Cause worth time in ‘jail’

By Karl Terry: PNT managing editor

I can almost hear old Hank Williams singing about me now.

“He’s in the jailhouse now.”

It seems it all started about the time I started growing this outlaw beard. First it was scratching my neck in public, then it was food on my rather faint mustache. Next thing I know there’s a warrant out for my arrest.

Somehow I’ve been selected to participate in the March of Dimes annual Jail Bail fund-raiser this Wednesday at Leal’s Restaurant in Clovis. It started with someone, somewhere swearing out a complaint against me (nominating me to participate). I don’t know who that person is yet, but when I find out I’ll be expecting a major contribution toward my $1,000 bail.

It’s not the first time I’ve been in jail. In publications class at Portales High School some 30 years ago we took our class photo inside the old jail above the courthouse. Few, if any of us actually ever ended up there for real.

I’ve also served a couple of sentences for March of Dimes in other communities in the past, so it was hard to say no.

The last time I did it was the historic Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Doc Holliday and Al Capone were among the sordid crowd that hung out there in days gone by.

My judge was a radio guy with an impressively long flowing white beard who fancied himself as Judge Roy Bean. He quickly convicted me of murdering the English language and handed me a phone book to begin my nightmare sentence by raising bail money.

I have a mock-up front page of my newspaper in Colorado with a photo showing me being hand-cuffed by a sheriff’s deputy. It was fun but I didn’t raise nearly enough money for the fight against birth defects.

My record as a fund-raiser is not spectacular. Often the number of tickets I sell to a club fund-raiser has more to do with how many family is in town But you can change that by helping me out with your donation.

I’m going to use the beard this year as a tool to leverage more donations. Some folks love my new Grizzly Adams look, others like my wife don’t. For a donation you can register your vote on whether or not I keep the facial hair. Money talks here folks, so dig deep.

On a serious note, put yourselves in the shoes of a young couple who has just been told there’s something wrong with their brand new baby. A joyful time quickly becomes a fearful time of uncertainty. The March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. They do that through programs of research, community service and education.

The percentage of preterm babies in the nation is 13 percent. In New Mexico that figure is 19 percent. March of Dimes figures say as many as 68 babies a week are born prematurely in New Mexico. Some of those die, others have lifelong, heartbreaking struggles with health.

I’m vowing to do a better job of fund-raising for the babies this year. Give me a call at the number below or visit my March of Dimes Web site to make an online donation.

While you’re there you can check out the progress of the beard with a photo I just posted.