Write Me A Love Story By RettaMichaels “The Queen of Gay Romance”
Write Me A Love Story
I drove and Stu sat in the passenger's seat.
“Don't thank me, thank yourself for having the strength to make it through.”
“I've cried today more than I have in years.”
“And you don't think you had a right to?”
“I've got to move on.”
“You'll move on, but let them get to know Eddie also.”
“I think it's time to move on.”
“Do what you feel you need, but know I understand. I'm not going to feel insecure because I know there's space for us both in your heart....and please don't think I mind sharing because he's the one person I'll share with gladly.”
“Yeah....and...??? You're supposed to stop loving him when he passed???”
“No, I mean it's time to start loving him in a past tense.”
I decided to switch subjects, “I'm glad we've met 'em. It's going to be nice helping out some people I care about.”
“What if they do it again?”
“Dammit! What if they don't! Begrudge someone enough and you'll show them one thing....that you're too damned set in your ways and it feels too fuckin' good!
You just said that you've got to love him in a past tense and let me say this once and final...Ok??? IF I die and you dig my grave up to use me to beat someone over their head, did you EVER love me? You're wearing Eddie out! Let him rest in peace already!”
He really started racking with sobs and I pulled to a stop and hit the flashers, and put it into park. I hugged him and he said, “Thank you. I felt like Eddie was telling me that...”
“Loving someone means you love them. Loving someone means you're independent and love yourself a bit more.
I know you loved him. I know you love me. I also know you love yourself. AND, I know you're angry and you've finally found out who did it.
What I'd like to do is open the door to your heart, not slam it shut....That's already happened long enough. I can't replace the years which were wasted when you shut down, but I WILL make the ones we've got left as happy and pain free as possible.
WITH every construction, there's some tearing down, putting away, and changes in thought, attitude, and dimension to YOUR being. We're building now. It's already been torn down....put away the jackhammer.”
He smiled, “The thought of me being in blue jeans, construction vest, and hard hat is too butch for my brain!”
“I don't know, you might look pretty hot!”
He chuckled, “What's on the agenda tonight?”
Well, it sounds like we're going to be going to this thing. We'll go back and get cleaned up, and then, we'll go out there. When we get there, we'll meet everyone, lay out our hopes, dreams, and plans. Then, we'll be welcomed in.
What I'm going to do is I'm going to drive us into town and buy LOTS of soft drinks in different colors. They're going to be spiking everything with moonshine, I'm going to have us plenty of whatever in the truck to pour ourselves so we're not too drunk.
From the sounds of it, they throw a hoedown and have music, singing, laughing, and a good old fashioned fun time. I'm welcoming myself to that because I DO enjoy that kind of thing....and yeah, they might also see us dancing, so you be ready.”
“Do you think so?”
“IF they have a couples dance, you have yourself up and ready. I think they'll be shocked enough when they see all the new couples they DON'T know about standing up to dance!”
He smiled, “I hope they're not too upset.”
“They won't be...and here's why...but first, I've got to stop staying parked here. Someone's going to think we're road huntin' or whatever.”
“Do you realize we just added on a whole new building to the one we're wanting to build?”
“Think of your building and then, think of two additional wings...one on each side.
When you walk in the door, you've got the lobby and yeah, I'm thinking about it myself....it's sorta Swiss chalet meets barn.”
“Ok, look up, you see a giant chandelier made of antlers, but if you look forward, you'll see it looks like a barn with barn siding and rather than lofts up there, you'll see flowers and windows...because that's going to be your control booth done up so it's a nice office.”
“Oh man, I never even thought about that!”
“To the left is the entrance to the snack booth and general store. The snack booth will be there and there will be barrels and lots of things which look old...we'll get 'em on ebay.”
“Like an old brass cash register. Like an old coffee grinder. Like an old brass butcher's scale. Like a LOT of penny candies and YET, we're going to have sassafras tea, ginseng tea....AND, I'm telling you now we're going to have to go with Pepsi products because I'm going to have antique Mountain Dew advertising because of the hillbilly they had.”
“In that general store, we're going to have the guy looking the part from the 1890's. He'll be dressed like that, but he's going to have on an apron also because the old butchers did that....
