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My turn: Clothespins from an angel

Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2008

G iven the recent situation of the "power crisis" in Juneau I thought I would share a positive story.

I was contacted two weeks ago by a friend who was frustrated because she could not find clothespins anywhere in town.

She was hoping to line-dry clothes in her garage to save electricity. Like many families living on a budget and forced to cut personal power use in order to keep their families fed and bills paid, she struggled with the "how." How to cut the bill if it increases 447 percent, how to pay for the inflated gas prices, how to keep food on the table when we now have a "rice shortage." How? What is rumor in Juneau and what is true?

I told her I would contact my family in Indiana and see if they could send up some clothespins. As soon as our conversation ended that Friday afternoon, I sent an e-mail asking family to send some clothespins. My father-in-law, Monty Mountcastle, or Poppy as I call him, quickly responded after looking at the Juneau Empire link I sent him. Reading the plights of the citizens of Juneau, he asked "how many do you need?"

I told him I'm not sure, but I want to help. I explained I really feel badly for young families with little children and the elderly.

On Saturday morning Poppy cleaned out several dime stores in our local community which is totally "Small Town America" and told his friends about Juneau. By noon 2,000 clothespins were on the way to Juneau. Another 1,500 arrived a week later. One small act of kindness made a huge impact to those in need. That's humanity.

As my dear Poppy lies in the hospital today waiting open-heart surgery scheduled tomorrow in Indianapolis, I wanted cheer him up. I shared with him a story of a person his clothespins helped.

For two weeks I have been passing out clothespins to people who need them and have told my friends to let me know if they know anyone who needs clothespins. One of my friends was at work in a local retail store when an elderly gentleman came in requesting clothespins. She explained that the store did not have any however; she has a friend who received several clothespins from Indiana and she would pass on his name and number.

I contacted him to let him know I would drop some by their home. His wife said she would be happy to help me if I needed anything. I left some extra packages and told them the only thing I need is for them to be a neighbor or friend and pass them along to another in need. Poppy couldn't believe it. I heard him laugh and could hear the smile in his voice. He was proud to have helped.

After our conversation today, he sent my sister-in-law to the store to buy another 1,500 clothespins. Yes, anther 1,500 clothespins are on the way to Juneau from a sweet "Clothespin Angel" in Indiana.

• Melissa M. Mountcastle is a Juneau resident.



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