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Reading Aloud

Good deeds, etc.

I have decided to give up my good deeds. Shopping for people. Taking them to hospital. Visiting them. Whiling time away for them. Doing jobs for them.

I expect my reputation will change now. “Public benefactress” somebody called me. “We love you for being so kind to others” somebody else said and kissed me. One person actually gave me flowers for having helped a sick lady. And a lot more flattering things. People looked at me benevolently. “What would the village do without you?” “Don’t wear yourself out.” “Don’t do too much.”

People are kind and caring. It is true, they don’t like to commit themselves. Words don’t cost much.

I think I shall give them a chance to acquire a good reputation, too. I shall call on them to actually do something. Nobody seems to have had that idea so far. I shall let them do my jobs, so that I can get on with more important things. Chasing around on other people’s behalf is time-consuming and tiring. Why don’t we take it in turns.
Anybody can do that.

I approached New Friend first of all. I asked him to shop for Mr & Mrs Orms once a week. It wouldn’t take more than an hour altogether. I gave him a few days to think it over. Then I rang him up for his answer. It was “yes, but…” He is away quite a lot, he said, and it would be good to share the job with somebody. I suggested to approach a certain benevolent organization who might be helpful. He left it with me and we rang off. A few minutes later he rang back. I knew it was him before answering the telephone. He was obviously feeling bad about not having given a more positive answer. He suggested that he could ring the Vicar and leave the whole problem with him. Surely it was a vicar’s job to attend to matters of this kind. I said the Vicar was a busy man. Why not try and find somebody ourselves. Not the Vicar then, he said, the Vicar’s wife – she seemed a nice enough person. I told him that some people considered her a “dangerous woman”. “Oh, I like dangerous women,” he said. “Not the kind of danger you might like,” I answered, “gossip and so on…”Oh dear,” he said, “perhaps I’d better keep away from her.” My thoughts had wandered from the Vicar to the Church and to the Churchwarden. Why not ask the Churchwarden? New Friend said, why not, “he’s quite a jolly fellow, isn’t he?” New Friend’s wife had known him, not he, New Friend. He wouldn’t be one to contact the Churchwarden about this shopping business. However, he knew one Miss Soandso, a retired teacher with a car. Maybe that she…
New Friend hesitated. I said: “There you are. It’s an unpleasant job asking people to help. We don’t like making a nuisance of ourselves.” New .Friend answered “I leave it with you. Let me know how you’re getting on. By the way – would you love me for helping others?” I had told him what sort of comment I had received concerning my activities…

I imagine people will change their minds when I stop doing good deeds…

Anyway, I have approached the above mentioned charitable organization, the professional people, who received me in a warm and non-committal way and am now waiting for them to let me know whether they can do something for me.
My husband was pleased to hear that I was giving up chasing around for other people. What would I do with the time and energy saved? He turned to the children expectantly. We were having our evening meal, the usual simple meal. I thought I’d filled them all up, when the question came “What’s for pudding?” I didn’t have one.
Just like “good deeds”, I told them. My husband sighed, saying he didn’t suppose there were more puddings for them now that I had more time…