We're going to have it done up with lots of wood and glass cabinets. We'll have modern also, but if it takes me going out and painting everything white we get in as refrigerators, there's not going to be any modern....I'll paint all that white to look like brass or bronze and make it antique looking as possible.”
“You're really thinking about this!!!”
“I see it in my mind...all the way from the old style ceiling fans to the smells of potpourri to the tobacco twists to the meat section where John can have his little deli happening.”
“Will we get in trouble with the sales of meats?”
“Not us. We're a package sales outlet. Those meats will be labeled and shrunk wrapped when they get to us. We’ll have to get them that, but it'll be better because we'll be needing to order quite a bit of our own special items.”
“Ok, we're talking about getting into mail orders. IF we're shipping ANY THING, we need to consider that we'll need a well made box...not something they'll get it and be complaining that it's all beat up.
The most sturdy box made is a broccoli/banana box, BUT, I want to line it with bubble wrap. It keeps everything from bumping up together, and it keeps items from being damaged when those boxes are thrown around.
What WE need to do is we need to think about everything from the customer's point of view....and yeah, even in mail order, we've got to think about the customer's ease of opening that box and getting value for their money.”
“Do you think we're getting into the hillbilly thing too much?”
“No. We're in Branson. It's hillbilly capitol of the world and yeah, they damned well should've given themselves that title and did a entrance sign which played off on it, but I might just steal it and have that out there.”
“Could we change the title of it to hillbilly waters instead of Vienese waters?”
“Yeah, if that's what you want. It's better now to be thinking about what we want because it's going to cost a lot to change everything, but wait on the advertising until we get the new building....but when we do that, we're going to have a whole LOT of different things happening.”
“A website which uses flash so they can click on it and see 360degree views of inside the place, videos demonstrating what they'll see, and links to both Vienese waters and Hillbilly Waters as being the same place and the same website....we might also have the slogan, “Hillbilly Capitol of the World” as a trademarked slogan for us.”
He nodded, “I'm liking this all the better.”
“It's going to take a lot of different changes, but I think it's going to be better. The drawing power is in the value for the dollar, but when the customers get in there, it's going to blow them away that we've got everything the rest of 'em has, but we've got authentic items also.
NOW, to the right, I want there being a giant looking outhouse entrance with wooden doors with the moons and stars on them and everything.”
He started chuckling. “You ARE running with it!”
“We've got to go to an architect but here's what I'm thinking....How many seats are you going to want the new one to be?”
“Oh, I don't know....I don't want it too big.”
“May I interrupt you and say I think it needs to be up there?”
“You've forgotten what we're about to do tonight. We're going to a hoedown and barn party. When you realize the unemployment and lack of opportunities they've had because they were excluded, you'll look at it like I am.
ALL of those people can play, sing, dance, and they certainly can put on a show. Incorporate that into your show and you'll have a whole new aspect.”
He looked perplexed, “You mean trying to do it so it's with live music?”
“Yeah and no. I'm talking about them playing a song and doing a routine and you having a performance which is something like your swaying waters moving or popping waters popping to the beat....If it's a square dance, have the waters computer synched to the 'left' or 'right' or do-se-do voice commands.”
“Oh man! I never even thought about that!”
“It's all a computer and programming. You've got enough commands in your computers that it should be easy to have all that able to be called up instantly.”
He smiled really big, “YOU'RE REALLY thinking about this!”
“I'm thinking about how we can include everyone, but first, I've got to make a phone call.”
“Do you realize they have all that land and don't farm most of it because they don't have the equipment? As I walked around there today, I kept thinking how well they take care of everything and how nicely maintained it is, but how damned much $20,000 in their budget would change their lives.
I can call my Dad and get a tractor up in Hannibal for $400. With the attachments, it's going to be about $2,500. IF we can find a corn picker, it'll probably be about $400....so figure $3,000.
When you figure John's got that set up he's got and no refrigeration to store that meat in, you'll realize he's got to have that and he's got to have the ability to package everything.
For the jerky, we're pretty lucky. We can exchange glass jars with him and give him our empties for his full, but for everything else...like his barbecue sauces, he's going to need the ability to package.”
