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Monday - 03/22/2021 — I’ve been a supporter of public radio for years. I do the monthly automatic debit plan. When a fund-raising marathon comes on, I sometimes make an additional donation. Seven years ago was one of those times when I didn’t call in.

Imagine my surprise after the marathon was over to receive a notice from WABE that I was the grand winner of a three-day, two-night stay for two at the Cloister at Sea Island, a luxury resort on the Georgia coast. It seems that after years of making those prizes available only to folks who called in new or additional pledges during the marathon, they’d decided to open up the availability to those of us who were regular monthly donors. The package included a round of golf.

I don’t play golf.

So I called Sea Island to see if they’d be willing to change the round of golf to spa access. After some hemming and hawing and consulting with the management, they agreed. I called my friend Peggy to see if she wanted to join me in the adventure.

Fancy, fancy. This folded washcloth greeted me when I entered the bathroom. Our balcony overlooked the gorgeous salt marsh, where we watched the sunset that first evening and enjoyed the breeze that stirred the palms. Our days at the spa were idyllic.

The only thing I’d forgotten to think about when I accepted the grand prize certificate was that the several-thousand-dollar value would be considered income for me that year.

So my free vacation cost the price of gas for the car going and coming, lunches and suppers that were elegant indeed but as costly as they were beautiful, tips for the women who spoiled us at the spa, served us our meals, and tidied our room. Not to mention the tax bill the following April.

Next time WABE calls me, I’m going to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” The pretty washcloths just weren’t worth it.

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