The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
Thursday December 14, 2017
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Mikie Baker

Dearly Departed Husband was a bit of a snob. He didn’t think it was right to grow your own vegetables because that’s what people did if they were poor. He believed that nothing was really free – strings were always attached. And he continuously chided, “You get what you pay for.” I guess that’s why all his suits were custom made.
Last week, I represented the company that I work with at a local Chamber of Commerce mixer. On a skirted table, I displayed our brochures and a variety of giveaways. It was a mixer focusing on area nonprofits and their services. It’s hard to show an audio service such a radio, so we give away decals and bumper stickers as reminders of our number on the dial.
The Chamber also urged each of us to bring a nice giveaway of some sort for their door prize drawings. Mostly every one of the nonprofits represented at this mixer complied as we all figured it was just one more way of getting some “free” advertising. The food was also “free” as were the beer and wine. I guess that’s why more than 200 people showed up.
So, what is it about free? At my age, I have learned that nothing is for free. Love’s not free – you have to buy Valentines presents and cards to tell someone how much you love them. Food samples in the grocery store aren’t free, because you’re very likely to grab the product and throw it in your cart. Even the Cloud isn’t free – if you need to upgrade to a larger Cloud because you’ve amassed so many free apps, it’ll cost you.
Believe me. You’re hooked on free as well. When I Googled the word “free” these things came up: free samples, ringtones, games, movies, shipping, underwear, magazines, free things to do and one that really caught my eye – free stuff on Amazon. I clicked on that. After all, I get free shipping.
The very first entry was worth it. It was for a “Free BOHG (I have no clue) Jewelry Woman’s 925 Sterling Silver Plated Cubic Zirconia CZ Princess Crown Tiara Wedding Band. Actually it was 98 cents, but I figure the description was worth the money. At least for a writer it is. Oh, and it was ugly.
I pressed on down the list of “free” Amazon stuff and found something that caught my eye. Do you remember the Wrigley’s Gum box that was a fake so when your friend offered you a piece of gum, you’d try to grab it and instead it would shock you? Evidently that gag’s so old, now you can get your very own shocking gum box for “free” from Amazon. That’s great – now I can be an immature brat again in my old age.
Another listing was a bit curious – the photo looked like a large mound of that green stuff that’s illegal in most states, but the caption read: “Mugwort. Cut 1 oz.” I wonder how much they get for Eye of Newt?
I pondered where our love of “free” came from as children – we had to pay for our lunches, we had to actually compete to win our trophies and study hard to earn our grades. The only thing I can think of that was truly free was probably recess – it was our free time to do with as we wished.
So I urge you to enjoy each and every moment of your free time. Sure, you’ll have nothing to show for it but something else that money can’t buy – a smile on your face.