Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Western Union takes a huge one. I'd forgotten how much it costs to get cash in a hurry to somebody who needs it. It had really been a while. It used to be that there was a window downtown, at various locations at various times. H-E-B is now among the many places, and I suppose that these days it can be done on line or by telephone. Those poor people who are out there sending cash every week to the other side really lose a lot in the transaction. We didn't have time to think. We couldn't tie up the telephone and anyhow we assumed that a TouchTone connection would be needed, though that may not be the case. If we'd been able to use the telephone, we could have checked on line with the dial-up connection. And we needed to get out to a financial institution before closing time. Now that I think of it, that must be why people get ATM accounts. As I thought I remembered, Orlandi Valuta is a subsidiary of Western Union these days. OV probably takes an even larger portion of what's sent. We're reminded all over again how it just takes one misstep or a little misfortune to have one foot slide over the edge and endanger everything that's been built up over the years, one medical crisis, one accident, one funeral bill. K.'s the one who heard the story first-hand, but I'm ashamed to say that I'm still affected myself, even though it's just by proxy, except for doing some of the thinking and legwork. It also brought to mind, upsettingly, quick trips to the jail on Crownpoint to bail people out and REH getting up from the table to answer calls on major holidays. I always think that, were it to come to that, I'd rather die than do it, but it's probably braver and better to ask for help.


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