The primly dressed young woman stood nervously on my doorstep clutching a notebook. On her crooked arm, she carried a small canvas tote decorated with a stylized graphic of a cat in military garb.
Feeling under-dressed in my threadbare flannel PJ pants and throwback concert tee, I let her continue her solicitation spiel uninterrupted.
“With a donation of only $25 your name would be inscribed on the brick and it would become a permanent part of the Military Service Feline memorial wall.”
Seemed like a simple request, but I was still dubious.
“Have you talked with many of my neighbors?” I looked up and down the street, noting who might be at home this time of the morning. “Did any of them donate?”
Downcast, she took her time answering.
“Sadly, no,” she finally whispered, a hint of condemnation in her voice. “All I seemed to do was rile them, which I simply don’t understand.”
She began to chatter as if I wasn’t standing in front of her.
“I’m not asking for much, just a few dollars to help a worthy cause, but no, everyone is too stingy, too selfish to think of others, when all we are trying to do is make this world a better place, isn’t that a respectable thing to do?”
Her rant over, she looked up, beseeching me with doe eyes brimming with tears of righteous indignation.
“A memorial wall you said?”
Gathering herself, the young woman wiped a tiny droplet from her cheek.
“Yes, we have an architect’s renderings and everything,” she said, rummaging in her tote for a faint and creased copy of the proposed monument.
“Do you already have a location picked out?” I said, studying the schematic.
“A small plot of land has been donated,” she said, managing a timorous smile. “It’s just off Prather Road, near this high school.”
“Let me get my sock,” I said, turning slightly into the house. “That’s where I keep all my money.”
She was gone by the time I came back.