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October 12, 2015

Spirit in South Carolina

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You see that picture? You might think Joe Dirt came over to my place, slipped off his outfit, and jumped into my bed. You’d be wrong, thank goodness.

In some ways, I’m pretty conservative. I don’t mean politically, I mean in my day to day life. Most people would call me uptight, and they’d have a fair amount of evidence to support that argument. So, no, you won’t find me leaping into bed with Joe Dirt, or dressing up as him or another character for Spirit Week. Spirit Week, you say? What is that? The kind of thing I was way too uptight to enjoy when I was in high school. My son, on the other hand, has no such inhibitions.

It was Spirit Week at his school, and he needed outfits to complete his well-planned looks for Dress Like a Fictitious Character Day, Hippy Day, Geriatric Day, School Spirit Day, and some other day I forget, because I was nervously pacing in the corner, remembering my high school years, and how mortifying things like Spirit Week were for me. But my offspring was pumped. He knew I wasn’t willing to shell out a lot of money for his endeavor, and he needed the goods, so off to Goodwill he went.

For around $12, he came home with everything he needed. His most important look, the one for which he painstakingly flat-ironed his hair, was the aforementioned Joe Dirt. The outfit included a flannel shirt from Goodwill (“EXACTLY what I was looking for, Mom!”); he cut off the sleeves, of course. He bought a baggy pair of jeans, and cut off those, as well. As an aside, he seemed a little too comfortable in those cut-offs, and I’m not quite sure what to do about that. The sandals were for hippy day, along with a pair of cargo shorts that looked a little too familiar; I think they may have belonged to my husband at some point. (We donate to the same Goodwill where we shop.) For geriatric day, he borrowed clothes from that same 47 year old husband (Hahahaaaaaa, Ha, ha…ha.) All in all, he had a great week, and the whole thing cost us $12. Giving your child a reason to bounce out of bed in the morning, excited for school, is so worth $12. If he didn’t have a uniform, I’d let him have his own private Spirit Week throughout the school year.

Speaking of spirit, down here in South Carolina, we’ve had a little trouble in the last week. Maria Fabrizio of Wordless News may have put it the most succinctly on October 5th.

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Wordless News is one of my favorite things on the internet.

The spirit and sense of giving I’ve seen has warmed my heart, even as it’s been broken by seeing what friends have lost. If you want to help, there are plenty of ways to volunteer. Various churches around town, as well as the United Way, YMCA and several schools, are open to volunteers, or accepting donations, or both. Can you foster a pet? Contact Pawmetto Lifeline. If you’d like to donate money to help with clean-up, or to provide for displaced families, there are a few good ways to do that. I recommend these:

Central Carolina Community Foundation

Harvest Hope

United Way

You could also donate to Congaree Riverkeeper. They’re doing a great job of keeping the public up to date on progress at the canal, water advisories, and more over on their Facebook page.

Normally, I encourage everyone to give their clothing and household items to Goodwill. Someone who needs them will be able to buy them without overspending, and Goodwill also helps people find jobs, something that’ll be needed around here for months, if not years, to come. There are a lot of employees who won’t be able to go back to work because the places where they worked were underwater, and may take a while to reopen, or may close permanently. Right now, though, in the Midlands, consider ways your household goods or clothing can help people who have been displaced and are in need or post what clothing you have to offer on Facebook. In a few months, when our displaced families have started to put their lives back together, you should go right back to offering those things to Goodwill. But for now? Reach out to individuals and offer your help.

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