Category Archives: Causes and Friends

Posts regarding causes–mine and those of some friends.

It’s Only Fair…

Skowhegan 4HOne of my summer diversions is taking in some fairs here and there. My digestion usually suffers a bit. (Why is it that agricultural fairs with displays of award-winning produce only serve stuff that’s supposed to be bad for you?) My boots take a beating and often come home with bits of agricultural residue which Harley Dog finds extremely interesting. Occasionally my back gets a little stiff from sitting on bleachers watching ox and horse pulls. But the rest of me enjoys it and finds the celebratory nature of fairs exciting. I’m hoping I’m not done yet for the year, but I do have to share a couple of things that I’d like to celebrate.

First, if you’ve not ever visited the 4H exhibits at the Skowhegan Fair, you’re missing a treat. You’ll be greeted by a couple of young people who are extremely pleasant and have a vocabulary that consists of more than the monosyllabic language most often used by adolescents. You’ll find the various exhibits reflect club pride, teamwork, and very often a high level of creativity. I found one individual example this year that gets “Mr. Boomsma’s unofficial blue ribbon.” A simple paper plate bearing a message to the judges. “My Dad found my sample cupcakes and ate them all. He said they were very good.” I gather the judges couldn’t accept Dad’s testimonial because there was no ribbon attached, but I accept this young lady’s ability to come up with a rather unique fair exhibit.

Another highlight of fair visits for this year took place at the Piscataquis Valley Fair when a brother and sister I happen to know from school spotted and dragged me to the 4H area to show me their projects. (Admittedly I didn’t resist too hard.) The older brother revealed his hobby of metal detecting and asked me to check out some of his finds. He also pointed to several pictures and told me a story.

Using his metal detector he found a high school class ring–dated ten years ago. Using his detective skills he researched and located the ring’s original owner. In one of the pictures she is clearly crying while he is looking up at her. At this stage of the story another fairgoer who’d been eavesdropping on the story asked my friend–almost accusingly, “You mean you didn’t get a cash reward?!”

Fortunately, I didn’t have time to seriously consider punching the guy. Without pause, my young friend responded eagerly, “Oh no, mister–seeing that woman’s smile was my reward!”

The only thing I can add to this story is two words. “There’s hope.” (If I had a blue ribbon I’d offer it to him, but he’d probably refuse it and say again, “Seeing that woman’s smile is my reward.”

Yeah. There’s hope.

Financial Literacy Starts With You!

stick_figure_wheel_barrow_gold_150_clr_8612And maybe Jack Falvey. Jack’s a friend and colleague–you might recognize his name from the back cover of my book, Small People–Big Brains. An official version of who Jack is reads like this:

Jack Falvey is a widely published freelance business writer, contributing to Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News in the areas of sales, sales management and marketing. He teaches professional sales and sales management at both University of Massachusetts Boston and at his alma mater, Boston College.

Falvey is currently a fellow at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire where he offers daily Investor Education Briefs as part of the Ethics in Governance: Stewardship and Investor Education Initiative.

Jack’s recently embarked on this daily series of Investor Education Briefs (or tips) and I’ve had the good fortune to be part of a “test group.” That means I’ve been enjoying these daily briefs for a few weeks now, so I can tell you that they are truly brief, educational, and enjoyable. One of my personal favorites was his message to people who say “I don’t believe in life insurance.” Jack notes that life insurance isn’t a religion. It’s a product with a purpose. In some circumstances it works. In others it doesn’t.

He’ll make you think.

It might seem ironic, but these nuggets that will increase your financial fluency are free! You can sign up at

Supporting a Good Friend and a Good Cause!

shrinerI’m pleased to be considered a sponsor of good cause (Springfield Massachusetts Shriners Hospital) being organized by a good friend (Susan Austin). Susan and her committee are organizing a “Trivia Night” to be held on Saturday, September 14, 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm at the Son’s of Erin at 22 Williams Street in Westfield, Massachusetts. My role and sponsorship feels pretty minimal, so I thought I’d help by giving Sue and her efforts some publicity.

If you’re from that area, you might put the event on your calendar and plan to attend… if not, you can still help. The committee has pledged that 100% of the proceeds will benefit Shriners Hospital. You can send a donation to

Susan Austin
148 Elm Street
Westfield MA 01085

Make the check payable to Springfield Shriners Hospital. I suspect it’s also not too late to be a sponsor. In additional to financial support they are looking for raffle prizes. If you’d like to help, call Sue at 413-537-5480 and tell her Mr. Boomsma sent you. (But don’t believe any stories she tells you about me when we were kids!)