One morning in June, the Daughter needed $50 to go on a field trip to New York City. The earlier she turned it in, the more likely she could go. Oh, and it had to be in cash.

I almost never have such bills on me. Nor did my wife, but she DID have some envelopes with cash for her hairdresser, and for the groceries, that she could borrow from.

She generally pays for the groceries with cash because writing a check is too expensive, and it surely is. I pay with my credit card – where IS my checkbook? – because I like getting my rewards dollars and hate carrying a lot of cash.

When we first started going out, she had several envelopes filled with bills of various denominations, for every expenditure in her life at the time. I found this most unusual.

She also never uses an ATM card, which I still don’t quite get. If I had needed to get money for the Daughter that morning, I would have just walked over to my bank branch, a block and a half away, and just taken out three $20s.

I should note that her cash economy isn’t as rare as most of us would think. According to Pymnts, “an estimated 24 percent of U.S. citizens make all their purchases using cash.” Moreover, “in the U.S., cash usage grew by 4.7 percent per year between 2000 and 2015.”

When she does pay with a credit card, she often goes to the store to pay off the balance, usually in cash. I used to do that at Sears when I shopped there in the 1980s and 1990s, but I forgot that it was still an option.

As Dustbury pointed out, when the electronic systems go kablooey, operating with cash is a great way to go.

This is why we have three checking accounts, hers, mine, and ours, which I almost never use. It insures domestic tranquility.

Did I mention it’s her natal day? Maybe I’ll give her a couple $20s, a $10, and… some miscellaneous other bills.

When I was listening to Willie Nelson recently, in honor of his 85th birthday, I came across his version of A Satisfied Mind, from his 2010 album Country Music. I knew I owned a much earlier iteration, but I could not remember by whom.

Scanning the Wikipedia list of covers, I wondered if the version of the Joe “Red” Hayes/Jack Rhodes song had been performed by Porter Wagoner or
Cowboy Copas. I didn’t REALLY think it was Wagoner, but I recalled Copas appeared on this album 50 Stars! 50 Hits! “on two great country albums,” the TV ad blared. Copas and the compilation were both on Starday Records.

I owned this 1966 album – well, technically OWN, but it’s difficult to get to – because my grandfather, McKinley Green, brought home a copy. He was given it by the TV/radio station he worked for, WNBF in Binghamton, NY, after the promotional ad period ended.

As it turns out, it was Pete Drake and his talking steel guitar – you MUST check out the video of Forever – who performed A Satisfied Mind. Being a guy who read liner notes of LPs, I recall that Drake contributed to early solo albums by former Beatles, All Things Must Pass (George) and Beaucoups Of Blues (Ringo).

Listen to A Satisfied Mind:
Porter Wagoner (live, 1967 – his 1955 recording hit #1 country)
Red Foley and Betty Foley (#3 country in 1955)
Jean Shepard (#4 country in 1955)

Pete Drake (1965)
Joan Baez (1965)
Bobby Hebb (#39 pop and #40 R&B in 1966, from the Sunny album)
Glen Campbell (live c 1971, in 4/4!, originally recorded in 1966)

Jeff Buckley (from the 1998 album Sketches for My Sweetheart The Drunk)
Johnny Cash (2004, released posthumously)
Blind Boys Of Alabama with Ben Harper (live at the Apollo Theater, Harlem, New York recorded October 12, 2004)
Willie Nelson (2010)
Robert Plant & The Band Of Joy (Live 2011)

Lyrics:
How many times have you heard someone say,
“If I had his money, I could do things my way?”
Little they know that it’s so hard to find
One rich man in ten with a satisfied mind.

One of the things I hate about spring is the way that the lawn goes from “It might as well be winter” to tropical rainforest practically overnight. As I’ve no doubt noted, I would not care if it were never cut, but I know my wife would object.

My father-in-law gave us an electrical lawnmower a couple years ago. I resisted it the first season for ecological reasons. I had a reel mower, which is a REAL mower, but I have succumbed, mostly because the grass had suddenly gotten is too long for the reel mower.

The electric mower, moreover, has adjustable heights from one to five. Centimeters above the ground, I guess? The first weekend, I set it at 5, for it would have surely clogged the machine at a lower setting. (Did I ever mention that I wrecked a new gas mower in its second use? And returned it for a full refund.)

The second time, I set it at 4 and was only about 10% done when the Daughter decided that SHE wanted to operate the mower. Far be it for me to reject the assistance. I dealt with branches that had fallen over the winter that needed tending. Unfortunately, the mower batteries died with maybe 5% of the job.

She made it clear that she’s only mowing the lawn because she WANTS to do so. If I were to make it a regular chore, she’d fight it. Now, she didn’t do it EXACTLY as I would have done, but I’m not complaining.

Not incidentally, she is quite strong. I flipped over the picnic table that we had built a few years back, to mow the part of the lawn that had been underneath. But I was having trouble making it upright when I was done because the table was too close to the fence and I couldn’t get leverage. But the teenager didn’t need help to flip it back.

I’d rather be blogging. As someone probably didn’t say, mowing the lawn is to spoil an otherwise enjoyable walk.

Twice on the same day this month, I got messages on the answering machine from 240-970-7264. The details were ominous, but the technology was laughable.

A mechanical voice describes a “criminal investigation from I.R.S… There is a fraud which you are hiding from federal government.” Note the lack of the article “the”, suggesting the person recording is NOT a native American English speaker.

I Googled the number and came across Report the Call attached to that number. One person before me, and at least one subsequently, experienced similar annoyance.

One of them noted, “The robot stated that the IRS had ‘fraud’ investigation underway and I should phone the number immediately.” That’s correct in my case as well. Area code 240 is in Maryland, in suburban DC, BTW.

It seems incredible that anyone would fall for such an obvious hoax, but the IRS indicates that this type of fraud is ongoing, some of it far more threatening than these robocalls.

“Note that the IRS does not:
“Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
“Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.
“Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.”

I know some people have been known to call back the number to waste their time, but I’m not returning a call to 240-970-7264 and wasting mine. Now, if YOU want to call, knock yourselves out!

Did you ever have a simple act of kindness give you a lesson?

I’m on a Capital District Transportation Authority local transit bus one evening, going part of the way home up the hill before riding my bike the rest of the way. I had used my Navigator card, which is actually half fare because I’m… older.

A young woman got on the bus, but her Navigator card had insufficient funds. (The voice on the machine sounds REALLY loud to me, possibly, I posit, for maximum embarrassment.)

I had, until that day, another, full-price, card which I kept in case my wife and/or daughter are riding on the bus with me. Unfortunately the Daughter misplaced her school ID during the last week of school, which she also used to pay the CDTA fare; talk about your short-timer’s syndrome.

Ruffling through my wallet, I found a THIRD card. Where did THAT come from? Maybe I got it for free at the 2017 Tulip Festival, when they were first promoting the service. I offered the card to the young woman, with a caveat that I didn’t know if it worked at all.

It did. Hey, I’ve been there, when I’m a little short on cash. A couple blocks later, she came up to me and offered me about 45 cents, as she noted, “This is what I found in my purse.”

Once upon a time, I might have waved off her offer. This time I took it, not because I needed the change, but because I wanted to honor her feelings. She wanted to do that small thing, and it would have been ungracious to reject it.

I think we do that a lot, keep people from maintaining their sense of dignity when they’re on the receiving end of a little kindness, a modicum of charity, under the thought, “They need it more than I.” But when they want to pay it back, or pay it forward, it’s important to let them.

Trust me on this; I’ve been there.

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