My Letter of Explanation

I do know it has been awhile since I’ve put anything out for public consumption, but to be honest with you, I’ve been busier than a one-legged man in a group kick fight.

See, 6 days a week for the past 6 weeks or so, I’ve been a Bell Ringer for The Salvation Army. Now, for those who have no idea what a “Bell Ringer” is, allow me to explain. A Bell Ringer is the man or woman you see standing outside of most stores next to a metal frame and red bucket, usually in the freezing cold, unless you are in Southern California, telling people either Happy Thanksgiving or Merry Christmas as you, the general public, either enter or exit your store of choice.

There are two questions that I am usually asked as I stand there on duty and do my best to be cheerful. One: Do you ring the bell all of the time? To which I answer No. In fact, Ringing the bell all of the time can be hazardous to your health for a variety of reasons. Reasons such as:

  • Getting a headache from hearing the sound of the bell all of the time
  • Getting Carpel Tunnel Syndrome from ringing the aforementioned bell all of the time.
  • Getting beat to death by the people who work inside the store because they are tired of hearing that blasted bell all of the time.
  • Getting repeatedly bit by Pavlov’s Dog. (For further explanation, look up it up on Google).

The other questions I was repeatedly asked was “Don’t they let you sit down?” To which the correct answer is also “No”. From my understanding of this situation is that they, The Salvation Army, have done a study and found out that the public has a tendency to contribute more often when they are giving funds to people who are standing vs. those who are sitting. So, they want us to stand at all time while we are on duty. Now, of course, there are those who are physically unable to stand due to illness or injury, but for those who are unable to stand for long periods of time, they too are allowed to sit down, as long as they bring in a note from their doctor that explains the reason why they are not allowed to stand in the first place.

Now standing in pretty much in one spot all day can take a lot out of you. Especially if you are in a place where this is no shade when the sun is out or cover when it starts to rain. So, I got smart and started bringing an umbrella and then using zip ties to lash it to the metal frame that the bucket was attached to. Because as we all know, at least those of us who are “hair challenged” that if you get too much sun on your “chrome dome” that your head will get bright red and you end up looking like an inverted thermometer.

But the sun wasn’t my only natural foe as I was ringing bells for this wonderful organization, it was also rain. Again, for those who have no cushion on the tops of our bodies, rain hurts when it falls from the sky and hits our unprotected blunt skulls. Rain isn’t the only thing that I have to protect my bare head from. There is sleet, snow (just not where I live) not to mention sadistic pigeons with kidney and bladder control problems.

Yes, I stood out there in rain and sun for hours upon hours a day 6 days a week. So, what did I do on the 7th day? I went to church then spend the majority of the day doing what God did on the 7th day: He rested. But as Mrs. Nickels is fond of saying “My Husband has a tendency of taking things a little too far.” What she is delicately trying to say is that while God rested on the 7th day, I slept, napped, fell into a temporary coma, became lacking of consciousness, snoozed and, according to Mrs. Nickels, snored to High Heaven. So now you know why I hadn’t put anything out for awhile. I was exhausted!

Don’t get me wrong. It was an experience that I am willing to do again. In fact, this year marked my 4th season ringing bells for this organization. They do such good work and make every dollar stretch to the point it’s looking pretty anorexic paying for the myriad of programs they have to help people who are down on their luck and need help. This outstanding organization has been around since 1865 and every year I hear stories from all types of people just how The Salvation Army came to meet their need when they had nothing left or some catastrophe had hit their lives.

But what to got me were the stories of thanks from men and women who told me that The Salvation Army did for them when they were in the military or even during the depression. In fact, I personally heard a testimonial from the daughter of a soldier from World War I who, up to the day he died as an old man, couldn’t say enough nice things about this fine organization. You name a war or disaster, and I heard a story from someone who has lived through it and got better thanks to the caring people of The Salvation Army.

So now you know why I haven’t put anything out. Yeah, I’ve been too tired to put anything together, but to be honest with you, as much as I love to write and make people laugh with this pithy little blog and other written ventures, nothing is as enjoyable to me as seeing the faces of gratitude of those who have gone through some sort of Hell in their lives and have come out the other end stronger, happy and alive because of the monies raised by Bell Ringers who take time out of their own busy schedules to give something back for the blessings we have in our lives.

Thanks for your patience and understanding my friends, I appreciate it.

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