Do’s and Don’ts Dept.

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Strangers on a Train

Hey, how about those three American fellows who subdued the would-be train terrorist in France. Kind  of a good news/bad news thing here. Bad obviously that the event ever took place, but good that this mighty trio – Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler -showed such courage and did the right thing, standing up against an AK-47.

When we lived in France a few years ago, a perky elderly Frenchman lived in an apartment below ours. When he heard we were Americans, his eyes watered as he told us about a memorable tale – repeated to us on several occasions – from decades earlier. As a young child, he remembered being picked up by an American GI just after the war and given a piece of chocolate. His story moved us, too, and continues to whenever I think about it. No heroics here, but an unforgettable show of  generosity, too often missing in today’s world.


“Tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can’t buy,” –The Beatles 

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Then, on the other side of the Atlantic, we have, well, generosity, but with a big hitch. Joan Weill (photo), a well-known philanthropist, wants to give $20 million to Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks. However, there’s an egotistical string attached. In accepting the weighty sum, the college’s board must agree to change the name to Joan Weill-Paul Smith’s College. Talk about a mouthful. We hope Ms. Weill will note this comment on the college’s Facebook page and change her thinking: ”I appreciate her donation, but a true benefactor or philanthropist does not expect anything in return but good will.”

The kind that our American train travelers have just fostered, asking nothing in return for their good deed.

One thought on “Do’s and Don’ts Dept.

  1. So great that you have your voice back – I had missed you. I love Paul Smith College. They have the best butterfly garden ever – a greenhouse full of native plants and shrubs. Adult butterflies are captured by volunteers and released inside. Nature works is magic and the full time staff shows all stages of development to visitors. The small campus with plenty of focus on outdoor issues would have been perfect for me.

    Ms. Weil already has a library and student center in her name. Maybe she would settle for donating some of that cash to the butterfly garden and have it named after her also.Legally the school can’t change their name but are hoping the courts will issue a variance. If she wins might the next big donator request similar recompense? I’m sure she sees it as a small request for such a large sum of money.

    I wonder what she is like otherwise.

    Will see you soon, Judy


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