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The Best Things In Life?

July 20, 2011
Wetzel Chronicle
You get what you pay for.

That’s a common bit of wisdom my husband likes to throw back at me when one of my bargains doesn’t work out so well. Sure, it can be true, but very few sayings are always true. Sometimes my bargains really do work prove to be real.

It is also said that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Now I know that’s not true. Just ask any of the people who take part in the Wetzel County Summer Feeding Program or who receive their meals free during the school year. I also know I have received a free lunch from the kindness of others many times in life, with nothing expected in return.

I can’t help but wonder if it is the belief in these kinds of sayings that makes people not take advantage of some free local events.

For instance, I was shocked and saddened Friday night to find very few people in the Lincoln Theater when there was a free showing of old cartoon shorts.

Okay, I know it wasn’t like they were showing Cars 2, Mr. Poppers Penguins, or any other more recent popular movie. In fact these shorts didn’t have any names or even characters you would recognize, but it was free entertainment and something different that the Riverfront Development Committee went to the trouble of presenting.

Despite the lack of mass appeal, I can tell you for sure that my four-year-old daughter enjoyed the showing and I loved watching her delight in something so simple. As we walked across Main?Street to our car she said, “Mommy, I liked those old musical cartoons.” Me too Joellen, me too.

I do know there were some other competing events, even a free one, that might have taken some of the people who could have attended the theater event. But I still think the roughly 20 people I saw come in and out of the cartoon showing was still a pitiful turnout.

This free event wasn’t the only one to suffer from poor attendance. I’ve had some local civic-minded people tell me that they think sometimes free events actually have lower participation than those that cost money.

Really, have we become so monetarily focused that we think something that’s free can’t be worth our while?

Whatever happened to the thinking that the best things in life are free?

This weekend there’s another event at the Lincoln Theater. This one is a screening of a movie filmed in our local area—The Deposition. On Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m. you can watch this movie and hear the filmmaker, Eddie Mensore, talk about its making. And it’s all free, unless of course making a donation will convince you it is worth your time. But seriously, all donations are welcome and will be split between the New Martinsville Parks and Recreation?Department and the Riverfront Development Committee.


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