I really don't know what's happening to our precious planet. It seems like we're being overtaken by greed birds of some kind. No matter where you are, there they are, poking their narrow-minded little heads with long sharp bills and shifty eyes.

I can really understand why many of the various religions of the world have sizable segments of their faith who are radically going back to their original fundamental beliefs in hopes of escaping the greed birds' influence.

I try not to hold discussions any longer that might come close to religion. No matter who is involved and no matter what religion, I quickly get lost.

The Ten Commandments, or its equivalent in any other faith, is so laden with amendments and conditions that I can't follow it.

"Do unto others before they do it to you" seems to be the modern day interpretation. "Thou shalt not get caught committing adultery" are the actions that we see but not what we say we believe.

FUNDRAISERS, FESTIVALS and many nonprofit activities are magnets for trouble. I saw countless very fine people get sucked into the clutches of the greed bird. And I never felt comfortable with the companies that swarmed around communities or churches or schools who desperately need money to continue their existence.

Oftentimes, when you look into their operations, you discover that very little of the monies gathered ever make it to the cause.

We continue to look the other way because what we get is more than we had before. But the greed bird steps in, and you want just a little more next time so you look away again and let the fundraiser back in the picture.

On the peninsula we see many community events, fundraisers and festivals. Some of them are handled by a loosely configured organization, and others are turned over to companies that hire out to put on festivals. No matter how they are structured, the event is built on the backs of volunteers.

Good thing that Sequim is chock-a-block full of talented, intelligent, energetic and altruistic citizens.

There are countless individuals who give thousands of hours and priceless expertise to enable these events to even exist.

I RECENTLY WITNESSED an event taking place that would make it very hard for me to volunteer in one of our local festivals.

I was one of three citizens at one of the food purveyors at a festival recently, and the man before me was rather bluntly pinching a free $10 dinner out of the vendor. He reminded the vendor that it was he who had facilitated the vendor's presence at the festival. He asked how well he was doing at the event. He told him what his position was with the event. And, yes, he got his free dinner.

I must admit, I would not want to be one of the paid staffers at a major event that depended almost entirely upon volunteers for its survival. I'd be paranoid about how hard I was working for my wage, always comparing the effort given by the volunteers.

I was raised out in the country where neighbors worked together to bale each other's hay and raise a new barn or help a farmer through winter if his summer crop got wiped out. Taking advantage of friends and neighbors is not the way I like to conduct business.

Do you think I was born in the wrong century or just on the wrong planet?

Jim Follis is a retired school administrator, has published two books and currently writes three newspaper columns. Eating, drinking and making merry are his professed hobbies. Traveling, trekking and observing people follow not far behind.

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