“Man, I hadn't thought of that!”
“Jars and a computer to label everything. Keep it simple and keep it so that people are getting their value for their money. It also helps us keep it simple on the shelves.”
was smiling from ear to ear, “I really think I've unleashed a
“You're REALLY going to have a meltdown when I talk about how I want to do things for those soaps and soap powder.”
“Ok, you're going to have to think with me here....but it's all about the packaging and ease of use. Ok?”
He gave a nod, “Ok.”
“I don't know if you paid attention to my kitchen, or not, but I've got a dishwasher and Sunlight packaged the dishwasher powder in little dissolve packages....It's sorta like the Listerine which melts in your mouth.”
“Ok, I've had those....burnt my tongue, but I thought they were neat.”
“Same thing...pre-packaged laundry detergent which is custom ordered. We have the lilac, lavender, and rose which not many have...if any.
We have 'em packaged up in jars with those flip top lids. Once again labels will be computer generated and it'll have all the directions and everything on that.
The ease of storage from the customer's point of view is this....we can sell the jar and we can sell the refill for the jar and have the price difference being whatever the cost of that jar is.
The plus side of that is this....tonight, you're going to see me over there with Liza Jane and Louella talking like a madman because THEY are the ones who have Grandma's recipe for that massage oil we used last night.”
MAN! I totally forgot about that!”
“It's that conversation with Rhen which got me into all the rest of this...and seeing what everyone's talents in making things were...”
smiled, “You had a LOT better day than me then!”
“You'll have it with 'em too. The past is the past and now, we're going to have a good one. You'll learn a lot of different things and you just be thinking about how you'll be when we concentrate on the positive.”
We pulled in to the lane where the cabins are located. He said, “I'll go home and get showered and ready and you do the same. I'll meet you back over here in no time at all.”
I went in and let Gypsy out. While she was out, I opened a can of peas and carrots and then diced up some bologna and set it down for her. After that, I got my shower and got ready dressing casual and making sure my black tennis shoes were polished.
In no time at all, Stu was back looking like a million dollars. Gyp came in with him and went right over to her food dish.
I said, “I've got to call up home and speak with my Dad and then, I'll be ready.”
He gave a nod and said, “I'll check my emails. Care if I use your computer?”
“Sure! Knock yourself out! It's your internet!”
He smiled, “I'm going to speak with 'em tonight about moving us to the motel and getting the cabin torn down.”
“Do you still want to do that?”
“Yeah, I want us having a place here and your place and our place in town.”
I dialed and when Mom answered, I spoke with her. Then, I got on the phone with Dad and asked him to begin looking for a tractor and attachments.
He said, “Oh man, let me make a call. Does it matter how old?”
“No, it's just them needing a tractor.”
“I know someone who has an old Johnny Popper (John Deere early models were called 'Johnny Poppers' because they had a 'pop pop' sound when the motors ran.). He's got a sickle bar, disk, harrow, hammer mill, planter, AND that corn harvester. He said he'd take a thousand for it as it sat, but it's not pretty.”
“That's fine...Paint doesn't cost that much.”
“I'll call you right back. Do you want me to go ahead and buy it if he's still got it?”
“Yeah, and tell him we'll be up this weekend. I'll have to find a trailer to pull, but we'll get everything down here.”
We're thinking about coming down in May. Your Mom wants to meet him just as soon as possible.”
“How about this weekend? We'll come up and have everyone met and then, maybe on Easter weekend, you guys can come down.”
“OH! I think she's got something planned....a dinner or something.”
“How about you guys driving down on Friday and then, we can show you around and show you the show and that way, we're not trying to have him being met when it's the busiest part of the year?”
“I'll tell her. I don't think she's thought about the possibility of him being busy.”
“I'd rather you guys see it before the remodeling starts. After Easter, we're going to be full on into remodeling and getting new seats, carpet, and lighting into the theater for this season and then, it'll be us building a new building for next.”
“Is he taking it commercial?”
“Yeah, but no....it's a whole new concept. It's probably us doing what should've been done all along....We're incorporating a lot of things and doing what they do up at Dogpatch....we're having items sold on site by the locals.”
