Plan the Van, Man

It is not Uncle Blogsy’s purpose to tell you how to behave every moment of your life. It may feel that way from time to time, but I really don’t mean to critique EVERYTHING you do.

(This includes the young lady with pink hair who asked me what she should tell Customs about the five riding crops she plans to take with her to Rio at the end of August. I said “As few details as possible.” She said, “So I shouldn’t tell them anything at all?” I said, “I don’t care what you tell them. Just don’t give ME any more details, please.” But we digress.)

HOWEVER, I do have one gentle hint I would like to pass along to you whilst you are planning your charitable activities over the coming weeks. My gentle hint is: why don’t you try PLANNING your charitable donations over the coming weeks?

Taking one specific recent case as an example: if you are going to stop at the Newberry FIRST, please don’t put the table, the bags with all the tea kettles, and your recyclables on top of the bags of books. Either start at the other end of your list, so you can unload the table first (and so I don’t see what mashed down all those formerly collectible paperbacks) OR put the table in first and stack the books around it.

This is most particularly vital if you arrive when I am not there (by plan or by accident: I know some of you just wait until I’m out of the room, dump your National Geographics, and hightail it out of the parking lot). Many’s the time I have looked out on the dock to find some generous soul has left me ten bags of books and one bag of T-shirts. I don’t know what made my colleagues at the Newberry wince more last year: the bag with the T-shirts or the bag with the shoes. (The biggest wince, since you ask, was that steam curling iron with the hair still stuck to it, but that’s not relevant to this discussion, since it was at the bottom of a box of books. Whole nother blog.)

I know I have already mentioned the donors who backed up the big old U-Haul truck and said, “I’ve got a dozen boxes of books for you. They’re in here somewhere.” We shifted two chairs, a trunk, three garden hoses, and four wedding dresses in the search. A little planning on their part could have averted a great deal of tragedy. (If you are a member of the family and are reading this, PLEASE don’t start calling me again. I honestly don’t know where the bodies are…by this time.)

And if you could sort things out, or even label the bags: “Newberry”, “Salvation”, and so forth, before you get here, it would avert awkwardness of another sort. I recently pulled three bags of books out of a car. Glancing at the other bags, I found them to be full of old clothes, grubby shoes, and a child’s bathtub toys. I said, “The rest of this must be for a rummage sale.”

Her eyes lowered the temperature of an August day by twenty-two degrees. “Those are the things I keep in my trunk,” she informed me, biting off each word as it passed.

I think I’m lucky she didn’t have a riding crop.

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