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  • Writer's picturelilmyacofield

$2 Bill Lady

Ann Halford (1)$2-Bill Lady Ann Halford, known to many as Carlsbad’s $2-bill Lady, has attained the age of 91. People who play with numbers know that 13 x 7 = 91. Whether Ann has thrived for an unlucky array of lucky years or vice versadoesn’ tenter her philosophy. A devout congregant of Sunset Church of Christ, Ann believes in gratitude and generosity. Opportunities abound. It began with Ann offering encouragement via spoken words. “If I see a careworn woman mopping the floor in a supermarket, I thank her –You’ve got hard work, but I see you’re doing a good job of it. Thank you for making this floor clean for usall! “A little boost like that can make a person’s day. We all need kindness. One time getting off an airplane, a man helped pry my carry-on bag free from the overhead rack. In so tight, it wasn’t easy! Other passengers waited for him so we could de-board. Accomplished at last! I smiled and said –The next time I see your mother, I’m gonna tell her what a fine son she raised! Everybody laughed because they knew we were complete strangers. “With all this white hair on my head, I get doors opened before I reach them. People are so kind. We have a lot of gentlemen and kind ladies in Carlsbad. I appreciate that. ”Ann for decades has put pento paper and sent encourage mentto others. She came to know about a girl at CARC, and three deaf students in the boarding school up in Santa Fe. “I senta monthly note of encouragement, including a pencil. It was only a pencil, but the students were thrilled. Someone was cheering them on.”

Ann Halford (2)$2-Bill Lady At a religious conference Ann meta man John and his profoundly disabled son Tim, who live in Michigan. Tim has muscular dystrophy, is confined to a wheelchair, and can no longer feed himself. Ann has sent Tim cards and gifts for years. He’s nearly sixty years old. Recently it was a brand new big teddy bear. The nurses say he clutches and pets that bear all day and night. “Tim contracted COVID-19, so this may be the home stretch. Once when I phoned his hospital ward, a female receptionist with such a sparkling and musical personality answered the phone. Do you know –I asked her –that you have one of the loveliest telephone voices I’ve ever heard? Please tell me your name, your boss’s name, and the address of your hospital. I want to send you a note of thanks. “Well, somehow I copied the address wrong, because my letter came back undeliverable. So I en closed the notes and $2-bills in another letter to Tim’s father John. He hand-delivered them. “When the boss-man received his note and $2-bill, he came close to tears –I can’t believe someone’s saying something nice! –he said –we’ve been so backed up and everyone is upset. At last someon eappreciates our efforts!”“Gratitude for an unsolicited noteis all out of proportion with the small cost. I’ll often write to someone who finishes nursing school, especially with honors. One such student wrote back. You don’t even know me –she wrote –Yet you took the time to honor me because I’ve worked so hard for so long! “You see, my recognition from afar sparked her own amazement at what she had accomplished. People need that. ”Why the $2-bill? In an article from “Parade” Ann once read about a man who carried a wad of these bills in his pocket. He was wealthy

Ann Halford (3)$2-Bill Lady enough to hand them out quite freely, and encourage people in their everyday efforts. Ann came to realize that such a modest gift would enhance each note she wrote to its surprised recipient. The $2-bill isa token, a talisman, a tangible reward for worthy efforts. “A $2-bill is rare. When shopping you never get one as change. So unfamiliar that adults ask me if it’s bona fide USA currency. But some folks I send a $2-bill to will frame and hang it on their wall, to commemorate being appreciated. ”Apropos of framing, Ann slips each $2-bill into its own cellophane sleeve. Originally, she bought “museum-grade sleeves” for a horribly pricey $75 per 300 count. When North Mesa Senior Center director Dina Navarrette heard this, she found a better deal online –$3 per 100.“The cheaper sleeves are not as sturdy, but they don’t really need to be. And they allow me a surface to write upon without marring the bill itself. ”Ann uses a Sharpie to write “You are special” on the sleeve in the middle of the bill, then draw a smiley face on the right, and a stylized hand on the left making the Sign Language gesture for –I love you. Adding up sleeves might arrive at the dollar amount Ann has donated over years. When asked about firm numbers, Ann began to calculate aloud. But after letting slip some figures, she caught herself and stopped –“But that would be prideful.” To seek out names of worthy recipients, Ann has pored over many sources. Church of Christ newsletters, newspaper clippings, even –in the past –the Carlsbad Current-Argus. “They used to regularly publish the Honor Roll and Character Counts lists. Back when I wrote up scores of notes, I drove them around

