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This is a conversation overheard in the grocery store: One young mother said to another, “I can’t believe it cost me $11 for my child to participate in the school field trip to the pumpkin patch. Last year, it only cost $5 and the year before that it was free.”

I wanted to ask this young mother who paid for the trip when it was free for her, to ask if she had given that any thought. The farmer had to purchase the pumpkin seeds, plow the field and plant them. Then he had to harvest them. He had likewise planted and harvested the straw, baled it and put it on the flatbed truck to haul his visitors around. And he had to pay for the gas, not to mention the mortgage on his house and farm and for food to put on his table for his family. I would bet that the farmer didn’t donate all that. I’ll bet the taxpayers paid in years past. Every April, we taxpayers pay our fair share and in the past, there was always enough left over to help children go free to the pumpkin patch. Only now, there’s not enough left over.

Our taxpayer dollar supply is running low because they are being used to pay for more food stamps and longer terms of unemployment, and even though President Obama keeps borrowing more money from China, there is still less available for things like the pumpkin patch. The next time someone offers you something for free, stop and think how this “freebee” came to be. Someone is paying.

I’m an old lady now, but when I was younger, I always paid for my children’s school activities and school supplies, and it was expected and assumed that all parents did that. How did we get where we are now when parents expect other people to pay?

One day, I would love to hear a “thank you” for the “free” things I was able to do for others over the years by paying my taxes. Now I am a retiree, and all I want is my Social Security — which I paid for. Thank you.

Sheila Warren, Huntingtown