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The Samurai's Heart by Walt Mussell

The Samurai's Heart

by Walt Mussell

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Money Money Money Mo-NEY...MO-ney

With apologies to the O'Jays...

Last week, I went out with my boys for a pre-Halloween walk through the neighborhood. Or at least it felt like it, given that I had the boys get dressed up and walk door-to-door.

My boys were involved in their annual Cub Scout/Boy Scout popcorn fundraiser. Many people are unaware that the male version of the scouting world sells popcorn to raise money for their activities. I figure it’s because of the late start to the American psyche. When I was a scout as a child, the boy scouts didn't sell popcorn. (We tried yard sales among other things.) However, given the iconoclastic nature of the annual spring activities of the green-clad cookie cartel, I figure the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) decided, some time in my adult life, that they should try something like this, too. The BSA at least sells its popcorn in the fall, partly out of courtesy and probably knowing they’d get waxed in the spring.

The weather was misty with occasional sprinkles when we headed out. But, given that there were other activities on other nights, it was the only night they would have all week to do this. Still, they trudged on happily, arguing about who would get to ring the next door and present the pitch. Our neighbors were receptive and wonderful, with a number of them purchasing popcorn. As we have two boys and they’re selling together, we split the sales in half so that each boy reports roughly the same amount to his pack or troop.

Admittedly, though, I was a little apprehensive when the annual popcorn sale was announced. It came at the end of a whole list of fall fundraisers. We had stuff for fall baseball, Christmas items for the band, magazines for the schools, and the list goes on. All good causes. All worthy of support. Sometimes, my wife and I just ask the fundraising organizers a question, “How much do you get per item and how many are you asking each boy to sell?” This works really well with the coupon books, where the boys might be asked to sell only three and the group gets $5 of the $15 purchase. For my wife and I, it’s easier to write a check and just move on to the next one.

There are lots of kids in our neighborhood and they do come to our door, too. Hopefully, we participate as much as we ask our neighbors to do. However, many of the kids are also scouts and a number of them also play fall and spring sports. Those kids are selling the same things our kids are. (Oddly, there seem to be no girl scouts close by. Thankfully, the girl scouts set up stands at grocery stores. My wife can satisfy my craving for shortbread cookies when she goes shopping.)

I am happy that my boys get excited about these sales endeavors. As I mentioned before, I didn't sell popcorn. However, to raise money for various school groups. I sold doughnuts, pizza, magazines, and Christmas ornaments. The doughnuts were always my favorite. A dozen cost only $2 back then. The school group got $1 from the sale of each box. The Krispy Kreme truck would arrive early in the morning and you could smell the sugar all over the school. Of course, my parents always bought a box for our house. If my parents were lucky, I made it home with half a dozen at the end of the day.

A couple of days ago, I noticed a note posted on the fridge. It detailed an upcoming bake sale at my older son’s school, listing the prices of cakes, pies, etc.

“Honey, the school’s having a bake sale?” I asked my wife. “What are they raising funds for?”

“It’s just his math homework project. He has to plan a fundraiser and figure out the best way to raise $150.”

I was glad of that. I wasn’t ready for a bake sale. However, I was gratified to know the school was teaching my older son practical skills…for the day he becomes a parent.

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