Ann Halford (4)$2-Bill Lady to each individual school, quite a trek! At last one secretary clued me in. I could bring them bundled to the District’s central office, each school’s batch separate. They would do the rest. That eased my way! ”In the spring of 2019, Amber Walter scheid and husband James generously teamed up with Ann. Amber assembled accurate lists and the couple fronted cash for Ann to send a $2-bill to each graduate of Carlsbad High School, Loving High School, and Jefferson Montessori Academy. Ann wrote out all the notes. Dorecipients ever write back expressing gratitude for being recognized?“Some yes. Overthe years, many. But most do not .I’m left wondering if the envelope ever got to its intended addressee. Putting pen to paper has fallen out of fashion.“Lynne Pitcaithley’s son wrote back. I recall his lovely William Shakespeare letterhead.”Was this in regard to the “Focus” article about illustrious graduates of CHS? Yes, Ann wrote to each of the honorees. Upon checking her scrapbooks, she corrected herself.“Dwight Pitcaithleyin Las Cruces promptly wrote a warm note back. The Shakespearean scholar John Andrews sent a note arriving one day thereafter –but so eloquently written!” Does a recipient need a Ph.D. just to write back?“There’s a tale about that. I heard abouta woman whose grown children never in their lives had trouble writing a prompt thank you note for any gift –Christmas, birthday, graduation, or whatever. When her kids were small, she set forth her policy. When her grade-schoolersgot a toyshe pointed to the calender. Days one and two you can play with

Ann Halford (5)$2-Bill Ladythat toy. By day three, you may write a three-line note of thanks. If you wait till day four, the note must be six lineslong. And if you put it off till day five, we’ll all buckle up in the car. We’ll donatethenewtoys to GoodWill for kidsmore deserving than you. Herchildren were prompt to write a note of thanks. In time, even their thank yous for wedding gifts came quickly.“Once a brilliant lad in Lawrence KS finished both high school and a special Harvard University preparatory academy at the same time. It was a comboof distance learning and summer residence classes for specially gifted children, aged eleven years and older. I read about him in the paper, one column-inch of text, a little snippet. “Of course, I sent a note of congratulations plus a $2-bill. In return, he dispatched a bouquet of flowers with a sentence –The world should befull of people like you. Now that’s rare!“Carlsbad has produced some recent noteworthy gracious scholars. Megan Brown and Sarah Neiman come to mind. Sarah took my course in sign language. She was a very busy and productive student, involved in an array of ambitious activities. Yet she was so conscientious that she would phone me in advance if a conflict caused her to miss a class. That’s dedication!“One trio of siblings I shan’t name. They came out of a cesspool, an absolute cesspool of abuse at the hands of their own father. You wonder how such kids survive! Yetin timethey all thrived. Pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. I wrote recently to the son, saying it’s been a while since I’vesent youa $2-bill. He’s a wit, wrote back –Yes, I’m due for another, and there’ll be a late fee!His sister finished her LPNand is hard at work on her RN. I’m at the top of her admiration society.”

Ann Halford (6)$2-Bill LadyWhen questioned about Christmas and Thanksgiving, Ann speaks with heartfelt conviction.“We must keep Christ in Christmas. Of course we know He wasn’t born in December –with shepherdsand sheepin the fields. Christmas and Thanksgiving should be year-round. I give thanks all day long in tiny prayers. Giving is vital. Look at my health. Still up and at it! God has blessed me so much!“The Old Testament made it simple –ten percent. Withahundred cows, any numbskull can figure youdonate ten. If you have ten dollars, one of them belongs to the Lord. “But the New Testament makes atestofour giving–Give as you have been prospered. Oh wow! I have a good place to live.I’ve never missed a meal. I don’t have to work anymore. Beyond measureI have been blessed! So how do I give as I have prospered? That’s a hard one! Christ wouldn’t have said that unless he expected me to comply –if I so desire. That’s the thing. You mustwant to be a giver. And it takes practice. “A rich man in his elder years finally starts going to church. He’s worked hard to gather wealth. Why should he just give it away? First week he drops one dollar in the basket. The next week two. Thereafter three, then four, then five. He keeps on giving till it stops hurting him to give. He learned what was expected and then taught himselfto give. We all can do that.”

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