Welcome, once again, to that least-loved and much-maligned day of the week … Monday. As always, I shall take a brief break from the twisted, tangled traumas that are the usual subject matter of this blog and try to bring a small speckled spot of sunshine into our lives with some tales of goodwill, humour and happiness with which to begin the week.
Hats off and thumbs up to Fayetteville, Arkansas! Fayetteville’s only real claim to fame, such as it were, is the University of Arkansas and the fact that the city hosts the Wal-Mart Shareholders Meetings each year. However, there is something special about this town of 73,580. Little Free Pantry, a free-standing enclosure filled with non-perishable foods, toiletries, and other household items that are free to take, is the brainchild of one Fayetteville resident Jessica McClard. Fayetteville already had Little Free Libraries, small kiosks filled with books that are free to take and enjoy, so as Ms. McClard was jogging through her neighborhood one day, she wondered if the same thing would work with food. She thought, “Books nourish. Food nourishes.” Why not?
The pantries are generally filled with canned proteins and vegetables, peanut butter and bread, crackers, snacks, along with household items like toilet paper, and diapers. McClard said when she announced the first Little Free Pantry, there were quite a few naysayers in the comments of the early stories about her idea in the local media. Concerns about the kiosks being vandalized or pantries being abused by those who utilize them, McClard said, have proved to be unfounded so far. This gives me hope for the survival of mankind, for the future of humanitarianism. Sure, there are those who will eventually abuse a privilege, but there are so many more who will find ways to give more than they take.
The idea caught on, and there are now multiple Little Free Pantries in and around Fayetteville. Ms. McClard said she’s not sure who all the people are who help stock her pantries, though she has some ideas. Church members, friends, and folks from the neighborhood are helping out, along with local Girl Scout troupes, high school-aged kids, and of course, plenty of caring strangers. Isn’t this what is meant by the “spirit of community”? For more information, check The Little Free Pantry Facebook page. And once again, hats off to Jessica McClard and the rest of Fayetteville, Arkansas for your contribution to the human race!
And then there is Sweden, best known for Ikea, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, ABBA, and Absolut Vodka. But this week, Sweden made news with the following headline:
“Swedish government wants to find out if Swedes are having less sex”
I happened to be eating a peanut when I saw the headline … I think some part of the peanut remains stuck in my trachea a day later!
“The Swedish government is launching a major study of the sex lives of its citizens after reports that lovemaking is on the wane.
It has been 20 years since the last in-depth study of the sex habits of the Scandinavian country, so the public health minister, Gabriel Wikström, says it is high time for another survey.” (Associated Press in Stockholm, 29 July 2016)
As a citizen of the U.S., where such matters are considered private (though you might not know it if you follow Facebook), I was somewhat taken aback by this, to say the least. Mr. Wikström indicates that the reason it is important for the government to have this information is in order to “guide policies on sexual and reproductive health.” Well then, okay … I can just picture the questionnaire now. No, I am not going to give you a sample … use your own imaginations!
And finally, what would Filosofa’s Good News Monday be without at least one happy-sappy animal story? River is a nearly blind 6-year-old Jack Russell terrier rescued last month and taken to a temporary home near Philadelphia and run by the Pennsylvania SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Daisy, a 4-year-old collie, was brought to the shelter at the same time. Daisy, you see, is River’s very own seeing-eye dog. Gillian Kocher, the Public Relations Director for the Pennsylvania SPCA, says “We often times have bonded animals come from a home who need to stay together, but thus far, I have not seen any like River and Daisy. While River does have some vision, it is very impaired, and Daisy acts as her guide. Whenever they are in the yards, they are very close to each other, which River often following behind.” Now the two dogs are looking for a home they can share together — and get plenty of attention from a human. I certainly hope they find one!
Well, enough lollygagging about here … let us get on with this business of starting a brand new week, facing new challenges, and all that. My goal this week is to try to bring some greater level of efficiency into my daily routine so that I can get the upstairs hallway cleaned and organized (I have only put this off for six months now, and while it’s a long story, my laziness is the reason that we have 5 rolls of parchment paper and no floor cleaner!) Here is wishing all my readers a wonderful First Week of August!