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Communicating With the Dearly Departed

My father has reached the last and final stage of the 73rd National Sweepstakes. This, according to an e-mail received last week from Reader’s Digest. They have been unable to reach him, so the e-mails have been coming to me since July of last year. I have received no fewer than 23 of these promising e-mails. Reader’s Digest might have better success telepathically, as Dad passed away seven years ago.  It is an admirable effort on the part of Reader’s Digest to communicate with my late father. However, it’s not apt to bring about tangible results any time soon.  Reader’s Digest must be absolutely deflated, because Dad has responded to none of these invitations, so now they are becoming more informal and they are no longer addressing him as “Mr. Sprague”, but rather, by his first name.  

I am not inclined to contact Reader’s Digest and inform them that they won’t be getting a response from Dad anytime soon. I tried clearing up an oversight once before with them and learned that it is best to leave things as they are, and just keep moving all the incoming e-mails over to a folder titled “Pending”. Years ago, Dad had cancelled his subscription to the well known magazine, but for more than a year, monthly issues kept coming to his Picton address. I contacted the magazine, explained the situation, and was assured the error would be corrected. Soon after, Dad began receiving not one Reader’s Digest every month, but was now receiving two copies every month!

So, where does all this leave Reader’s Digest and my late father who somehow apparently has succeeded in clearing all three stages in the Sweepstakes? Does he have a shot at the half million dollars and a chance to take that long anticipated vacation or buy the yacht of his dreams? Unfortunately, Dad isn’t able to click the official access code in the e-mail, and win the half million dollars that Reader’s Digest is promising. He doesn’t have a computer at Glenwood Cemetery in Picton.

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About the Author: Terry Sprague became interested in nature at an early age. "Growing up on the family farm at Big Island, 12 miles north of Picton, on the shore of the beautiful Bay of Quinte, I was always interested in the natural world around me. During my elementary school days at the small one-room school I attended on Big Island, I received considerable encouragement from the late Marie Foster, my teacher in Grades 6 through 8. Her home was a short distance from where I lived and through the years she was responsible for developing my interest in birds. The late Phil Dodds, a former editor with the Picton Gazette, also a great nature enthusiast, suggested I undertake a nature column - a column I have submitted weekly since 1965. The column has since expanded to the Napanee Beaver and the Tweed News. Life has been good, and through the years I have enjoyed working with such nature related agencies as Glenora Fisheries Research as a resource technician, Sandbanks Provincial Park as a park interpreter and Quinte Conservation as a naturalist and outdoor events coordinator. As a nature interpreter, currently working from my home office, I now create and lead numerous interpretive events in the area and offer indoor audio/visual presentations to interested groups. Could one who is interested in nature have enjoyed a more exhilarating period in the work force?" Terry's website is

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    Someone I know kept getting books etc from readers Digest for 7 years after their father passed away and was demanding payment for them. If you once sign one of those sweepstakes things they will hound you forever.

  2. Louisa says:

    Terry, there is a huge part of me that is so hoping your Dad will continue on and succeed to the end to be the winner! Wouldn’t it make a wonderful newspaper story?

    Perhaps he can click the official access code through you, acting as proxy for him? After all, a very important and timeless relationship has developed between him and RD.

    Too funny – you had me laughing out loud at the folder called ‘pending’! Thanks for the Friday laugh :-))

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