“OH! Well, don't have tags which say 'Made in China' on them like those one cedar boxes were at Dogpatch. I couldn't get over that.”
“I certainly understand. When we come up, I'm going to bring you guys some of this lotion they make...and I'll bring you some of this homemade soap.”
“You know I'm allergic to everything.”
“This is 100% natural Dad. We had burns from the powder they put in the air bags and were red as beets until we put this on and then, it instantly soothed it. By morning, you couldn't tell we were burned at all.”
“Yeah, and this stuff isn't like lotion. When you put it on, it's like an oily water. It goes on smooth as silk and instantly, when it touches your skin, you feel it's cooling and yet, it's like a lotion because you have a miniaturization of your skin, but it's really cheating to call it lotion....it's more like an oil.”
“I'll try it.”
“They make their own soaps. It's lye soap and then, they add in the smells. For the lilac, lavendar, and rose, they use oils from those flowers....100% natural. For the body soap, they have several different kinds. They've got oatmeal and they've got a lot of others.”
“Get me a case of that oatmeal! That's what the dermatologist said for me to use. I couldn't find any, but I know that stuff is good because we used to have it when I was a kid.”
“Now, do you want the best news?”
“You can wear colognes again.”
“She makes laundry powder with it. She puts it in the soap and you can have a bar of soap with it or you can have laundry powder which scents your clothes....all it is, is her taking some of that soap and running it across a window screen to make soap powder.”
“Yeah, I learned a lot and taught a lot today. Basicly, I made 'em 'Fiddlestiks' with the cheese in the bread and everyone loved it....except we also took butter and honey and put that in some of the bread also...but one of the guys makes his own jerky and you ought to taste the stuff. He flavors it all with real wood smoke and it's the best ever.”
“Get us some of that also!”
I chuckled, “Ok Dad, but remember you'll be down here too! But, I'll bring some up.”
“You just realize your Mom's concerned. You're still her baby and she's going to want to make sure you're fine.”
“I will be. There's a lot of changes, but a lot of them are for the better....Speaking of which, I'm going to be opening my own construction and landscaping business down here.”
“I know you certainly can do all that. She might doubt you, but I know you did a lot with your house and yard.”
“This is a lot of that and using what I learned at work and taking it to a whole new level. I'll have blueprints for you to see and then, you'll understand...Well, you'll see a lot of it completed when you see the show later this summer.”
“Ok, let me make this call and I'll call you right back.”
I hung up and said, “He's making the call. He knows someone with a Johnny Popper and all the attachments for $1,000.”
Stu looked surprised, “Really!”
“Yeah, he's making the call right now to see if it's been sold. IF not, we're going to have to get a couple trailers and go up to get them, but the plus side of it is we can make a day of it and have Rhen and John with us.”
He nodded, “That'd be good!” He paused and then, said, “I couldn't help but overhearing your side of the conversation...”
“It really made me happy to hear you talking about 'us' and 'we' and everything.”
“You need to realize something. My Mom is distrusting at first. When she accepts that we're a couple, she'll be better, but it's STILL going to be 'mine is mine' and 'yours is yours' until we have her believing otherwise and then, she'll probably be “Jeremy, you be good to him because you're using him for all he has...”
He looked upset instantly and I said, “I know and you know... What I think is when she sees that we're standing the tests of time, she'll accept we're a couple.
What you should know is she saw Dave using me for everything I had and using my income to pay for his truck. Now she realizes how much he wasn't any good and it's bit him in the ass.
Our main concern now is to move forward and be moving things to us being an us down here. She'll get used to it and that's when it'll be moved over to her thinking about there being an 'us'.
In regards to my Dad, he's pretty laid back. I would love to say we're closer than we are, but it's not been like that. He's there for me whenever I make the effort, but at the same time, he's a good man and damned nice.”
“What am I not getting here when you tell me about him...You hardly mention him.”
“He keeps me at arms length. Usually there's interference ran by my Mom and I have a feeling he's known there was going to be a day that I'd tell her to get the hell out of my life and he'd have to stand with her as I took that step, so he keeps me at a distance.”
“I think you're doing it the right way. If they see it as a step for the betterment of your future, they'll be fine with it.”
