News and Tribune

October 12, 2013

DODD: Fifty for $50

Local columnist

— One of my favorite things about this column is the fact that sometimes I can use it for a good purpose. Last year, I mulled over a kind of community service idea for the holidays, but the time simply got away from me and before I knew it the Christmas season was over.

After Halloween, it’s kind of like that every year for me. It seems like we trick-or-treat and then it’s the day after New Year’s Day and another calendar page has turned.

I have been talking about my idea with a friend who immediately volunteered, and in fact almost enthusiastically pleaded to assist me. So in an attempt to avoid the holiday rush, I will roll out my plans for an idea that will rival the old and welcome theme of a random act of kindness.

Here is the plan in a nutshell. I am seeking 50 people who will simply hand $50 to a complete stranger for no other reason than to make someone happy unexpectedly while shopping for gifts to be placed under the Christmas tree. I plan on meeting with the management of several of the area’s largest retailers in the coming weeks to seek their assistance in the plan.

First of all, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I do not want anyone to send me money. One of the main themes of my idea is for people to simply get pleasure from the act of giving. If someone agrees to be one of the 50, it will be up to them to either join us on a selected few nights and give the offering or arrange for someone to hand over the cash directly to a stranger.

Darla Van Gilder Stahl will be assisting me in the coordination and planning. One thing that we agreed upon is that we do not want any restrictions or guidelines as to who gets the gift. It is not based on financial need.

Working, middle-class people can find themselves often in a short term financial bind when trying to finance a college education, buying school supplies and clothes or for paying unexpected medical bills.

Middle class just plain ain’t what it used to be.

Of course, if you are the giver and want to help out someone who might appear to be in need, you would be welcome to do so. The call will simply be left up to whomever you decide to walk up to in a shopping place and hand over the money and simply wish them a Merry Christmas.

This is very simply a schmaltzy, feel-good-about-ourselves opportunity for those of us who can afford to give and celebrate our good fortune in life. I would like to see some young people involved, especially if they are in some sort of a youth group or organization that pushes community service.

For now, I am simply rolling out the plan. If you would like to e-mail me for the time being, I will compile a list. The name aside, there is really no dollar amount that will be considered too high or too low to participate. Fifty for $50 is simply a catchy name.

I know that sometime during the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I plan on myself and family to donate $50 to someone we have never met and for no other reason than to put a smile upon someone’s face and hopefully have one as we walk away as well.

It’s almost cliché’ to say it, but as I have heard from people before who try so much to make a difference in the world, you can’t solve all the problems by yourself. However, in a world of increasing self-indulgence and seemingly uncaring attitude, I just want to try to do something small.

Please feel free to be a part of something bigger than the individual parts. There will be more to come in future columns.


I spent some time with a few Elks this past week, including my buddy Ted Throckmorton (Hall-of-Fame broadcaster — I am required by some law that I think was passed by Ron Grooms that this tag must follow Teddy’s name every time it’s in print). I was told that some of the members thought my piece on the Elks Club was too negative.

That was never my intention. I simply wished to discuss the current situation and ongoing membership drive. I didn’t mention such things as the new chef and wonderful dining. I did not advise that anyone can enjoy a drink in the bar after a round of golf, or simply add that I know many good friends who are current Elks Club members.

It is a very nice golf course and, as I did indicate, it was my hope to get some word out and help the club obtain new membership.  


For those who care and for those who don’t but are still reading, my return to golf has been going well. In fact, this very Saturday (Oct. 12) I plan to join a foursome in Madison. This is a pretty special day, as my buddy Bobby Brashear and I will square off in a head-to-head contest.

We work together and there has been quite a bit of trash talk about our respective — or lack thereof — golfing ability. We have played in the same group in charity scrambles and in smaller four-man scramble team formats. Now it is time to play straight-up, mano-y-mano.

I know the course in Madison is supposedly very forgiving when compared to such courses as Wooded View and Champions Pointe, where we have scrambled. But, there really is no forgiving my golfing ability.

However, it’s time put up or shut up and in true Muhammad Ali-esque fashion, I am going to predict in print that by the time most of you read this column, I will have beaten him on the scorecard.

It might get ugly, but I plan on having 15 golf balls in the bag and will lose every one of them if that’s what it takes for the victory. If necessary, we can finish the 18th hole with shag range balls.

Place your bets on the over/under winning score landing in the 90s, possibly the high 90s

Editor’s note: Lindon didn’t specify if he meant the 90s on nine or 18 holes.

— Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at