Thursday, June 18, 2009

As seen on Oprah

I awoke from my usual afternoon nap on the couch today (ain't summer great?) in time to catch some of today's Oprah show. Now I know a lot of stuff on there is forgettable, but there was merit to the presentation today. It was a close look at what this economic situation is doing to middle-class families in these tough times.

I did not know that there are tent "cities" popping up outside some of our larger urban areas. The denizens of these tents aren't the typical homeless...they are folks who used to have good jobs and good benefits. There were college degrees on their walls. Now, they are jobless and homeless and the roof over their heads is made of canvas.

Also profiled was a company that goes to clean out houses that have been foreclosed on and vacated by the people who lived there. Many of these folks had literally left everything behind...big-screens, furniture, family pictures, birth certificates, etc. And the reason for that apparently is that when they left, they didn't know where they were going and didn't have the means to move these items anyway. And the mind-boggling part was where this company took all this stuff - to the landfill. All of the usual charitable collection places had taken all they could take.

Finally, Oprah focused on another economy-driven phenomenon: strangers moving in with strangers. A couple who is out of work but has a big house opens it up to a lady and her teenage daughter who need a place to stay and can pay some rent. In this particular situation, everyone was extremely happy with the arrangement, so much so that the homeowners are looking to rent out more of their rooms.

Carole and I immediately began talking about how blessed we are to be in good shape right now. And I am feeling a strong urge to do two things; give more to those in need, and save instead of spend. Not surprisingly, these are two concepts that my wonderful, sainted parents practiced non-stop. Since both of them had lived through the Depression, there was absolutely no urge toward materialism in either of them. As I've mentioned before, when we cleaned out Mom's house, I found that she had still been using cooking utensils that I remember as being in bad shape in the '50's!

So anyway, thanks Oprah for enlightening us today. Sure beats having some guy tell me how to do window treatments.

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