Bring a hot holiday meal to an inmate ;br; – or leave it with Lee

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 16, 1999

Last Sunday, I was outside in my driveway, washing the car.

Thursday, December 16, 1999

Last Sunday, I was outside in my driveway, washing the car.

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It was the middle of December in Minnesota and I had nothing better to do.

Besides, it was too early to sign greeting cards and I don’t even think about shopping until there are only 48 hours until Christmas Eve. I like to live dangerously.

So, there I was having a ball washing the car, when the Christmas spirit took over and I started singing "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer."

You had to have been there.

The grandchildren decorated my Christmas tree again this holiday season. There are more ornaments, more lights, more garlands and more icicles on that tree that the law allows. If it was in a box and no matter now tattered or torn or broken it looked, it went on the tree.

The other night, when I went to adjust the angel, I found an egg beater hanging from a branch.

Last Sunday, I stayed awake during the entire sermon at my church and heard a good one. It inspired me to embark on a holiday project of my own to make this Christmas more meaningful.

People, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the commercialism of Christmas, that one has to fight to resist those temptations.

But, Christmas is about giving and this year that’s what I’m going to do. When you care enough about humankind, you give to those who need it most.

Soon-to-be-unemployed Austin school board members, perhaps. Nah.

Homeless doctors? Nope.

Lonely lawyers? Nada.

This holiday season, I am making prisoners in the Mower County Jail my favorite charity.

I have received two telephone calls from people identifying themselves as inmates at the county jail. Each time, they have left lengthy voice mail messages.

It seems, their meals are not being served on time. The jailers are late and the food is cold, the prisoners are saying. One complained that he is on a strict diet and needs his meals served on-time in the right amounts. It has not happened just once, but repeatedly, according to the prisoners.

People, just when you think you’ve heard it all, a story like this comes along: criminals, convicted in court, sentenced to jail not being fed on time.

Just, what in God’s name is this world coming to?

I know what you cynics are thinking. "They’ve broken the law, they’re being punished, they’re in jail. They’ve got cable television, an exercise room, personal maid service. Who cares if they’re well-fed or fed at all?"

Just where is your Christmas spirit? Criminal offenders are people too. Try sitting in a room all day, watching television and see how you feel.

When I called the jail staff to report the situation, all I heard was loud laughing on the other end.

Obviously, the prisoners are not being taken seriously.

So, yours truly is leaping into action. I’m postponing my pithy commentary on the young man who walked into a downtown barbershop, got a haircut and walked out without paying. There have been gas drive-offs, but this was the first haircut walk-off in local law enforcement history.

We have nine days to go, People, if we want to show them we care. I’m starting a food drive for Mower County Jail inmates. It’s called "Canned Food For the Crowbar Hotel."

Leave your non-perishable food items on my desk at the Austin Daily Herald offices and I will see they are delivered to the prisoners.

Remember – the prisoner you feed may be a distant relative on your spouse’s side of the family.

Lee Bonorden’s column appears Thursdays