Tag Archives: gratitude

The Gift Card.



Last week, I thought I’d found it: the perfect Xmas gift.

In fact, it seemed perfect for BOTH of my oldest, and dearest, friends.

Free food. Who could possibly reject free food – for the whole family, for a solid week, brought to their doorstep, complete with all supplemental ingredients and specific instructions as to how to prepare each meal for a truly gourmet dinner? And, how truly practical, as well; who enjoyed taking time to grocery shop during the holidays?

Yet, there it was: Hello, Fresh! the company – and GROUPON, the third party offering a discount that just could not be ignored.

Eagerly, I clicked on the appropriate online link, and ordered the products as Gifts. Filled out the forms, paid with PayPal, and off they went. So enthused was I a big, pink Facebook post followed; I’d found t.h.e. perfect Christmas present.

At first Lisa, my old college housemate, was ecstatic. She’d just sold their house in NY, was closing on the new one in the LA burbs in just days and starting a new job within the week…..this, she said, was a “godsend.”

Well, God’s been busy. It’s the holiday season, after all and, in these times, He’s had to field all manner of religious holy weeks and festivals and fasts and, well, who would want that job?

PROBLEM #1: How would this [free food] be shipped to either of my friends (in California), if their addresses had not been filed by GROUPON?


The Voucher.

There was a Voucher, a Gift Card of sorts, which had to be printed by the Gift recipient who, in turn, needed to sign on to the site to select the meals. I quickly emailed my friend, with the heads up.

In between viewing job prep clearance videos and appointments for the requisite physical, she’d managed to open the email and become thoroughly confused. Perhaps she’d wait until her husband came home from his job as cartoon editor at Warner Bros. He’d make heads and/or tails of why she couldn’t seem to.

PROBLEM #2: And, this was huge. Access to the menu selection site. GROUPON, she said, was actually asking the gift recipient for credit card info, claiming some “ongoing subscription” requirement.

WHAT??! Did I do this to my two, best friends?!

Over on the other side of the county Alex, whom I’d called Sandy since first grade, was beyond any gratitude; she was incensed.

To her, self-employed business owner for decades, the whole thing felt so impersonal, and annoying, and no way was she entering any credit card info in order to receive food or anything else alleged to be a “gift.”

Several texts and emails later, far longer than it would have taken to coast over to the nearby department store for its weekly Tuesday Over 55 sale, true story: Hello, Fresh!, greedy as they came, in cahoots with GROUPON, the latter offering a discount to the giver, was roping the gift recipient into some ongoing subscription contingency; in short, no Hello, Fresh! meals delivered unless membership was first established which, of course, everybody knows, could be Cancelled At Any Time By Calling The Number On The WHAT??

My wallet was already filled with Gift Cards. There were 5 bucks left on the Bed, Bath & Beyond; at least one bookstore; and, now defunct, a local Mall card so old so as to carry an actual expiration date – meaning, in spite of the money put down by my former students’ parents, after a certain date that chunk of cash was doomed to the ether, or Bank of America, whichever held out solvency longest.

I’ll give you Cancel At Any Time.

I’ve got your number.

Commercial America: you want attention?

I’ll send you a card.






© 12/13/17  Ruth Ann Scanzillo    All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Be a good person; it’s free.









“The Rifleman.”


[ *Warning: Ghost writers prohibited from this property.]


The Rifleman is playing re-runs on AMC.

As a young girl, I refused to miss a single episode of this black and white.

We had no television in our house, but my aunt Dora Mae had a small one that she’d acquired through a rental during the moon landing. Mum worked in the machine shop on Wednesdays, so I would milk-flavored tomato soup lunch over Art Fleming’s “Jeopardy” at my aunt’s linen-clothed diningroom table, right across from the silver tea set sitting on the server, the tv nesting in the corner by the window. After school, she’d let me return, to watch my Rifleman while she prepared supper.

The duality in my nature manifest early on. I loved Chuck Connors inner strength, steely jaw, and protective care over his adopted son, played by Johnny Crawford. Because, you see, I also adored that boy. Reaching puberty, did I not deface the corral style cedar fence of a nearby neighbor with indelible scratches: “[ my name ] + Johnny Crawford”. Were any such pre-teen to destroy my own property like this today, I’d have likely already taken an entire family to court.

Funny, how our perceptions change over time, informed by experience. The Rifleman, adopting this sweet little Mexican. Now, the metamessage suggests far more than just affection for a child. Perhaps this boy was the strapping rancher’s own, the mother no longer able or even alive to care for him?

What strikes me most is the suggestion of my own father’s stories of his childhood. Also a slight, wiry, brown skinned boy, he had neither father nor mother to speak of, being tossed from foster care to the Massachusetts orphan’s home. How he would have welcomed a  single parent “Paw” like Chuck Connors, equally as proud and mutually respectful.

Johnny Crawford grew beyond the old western series, to star in an evangelical film sponsored by the Billy Graham Crusade. I was over the moon that my childhood crush had “found Christ”, and followed a path that would have forgiven me even the devotion of my neighborhood vandalism.

Am enjoying these memories, on a Saturday morning that promises an end to yet another heavy winter. They layer like pastry, one fine strata at a time, sending my thoughts across the vista of a past sown with the richest seeds of gratitude.






© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  2/20/16    All rights those of the author, speaking from her own experience. Thank you for your respect.


Well, Gratitude.

Dear Readers, and Fellow Bloggers,

Please, know that I am so grateful for your private readings, and your Comments, and your Likes. Commenting with several of you has really made our relationships feel like friendships, of a sort; I imagine meeting up with all of you, someplace centrally located, you know, like…. um, well… I guess…Turkey.

But, the Likes are the subject of this post.

It isn’t always easy to express thanks for Liked posts, as some blog sites are designed in ways which make access less convenient. But, I really am glad whenever anybody clicks one, and want you all to know this.  Not as frequent a reader as other bloggers, I do, nevertheless, realize when I do read how much poetic pith is really out there to be enjoyed.  Thank you for following my work, and caring to make your efforts known to me.

Enjoy your own writing. Be encouraged whenever you know that you have said something meaningful, or important; this is, after all, the real reason we do this, isn’t it?


Ruth Ann