We did something special together (Don’t worry, it’s ok to tell)

Thanks to your help, some families in my area will have a brighter Christmas.
Thanks to your help, some families in my area will have a brighter Christmas.

As many of you know, I was at Fred Meyer on Saturday for a special book-signing fundraiser for Siuslaw Outreach Services, a local organization that provides assistance to abused woman and children, and families in need.

Yes, I realize this is a humor blog and I am a humor columnist, and so far you haven’t laughed once. Keep in mind I’m a professional, so you can trust me when I say it gets funnier.

But not before it gets a little mushy.

On Thursday last week, our office manager Misty handed me letters from Katherine in Minnesota, Michelle in Kansas and Matt in Ohio.

“Look at Mr. Popular,” she said. “Looks like your parole officers finally found you.”

Thursday, Misty was back with more letters: Susan in Washington and Melanie in Atlanta. Friday morning, I received emails from Paul in Canada, Ann in Europe, and Tez and Jennifer in Australia. That same day, my publisher called and said she needed me to sign books for Courtney in Texas (which is almost its own country) and Karen in Kentucky.

What did all of these people have in common? I mean, aside from their obvious good taste in humor writers? Each of them wanted to participate in the fundraising effort for SOS. Because of them, and people like you helping spread the word, I already had $125 in donations even before I walked past this crowd waiting for me on Saturday morning…

Some people had been waiting in line for hours to get a signed copy of my book! Oh, and for the gas prices to drop again...
Some people had been waiting in line for hours to get a signed copy of my book! Oh, and for the gas prices to drop again…

Before I talk about how the actual book signing went, I need to tell you how appreciative I am of everyone’s support, whether it be in spirit, financial or both. As I mentioned in my initial post about this fundraiser, and my uneasy decision to include it within the blog-o-sphere, just having the opportunity to present the idea to all of you was a privilege I didn’t take lightly. Having so many of you respond in kind words and deeds has been truly humbling. I thank each of you you for your support, generosity and trust with this endeavor to help some folks in my small town have a brighter Christmas. Thanks to you and those who came to Saturday’s book signing, I headed over to Siuslaw Outreach Services early this morning with a check for $400.

Handing our donatioin (yes, it's from all of us) to Bob Teter of SOS this morning. If there are any scouts, notice my ability to shake left handed...
Handing OUR donation (yes, it’s from all of us) to Bob Teter of SOS this morning. If there are any scouts, notice my ability to shake left handed…

It’s a truly wonderful thing that wouldn’t have been possible without all of you: those who wrote in, those who ordered books and those in the communities of Florence and Mapleton who braved Saturday’s storm and flooding to show your support of SOS AND that amazing buy-one-get-one offer on Lucerne cheddar cheese at Fred Meyer.

This brings us to the actual book signing, which the folks at Freddy’s were gracious enough to host in their furniture section across from the book aisle. Once my wife and I arrived, we quickly set things up. With 10 minutes to go before the doors opened, my wife, who was tying off the last balloon, turned and asked, “So, are you nervous?”

When I'm really nervous I tend to nod off.
When I’m really nervous I tend to nod off.

Precisely at 10 a.m., the announcement was made over the loudspeaker, sending dozens of people scrambling toward us, then past us to fight over a special on Lucerne cheese. The next announcement was about the book signing, and soon we had our first visitor, Jane Yecni…

Jane bought three books, which she said she knew would be the perfect height to raise her computer monitor.
Jane bought three books, which she said she knew would be the perfect height to raise her computer monitor.

Denise from Dublin, Ga., also bought a book. Naturally, I thanked her for coming such a long way to get a copy of my book! She smiled and, in her sweet Southern drawl, told me she had actually traveled here for the sale on cheese (apparently cheddar is really expensive in Georgia) and thought my book would make a festive cheese tray.

Thanks anyway, Denise!
Thanks anyway, Denise!

Once the dairy section had run out of cheese, people headed back our way and, by 11:50 a.m., we had officially sold our last copy of 50 Ways Cheddar Makes Things Better, which was actually Humor at the Speed of Life once they peeled away the fake cover.

Sorry, this is the last copy folks...
Sorry, this is the last copy folks…

All cheese aside, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to all of you. Sincerely β€” Thank You so much.

Happy holidays, Everyone πŸ˜‰



(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

41 thoughts on “We did something special together (Don’t worry, it’s ok to tell)”

  1. That is so cool Ned that thanks to you Christmas will be happier for many people. Especially in Zimbabwewe (sp?). they are very poor. Ha! It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to participate. Did your wife manage to get some cheese before they ran out?

  2. I’ve thrown on the short skirt, pulled out the pom poms, even added the high socks while I dance out in the front yard cheering – “Ned rules”! And, “Dammit, it’s cold out here, but still, Ned rules, so buy a damn book before I freeze”!

    I don’t think I have to tell you how much it means to me to know you took on this particular cause for your event, but in case I do, good on you, Ned. Good.On.You.

    1. That really mens a lot, Robyn. Not just that you’d brave the cold in a short skirt for the cause, but because I know you understand the importance of it. The cause I mean, not the short skirt.

      Many thanks, my dear πŸ˜‰

  3. Great work Ned! In a drunken stupor, I posted on Facebook about going to shop as a cop with underprivileged kids and told people they were welcome to help out if they wanted to. Goddam if people didnt send me money and we made Christmas better for a while bunch of kids. People can still be pretty great. Hope the book is selling loke gangbusters (is that a real phrase?) and that you and your kin have a great Christmas. Gosh, i really want some cheese now.

  4. Lol! Next year, we’ll have to join forces and try the good cop/bad fireman approach. At any rate, you’re right; people can be pretty great. Either that, or we just know a lot of really great people πŸ˜‰

    My best and merriest wishes to you and your family as well, Don!

  5. YAY! I love that you wrote about this, Ned!
    What a fantastic cause and a selfless effort to make a difference.
    As for the cheese…eat some, man! It looks like you are losing weight πŸ™‚
    Merry Christmas to you and yours. xoxo

    1. Thanks, Michelle πŸ˜‰

      And I actually have lost a little weight, only because I know I will gain it back over the next two weeks! Mostly in cheese products…

      1. Okay…as long as you’re feeling good and healthy. The old dietitian in me is ever present when I see my post-surgical friends. You don’t need to get worried unless I show up on your doorstep with clear liquid broth and Ensure.

  6. Outstanding job on raising funds for such an important cause! Thanks so much for doing what you did. By the way, a book signing was held for me at a beer garden, under the theory that no one should read my book sober. Oblivious to the sheer magnetism of cheese, I never even considered the dairy aisle. Rookie mistake.

      1. It’s really the only way! I’m thrilled you’re enjoying it. Thanks for the good wishes, and all the very best to you and your family, too!

  7. Hooray for our donation! I’d think of some clever quip about not being able to eat cheese anymore, but my brain isn’t functioning at not even 5am. So I’ll just say, job well done. Looking forward to reading your book and laughing the day away.

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