“I hope you don't mind that I invited them down for Easter weekend to see a show. It's just that I want them to see it before the work begins so that they know what I've done and how it's going to be.”
He shook his head, “I understand. You want there to be recognition for yourself and that's fine.”
“No, it's not that....well, I guess it is, but it's deeper than that. I want there to be recognition that I can take on something big like this and that way, she won't doubt me. Maybe it'll give her more pride in me, but if it doesn't, I know it will me.”
He gave a nod, “I completely understand.”
My phone rang and when I answered, Dad said, “It's yours. He said he'd deliver everything for an extra $300.”
“Does he know it's coming to Branson?”
“I told him. He said fuel for the truck would come in at about that and I don't think he's giving himself enough leeway, but that's on him.”
“Here's what I'll do....Tell him I'll have it delivered, but tell him that I'm going to insist to fill his stomach and his truck when he comes. That way, it's more honest on our parts.”
“I'll certainly do that. When do you want it delivered?”
“Stu's got a doctor's appointment tomorrow at 1pm in Springfield. It's going to be an initial consultation and then, we'll have to go back...
We should be done by 5pm at the very latest...but that'd have him arriving home too late. IF he'll deliver it, I can let him stay here or we can get him a motel up on the strip.”
“Get him a motel up on the strip. I don't want anyone knowing we've got a place down there. When you've got a place down there and everyone knows, you're lending the keys to everyone and I don't like that....Well, your Mom and I made the agreement we'd never do that when we bought it.”
“Ok, but I want you knowing that we'll be living up on the strip in his motel this year.”
“Are you familiar with the cabin which is right next door...the white with maroon trim?”
“That's Stu's. We're tearing it down and putting up a new log cabin, but we're also going to build in a new apartment into the new building up on the strip so we're not fighting traffic.”
“OH! So he's got a motel also?”
“He's got a motel, Burger King, Dairy Queen Brazier, a strip mall and some vacant land. He's also got half interest in some other things.”
“It sounds like he's done good for himself then!”
“Yeah, he bought land when it was real cheap per acre.”
“So he's older then?”
“How'd you meet?”
“I was out on the dock and he was sitting out in his yard. We got to talking and that's how it happened.”
“He's super nice.”
“Where do you want this delivered?”
“Does he have a cell phone?”
“Tell him to take it to the Vienese Waters on the strip. If I tried telling him how to get out there to where it's going, he'd be lost in these hills forever....
It's about 20 miles from there, but for me to give directions, it'd be hell....BUT, if he's got a GPS, I can get him there by those coordinates.”
“I don't think he has one in that truck, but I imagine he would in his car.”
just tell him Vienese Waters and see if that Johnny Popper has a
kerosene tank also.”
“Some people took 'em off or poked holes to make a bigger gas tank.”
(The early John Deere tractors had it so you could run it on gas or kerosene. Traditionally, you operated on Kerosene in winter because it wouldn't gel or freeze. When you're wanting to get plenty of heat off an engine to keep yourself from freezing, you want something which burns hotter also.
The advantage is this....Rather than kerosene, you could distill your own alcohol and burn it as a fuel. OR, you could put diesel in and burn it as a fuel.
Many of the early American inventions were duel fuel capable...For example, the saying for the early Model T's was “You can run everything through it except Grandma's hose!”....and yet, to this day, people don't realize you got 40 mpg with one way back then.)
“I'm asking because they've got a still up there somewhere and it'd be free for them to operate if they chose to do so.”
“Oh man! Bring some of that!”
I laughed and he said, “My God! I've not had any since I was a teenager!”
“I'll bring some, but we've got to get a move on now.”
“I'll tell him you'll have the money when he gets there...and I'll tell him all the rest. Are there many shows open right now?”
“Nah, but we'll make sure he sees our show.....By the way, Mel Tillis is a good friend of Stu's.”
“Yeah, Mel was the one who was first on scene when we hit the deer. He said he didn't see the deer, but he saw us hit and go over the embankment.”
“My God, are you ok?”
“Yeah, I'm keeping the head and having it mounted!”
He laughed, “There ya go!”
“We donated the meat to a needy family and then, later found out the guy who makes all the jerky does all the processing for everyone and shares with his entire family....which is a huge clan.
