He jumped out of the chair in The Union’s lobby when I walked up, and stood ramrod-straight, hand outstretched. “Hello!” he said. “I need your help.” I noticed he carried some papers and wondered what the conversation would be about. Around here, you never know.
Well, Grandpa Jack, as 77-year-old Jack Bogue is called, didn’t beat around the bush. He’d raised a lot of money for Muscular Dystrophy and he had the canceled checks sent to the Jerry Lewis Telethon to prove it. Now he needed me to help establish that proof.
An odd request, I thought, so I began asking questions. You might have noticed Grandpa Jack at the Friday Night Market in Grass Valley, because that’s where he did his fund-raising.
After 10 Friday Markets, Grandpa Jack totaled his take: $1,440. The largest bill he received was a $5. The smallest donation was a few pennies.
“I look ’em in the eyes and say ‘hello.’ If they say ‘hello’ back to me, sometimes they stop.” If they stop, Grandpa Jack’s got ’em hooked.
The reason for the visit was kind of heartbreaking, to tell the truth. Grandpa Jack befriended some teens who were hanging around the street on Friday nights. Most gave him a little money, week after week. But one girl, after dropping her change into the ratty can, looked him in the eye and asked, “How do I know this money is really going to the Jerry Lewis Telethon.” “How do I know you’re not just keepin’ it for yourself?”
That hit Grandpa Jack pretty hard, so he came into The Union to show me the checks so I would know that the money, indeed, had gone to Jerry’s Kids. He asked me to write about it, in case she, or anyone else who had contributed, wondered if he was an honest man.
Wondered if he was an honest man. That really got to me. Without faith, how do we really know who is an honest man? There isn’t always proof.
Grandpa Jack doesn’t have any connection to muscular dystrophy. But he likes Jerry Lewis and he figured it’s a good cause. How many of us would give up our Friday nights to stand outside and ask for money?
Grandpa Jack has only lived in Nevada County for two years, but he certainly has the Nevada County spirit. He also volunteers at Bell Hill School, and he told me he’s still got some time left over to help another good cause if anyone needs a guy like him. You can reach Grandpa Jack at 274-4403 – if you need an honest man.
Dixie Redfearn can be reached at 477-4238 or by email at email@example.com, or by fax at 477-4292.
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