“Oh, and there is one more thing. We haven’t discussed the subject of payment. You can’t get something for nothing, you know.”

— Ursala, the Sea Witch in “The Little Mermaid,” voice of Pat Carroll, born May 5, 1927

Ursala was probably right. You can’t get something for nothing – if the something you’re talking about is something someone has decided is very valuable and worth a whole lot of money and you’re the someone who wants the something, and, coincidentally, you’re broke.

But someone, somewhere, who wasn’t a sea witch, also said that the best things in life are free.

So what’s it going to be today? Well, maybe it won’t be free, but if you’re looking in the right places and doing the right kind of living, you can get an awful lot for not too much.

That’s what today’s kind of about – lots of good stuff to do, plenty of fun things to try and a few wonderful places to go. Those all add up to getting a whole lot for mostly a little effort and initiative. Plus, you might just come out the richer for being the one to appreciate what blessings are put before you.

Tra, la, la, ‘tis the first Saturday in May. South of the border they’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo, and honestly, a few patriots may be celebrating this side of the Rio Grande as well. Beyond that, it’s Bangs Mayfest, open house at Lake Brownwood State Park. Plenty of things are going on.

If you’re out and about, please make it a good day. Be kind because you can, generous because you’re able and patient because – well because – in the law of averages it’s your time to be.

Speaking of free

You are invited to the Lake Brownwood State Park’s 16th annual open house where plenty of fun things are planned and you don’t have to pay a park entry fee to get in or have a fishing license to fish while you’re there today. If you want to get there early, the gates open at 8:30 and activities, including a “catch and release” fish tank for school age children, “Operation Game Thief” trailer; a Buffalo Soldier program; and an interpretative program on identification of venomous snakes are scheduled until 3:30 p.m.

Proud graduates

Howard Payne University will graduate 154 students at its spring Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. in the Brownwood Coliseum. 

Of the graduates, 150 will receive bachelor’s degrees and four will receive Master of Education in Instructional Leadership degrees. The university will also present an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree to retired faculty member Dr. Robert L. Smith.

Dr. David L. Lowrie Jr., chairman of HPU’s Board of Trustees and senior pastor of First Baptist Church in El Paso, will deliver the charge to the graduates. Dr. Bill Ellis, university president, will confer the degrees along with Lowrie and other university administrators.

Rummage sales galore

More than several “for a good cause” rummage sales are going on throughout the county. Come buy, and you’ll be doing a good thing.

• Abundant Life Church, corner of Commerce and Highway 279, is having a rummage and bake sale starting at 8 a.m. in the church parking lot.

• Early Boy Scout Pack 4’s annual sale is 8 a.m. to 2-ish at the former Corral West store location in Heartland Mall.

• There will be garage sales all over Bangs, part of the annual Mayfest event. Maps are available at City Hall. But, of special interest will be the First Baptist Church’s sale (7 a.m. to 2) which is a fund-raiser for Caden Boyle and family. In addition to the rummage sale, you’ll be able to purchase breakfast and/or lunch.

Meanwhile, Bangs First United Methodist Church will have yard and garden plants, collectibles from two estates (1940s and ‘50s pottery, Avon bottles, glassware and cookie jars) and numerous other items. You can also purchase a brown bag lunch starting at 11:30 a.m. Money raised in this effort goes toward the church’s mission projects.

Mayfest parade

Bangs Business Association will sponsor the Mayfest Parade at 10 a.m. at City Park. Bands, police, fire trucks, trick mowers, floats from church groups, civic groups, out of town floats, and of course 4-wheelers and horses are needed. Wendell Byler is this year’s parade grand marshal.

There is no charge for entry, simply be there by 9 a.m. and get your spot in the parade. Parade route is all the way down Fitzgerald Street (past the park), then on through main street Bangs. Bring the entire family for lots to see at the Bangs Business Association Mayfest Parade 2012.

Need more meat

Also during Mayfest, the Bangs Lions Club will be hosting a fund-raiser to benefit the Bangs Food Pantry. Donate any of the following items: Spam, Vienna sausage, spaghetti sauce with meat, chili with meat or any other canned beef, chicken, salmon or tuna and receive two tickets for a drawing. The lucky winner will receive a $100 prepaid Visa card.

By the way

• The Lehnis Railroad Museum will be closed to the public today for a private party, but passengers can still ride the mini train. Train rides are $2.

• The Cox Cemetery Association will hold its business meeting at 9:30 a.m. Donations and memorials may be sent to June Beakley, 1557 County Road 448, Rochelle, TX 76872.

• The Jenkins Springs Cemetery meeting will be held at 11 a.m. at the cemetery. They will be discussing the designation of our cemetery as a Texas Historical Cemetery. A covered dish luncheon will follow the meeting. Please remember to bring your lawn chairs. Donations and Memorials may be sent to: Jenkins Springs Cemetery Association, c/o Alida Shelton, Treasurer, 8301 C. R. 292, Brownwood, Texas, 76802.

• The 60th annual Blanket Junior Rodeo will be begin at 7 p.m. today at the Blanket FFA Rodeo Arena. For information, call Justin Hopkins at (325) 642-6148.

• The Brown County Museum of History, which houses the Firearms Museum of Texas and the “Guns of Empire” exhibit is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is located in the old jail building, 212 N. Broadway.

• The Heart of Texas Dance Club meets from 7 to 9 p.m. each Saturday at St. John’s Church, on Main and Depot, for casual dancing — country and western and ballroom. Cost is $2 per person. Call 646-0048 or 646-0037 for information.

• In-town recycling is available on the first and third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. under the Austin Avenue underpass at Avenue A and Brady Avenue. The collection is made possible by Keep Brownwood Beautiful volunteers and the City of Brownwood. Items accepted are plastic jugs, bottles and containers with a No. 1 or 2 code; cardboard; glass jars and bottles; newspaper; aluminum cans; tin cans; cell phones; printer cartridges; white office paper; and magazines.

• Home Depot has a Kids Workshop from 9 a.m. until noon on the first Saturday of each month. Youngsters ages 5 and older are invited to participate with their parents. For information, call 643-1381.

• The Lake Brownwood Lions Club, 6751 Highway 279, will host bingo at 1:30 p.m. and then a dance from 6 to 10 p.m. Dance and listen to the music of George Allison and Friends. Admission for the dance is $4 per person. A concession stand and snack bar will be open.