We're going there for a barn dance and family carry in tonight to meet everyone. The Sheriff, our insurance agent, the Ford dealer, and my Bobcat dealer are all in the same family, so you know there's a lot of 'em.”
“Well, have fun and don't drink too much!”
“I've already been forewarned about a lot of things. For example, no one's to eat from the yellow crock pot unless they want raccoon stew.”
“I'm told they don't eat that much varmint, critter, and slither unless times are tough....but they all stay up on how it's prepared so that they're not too proud to eat it.”
“It sounds like you're getting in with a good bunch down there. Just be careful.”
I rang off and Stu hugged me, “Ok, let's get a move on. I'll go ahead and get a room reserved in the motel.”
“I'm not sure he'll use it, but I want to have a good presentation so that when the guy gets back, he can call Mom and Dad and tell them how much of a good time he had and work it to our advantage.”
He kept hugging me, “I'm glad you're thinking fast on your feet.”
“Here's why I told Dad what you've got. You're going to take Mom around and show her and then, she's going to be impressed and run back and tell Dad who's going to tell her, “I already know all about that...Jeremy told me.” and then, she's going to have it further reinforced.”
He laughed, “You're a little manipulator!”
“It's all a part of us getting accepted in with her. When she's settled on it, it'll be better.”
“I'll be happy to get to know her. I think it's great they've accepted you being gay and that you've got a relationship with them at all. My parents don't hardly speak to me and Eddie's threw him out...Well, My Mom told me that it was better that I live away from them now.”
“I still want to meet them.”
“We will. Just don't be expecting miracles if they're less than kind.”
“Ok, let's get to going.”
We went up to the strip and bought a bunch of different kinds of sodas....all colors and then drove out to the Sheriff's house.
When we pulled up, I was amazed at all the different styles of vehicles....well, there were a few buggies and mules also...but it was clear and evident the people were already there.
When we got out, Em came running over, “Hi!”
I gave him a hug and said, “Stu, this is Em. Em, this is Stu...my partner.”
Em and he shook hands and Em said, “I want to thank you...but I need to know when you can go shopping with me?”
I looked over at Stu and said, “Em's needing to go shopping for clothes so he's looking better in the business environment. I told him I'd help him so that he'd do better with his place.”
Stu nodded and I said, “When we go, I'd like for you to go also. That way, we can get some things for you and I and have Em knowing that you dress that way already.”
I pointed at Stu's outfit and asked, “Do you like those clothes Em?”
“That's what we're going to have you dressed like.”
He gave a nod and Donna came swooping in. “Hi Guys! I need for you to meet my Mama!”
I told Em we'd see him later and then, we went to meet Donna's Mama....Virgie.
Through the night, we met tons of people and Stu was overwhelmed with remembering names. Me, I had people's names memorized and had their pictures going into the phone with birthdates, addresses, and everything. Stu kept smiling at me and said, “You're really doing good!”
“You'll learn how to memorize people's names. Me, I remember something or some trait and then, remember names that way.
When I'd do business with someone, it'd help me out tons when some customer would walk in and I'd know them, as well as have their system remembered. That way, I wasn't selling them something they didn't need and I was keeping that person a customer rather than losing them to Home Depot or Lowe's.”
“I never thought about that, but you're right!”
“It's all a part of customer service, but you'd be amazed at how it carries over into your everyday life. If you see someone someplace else, you can say hi to them and know their name and THEN, they take the time to learn your name...because it embarrasses them to not remember it.
Suddenly, when someone comes into the store, they're feeling like a friend rather than a customer and they KNOW you're not being fake in the walls of the business.
For me, it works better because they KNOW I sold 'em the pool, know what they've got, know their name, and they tend to trust me above all the other employees when it comes to keeping their pool maintained.”
He gave a nod, “That'd be good.”
“Here's how that worked and then, you'll understand better. In the office, we have a small fire safe which is alphabetized and in that, we keep people's keys for their locks, gates, or whatever.
You'll learn that when people trust you to do all that, they're awfully free about giving over those things as well as alarm codes and whatever.
