Celebrating the brief time of our mutual friend

 “There is some talk of lowering (the income tax), and they will have to. People are not making enough to pay it.”—Will Rogers

 Uncle Sam gives and he takes away.

Thank you for joining me today to celebrate the short life of our departed friend, Hard Earned Money, as we share our grief on the occasion of his departure last week on Tax Day.

Money and I were friends. We lived close to each other, sadly, not for very long at a time. I tried to spend more quality time with him, but always seemed to be watching him come and go. Perhaps I could have been a better friend to Money had I known when we met, what I know now.

We remember Money as a communicator. He was always a part of our conversations. I recall him best for all the times he was telling me, “Good bye!”

One personal memory illustrating the often impulsive nature of Money’s sojourn on earth is about the time a good investment netted me a tidy profit. Part of it bought me new a car, the rest I invested. Little did I know that in short time, I would lose the car and the investment putting together enough money to pay taxes: a reminder that we know not the day, nor the hour … or in some cases, the who, that will mark the time of our Money’s departure.

 Our friend Money was the type that never met a person in need to whom he didn’t respond for me. If we could assist someone in getting back on their feet, paying a bill, or loaning them a down payment, we never hesitated to pitch in, be they family or friend. And, we always kept them in our heart for years afterward, mostly in hopes that they would remember to pay us back.

Money’s passing last week is a reminder that while compassionate souls take risks; it’s never with the IRS. We find comfort, however, in knowing why money ventured out and was unexpectedly taken from this life on Tax Day—it was to keep me out of prison.

So, it is that we can find peace in the fact that Money left us doing something he knew had to be done. He never wanted to pay the ultimate price as a tax bill, but I can tell you his only regret about leaving was that need for old car parts, a vacation this summer and that new refrigerator was left to carry on without him.

In closing, I smile at how Money was celebrated in music. There is one song in particular that always reminds me of him, one we both liked. He asked that should he go first, would I read the lyrics at his memorial, and I’ll do that now.

I’m going back to the country,
Cause I can’t pay that rent.
I’m not completely broke,
But, brother I’m badly bent.
 
I can’t understand where my money went
I ain’t broke, but brother I’m badly bent

And now, if you will turn in the hymnal to number 1040-EZ, we’ll join in a congregational singing as a final remembrance of Income Tax Day 2018, and our dearly departed friend, Hard Earned Money. May he rest in peace, at least until next April.

Some bright morning, on tax day this year,
I’ll fly away.
To that home in Uncle Sam’s big vault.
I’ll fly away.

Time will heal our pain, because life does go on … even without Money after Tax Day.

—Leon Aldridge

Aldridge columns are also published in the Center, Texas, Light and Champion (http://www.lightandchampion.com) and the Mount Pleasant, Texas, Tribune newspapers (http://www.tribnow.com).

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