Lots Of Substance In Lines On Life

Dear Ann Landers: I recently ran across this poem, which mirrors life today in such a way that it made me think of the value of permanence. It was written by Joyce M. Shutt, and I hope you will print it. Thanks. - D.L. in San Diego

Dear D.L.: There’s a great deal of substance in these lines, and I’m sure my readers will agree. Thank you for sending it on. Here it is:

Consumer’s Prayer

By Joyce M. Shutt

Throwaway bottles,

Throwaway cans,

Throwaway friendships,

Throwaway fans.

Disposable diapers,

Disposable plates,

Disposable people,

Disposable wastes.

Instant puddings,

Instant rice,

Instant intimacy,

Instant ice.

Plastic dishes,

Plastic laces,

Plastic flowers,

Plastic faces.

Lord of the living,

Transcending our lives,

Infuse us with meaning.

Recycle our lives.

Dear Ann Landers: A distant relative left me a substantial amount of money in her will, and frankly, I don’t need it or deserve it. Although her will was written when we were quite close, I had not seen her in more than a year. She was in a nursing home in another city, and her great-niece was the person responsible for all the tough decisions concerning her care and well-being. I feel this niece should receive the bulk of my relative’s estate, but I hardly know her and don’t know how to tell her this without appearing haughty and superior.

There are three other heirs who should come before me, although they did not do as much for this relative as the niece. If I refuse the inheritance, they will benefit equally with her, which is also not fair. If I contribute the amount to charity, none of the heirs will benefit. If I keep the sum, how do I express my appreciation to the niece who did so much more than I?

I would like to give this niece my portion of the inheritance, but I don’t know how to achieve this without ruffling some feathers. Also, what are the tax ramifications? If I accept the inheritance and then turn it over to the niece, who pays the taxes?

Please answer in your column. I’m reasonably sure that this situation occurs more often than most people realize. - L.G. in Houston

Dear L.G.: Your candor and generosity are refreshing. You are certainly taking the high road. I suggest that you consult a tax lawyer about your unanswered questions. You need the advice and guidance of a professional in estate planning.

Dear Readers: Many of you have asked me to repeat the addresses of our servicemen and women in Bosnia. I also discovered that we had been given some incorrect information, so here they are again:

For personnel on land: Any Service Member, Operation Joint Guard, APO AE, 09397-0001. For personnel aboard ship: Any Service Member, Operation Joint Guard, FPO AE, 09398-0001.


Click here to comment on this story »



Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(509) 747-4422
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile