Who's using the postal service: A tally
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Mar 07, 2013 | 824 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With the U.S. Postal Service in bad financial straits, I’ve been keeping tabs on my incoming mail so as to determine just who is using stamps these days.

Not choosing to receive or pay bills online (surprise), our household received 24 mailed statements in the first two months of 2013. We received four birthday cards — both Housemate and I have birthdays in February — plus a packet of information from a cousin. That was it for first-class mail.

I didn’t count the advertising junk, including a stack of slick catalogs that arrive almost daily, but I did keep track of the requests for financial contributions from various charities and nonprofits.

The total for money requests for the months of January and February is astounding. No fewer than 27 solicitation pieces arrived in the mail — some with gifts enclosed.

Here’s the list:

American Cancer Society (four mailings), National Foundation for Cancer Research (three, all with mailing labels enclosed), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (two), Alzheimer’s Association (two), American Heart Association (two, with labels), American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Park Foundation (with a map as a “gift”), National MS Society (two), March of Dimes (with a dime enclosed), ACLU.

Also Nature Conservatory, Arthritis Foundation, AARP Foundation (two), Alzheimer’s Disease Research (two, one with a nickel enclosed, the other with mailing labels), Paralyzed Veterans of American (with 5 cents) and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

I’ve long supported cancer research, but receiving nine requests for contributions from three different cancer nonprofits in a period of only two months has me overwhelmed.

I also support Alzheimer’s research but don’t choose to donate to two separate organizations, don’t have a need for their mailing labels and don’t want a small portion of my contribution used for enclosing a nickel as enticement for opening the envelope.

So with the count standing at 51 (24 plus 27) wanting money vs. five who didn’t, it’s easy to see who’s using the Postal Service.

I’ll be keeping score on the nonprofits for the remainder of the year and will keep you updated.

That’s a threat.

Newman turns 125

Our good neighbors to the south are this year observing the 125th birthday of the founding of their fair city in 1888.

Newman predated Patterson by 21 years and has planned several activities to note its quasquicentennial . One is a Founders Day weekend on April 26 to 28, and, of course, another is the Fall Festival celebration over Labor Day weekend.

Now that I’ve learned how to spell “quasquicentennial,” I can’t wait for ours in 2034.

Our ‘Apricot Lady’

When Joyce Barfuss moved from Patterson to Castro Valley in 1996, she left a void.

She had been a major promoter of this community for a number of years, earning the nickname “Apricot Lady” for her energetic efforts at promoting our favorite crop.

Her chocolate-dipped ’cots were enjoyed by many far and wide, including this scribe, who relished their taste as recently as this past holiday season.

Joyce always amazed me with her enthusiasm. She was involved in a variety of activities, from church to the senior citizen program, the food pantry, California Women for Agriculture and, of course, the chamber of commerce, of which she served as secretary the year I was president. I found that I had only to suggest an idea and soon she had a plan for carrying out the project.

Her death last week brings sadness to her many Patterson friends. We need more spirits like Joyce.

Class come to order

Those readers who use Fast Talk to enhance their education are this week given a true-or-false test. Answers are at the end of this column.

• Toilets injure tens of thousands of Americans each year.

• Two animals can see behind themselves without turning their heads — the rabbit and the parrot.

• The average computer user blinks seven times a minute — or less.

• Sneezing can temporarily change the rhythm of your heartbeat

• Dog bites send 40 people to the hospital every minute.

For the sports fan

The procedure of the 49ers trading quarterback Alex Smith has been nothing but a class act by all parties concerned.

Smith reportedly is heading to the Chiefs in a deal worked out with the San Francisco brass. He’s obviously too good a quarterback to end up sitting on the bench as a backup, let alone an unreasonable expense for the Niners.

There could have been rumbling and grumbling the past couple of months by both sides, but there wasn’t.

Let’s hope Alex leads his new team to a future Super Bowl — against the 49ers, of course.

By the way, you probably noticed that Marist upended Siena 76-74 last week in men’s basketball. Or maybe you didn’t.

And finally …

There’s the wife who asked her husband, “Do you want dinner?”

His reply: “What are my choices?”

Her answer: “Yes or no.”

Test answers — all true. Limit those sneezes.

• Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at ronkay@gvni.com.

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