Read: Simple cigar box means a lot

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You just never know how someone else will interpret what your intentions are until they are placed in the position to have to make a decision that can either put you in the driver's seat or on the street walking. Over the past few days, the bank made just such a call on me that stopped everything and it was over someone reading a name wrong.

I'm in the process of building a fence in the backyard and made a visit to a local store to purchase the needed supplies. After making all the arrangements for the delivery and installation, I prepared to make the payment. Noticing I had left my checkbook at home, I placed the charge on my credit card, knowing that I could pay it off at the end of the month when the charge came through.

Thinking everything was okay, I was surprised the next day when I received a call from the store saying my charge had been denied. Immediately, I called my bank's credit card department and was told that there was a charge on my account that had caused the block to be placed. The call was transferred to the fraud department, where I was questioned about an "unusual" charge to a social club that was not normal for me, thus causing the bank to block my account.

After numerous questions relating to previous charges, dates and giving me the amount of the charge for the "social club," the mystery of my strange behavior was finally solved. The "social club" charge was actually the fee I paid to the American Kennel Club to register by Black Lab puppy Ranger. That's about as "social" as I get. After two phone calls and a visit to the bank, I finally had the problem resolved, and things back to normal with a fence going up the backyard. Next time, I'll write a check.

It just goes to show you, there are those who can make a decision without knowing what they are talking about. I assumed everyone everywhere knew what the American Kennel Club is, but there must be someone in the banking world that doesn't.

Often, we classify folks when we really shouldn't and you never know where it may lead. I'll never forget when someone classified me as an uber-conservative in a letter to the editor one time. It seems someone had determined I was an uber-conservative by a recent article I had written. They had gotten all caught up in conservative and non-conservative politics and thinking everything related to that. In fact, I had to look-up uber-conservative myself to find out what it really meant. It is someone even beyond ultra-conservative. That in no way is a description of me. If you happen to know how I was raised, we may have been called conservative today, but we were mainly conservatively without money. I have to say I do have conservative tendencies, but they are due to being reared by depression era parents.

This month marks the one-year anniversary of when my mother passed away and if anyone was a conservative she was that. Just the other day I was going through some of her things, which consisted of nothing of monetary value, but a worth to a son that jewels couldn't replace. There were ink pens that didn't write, bread wrapper twisters, newspaper clippings, broken vases, spoons that didn't match, a Mr. Coffee and our report cards, just to name a few of the treasures.

In the boxes were also King Edward cigar boxes, containing miscellaneous receipts of years during my father and mother's time of housekeeping. One of those boxes in particular that caught my attention contained the year's receipts of 1960, '61 and '62. Among those receipts were notebook paper sheets filled with handwritten charges from the Farris Garage in Concord where my father took his school bus, tractors and cars to be repaired all those many years. There were charges from the Versailles Grocery containing items of a ten-cent Coca-Cola and a bag of peanuts that I can still remember sitting on the bench out front drinking while trying to wrestle each peanut with my tongue out of those little glass bottles. Each small aging sheet held listings of charges made by a farm family at the local country store to be paid at the end of the month when the milk check came in.
That box held electric bills that amounted to only $6 and telephone bills being an extremely high $15, but there were tickets to the I.P. Burns Feed Mill showing evidence that the Read livestock ate very well during those days. But within that highly graphic box, still bright in color today, was a history of how life was for my family during a special time.

It was much simpler then with your charging and record keeping. For sure, no one would check out your social club and I'm sure everyone knew about your dogs.

-Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted by e-mail at

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