stuff, especially if I am on the road.” Have you met them? Then what gremlins are responsible?


One of these ladies said, jokingly, that she would appreciate the litterbugs just being thoughtful enough not to throw their trash into bushes and brambles and not to tear the paper into pieces. So make a note, you who use the roadside as your garbage can: bundle up your junk before you throw it out so it’s easier for the volunteers to pick it up.


Or, better still, change your “let somebody else do it” attitude and take your trash to a real garbage can.


Helen Taylor’s column runs periodically in the Dawson Community News.