When that stuff started happening, I'd put all of it into my phone and carry a huge key ring around and have the key with a bit of white tape so I'd know what went where. The reason I did that was because I was afraid of us being robbed over night and having all that information at the disposal to the thief.”
“Oh man, I didn't think about that!”
“Now the owner carries the key to the safe and all those stay in the safe. When we're to make a call to a house, we pull the key and have it in the envelope and for someone to get a key, they've got to give back the key and envelope from the prior call. That way, nothing's lost or disappears.
What's interesting is one day, all that will be in the past and everyone will have a swipe card or key fob to unlock certain locks on the property and the alarm system will know to rearm itself when that key fob isn't in the proximity of the transmitter.”
“That's probably going to be a long time away.”
“Not if I've got anything to do about it! I'll have those locks for us and have those key fobs for our employees. They'll find that if they want into a certain room or storage room, they'll be able to get access if it's programmed in, but for your office or wherever, it won't.”
“Oh, that's a thought!”
We went around and finally, the Sheriff got everyone's attention. He said, “Everyone, I'd like for you to meet Jeremy and Stu. Some of you have met them already, but we're welcoming them into the family.
Stu's giving everyone in the area a discount for his show up there, and he's told me you ALL get a family discount which is even MORE!”
I turned, “Can I tell 'em?”
He smiled, “SURE!”
I said, “Everyone, here's the deal. If I recognize you, you get in free. We'll be giving you free passes to get in also, but that's what we do for our families and that's what you get.
Stu and I are doing a lot of construction up there. IF you want a job, come to me and I'll get you to working for either one of us. AND, if you make something, or want to sell something up there, we'll be happy to get it sold for you.
The way it will go is this....and I'll use John and Rhen as an example...
John, as you know makes jerky and his own barbecue sauce. He also whittles little curios and all those would sell. Let's say he has a jar of barbecue sauce. We put a price of $3.30 on it because John gets the $3.00 and for us having it in the store, we get 30 cents.....We get 10% of whatever, and you guys get the rest.
Rhen makes wonderful bread. If we sell that for $3.00 a loaf, he gets that and we get 30 cents. If we sell one of John's curios for $5 or $10, we get 10% and he gets the rest.
Earlier today, we had the honor of getting to go to their home and meeting them. Stu and John got to know each other and Rhen and I did likewise.
Rhen said a lot of you know how to make and build different things. He said there's a man over in Hell's Holler who sells crocks, so we'll have him selling crocks in the store.
I've heard Mama Virgie makes the best jams and jellies everyone's put in their mouths and I'll be happy to sell 'em for her.
Louella and Liza Jane both know how to make things. We'll be happy to sell 'em and we'll certainly be happy to show 'em how to get things packaged so they can be sold.
What you should know is this....all of us have something we can sell. All of us know how to do something which someone else doesn't. I'm happy including you and I'm also happy to help make it so your items can be sold.
What ELSE you should know is this....This isn't going to be just for the season. We're printing up fliers and we're going to have the items able to be bought year round through the mail. We realize people might buy just once, but we also realize they might buy more than once if they've got the flier and can make the call to order it.
For those of you who don't have skills or are too young, we're going to need people to work in the snack shop or to pack boxes and get them sent in the mail.
For those of you who are making things, or just because they might need canning jars, lids, and all that...we're going to have jars bought for you wholesale so you're not having to pay high store prices.”
I turned and looked at Stu, “Can you remember anything else:?”
He shrugged and I said, “Before you spike the punch, I need a jar of that 'water'. I told my Daddy about it and he said he wants a jar as he's not had any since he was a teenager.”
Everyone laughed and I smiled, “Everyone, I know you're plannin' on getting' us drunk and that's fine, but when I get on my 'glow', I'm gonna start drinking plain soda. Stu's got a doctor's appointment tomorrow and I really need to be able to drive rather than clutchin' my head.”
Everyone laughed again and I said, “I'm happy to get to meet all of you and want you knowin' I'm thinkin' of everyone when I'm away from here. For example, here's a surprise, so I'd like for Rhen and John to come on up.
Rhen and John came up and I said, “Tomorrow afternoon and early night, you guys have your schedule cleared. I bought a Johnny Popper tractor with all sorts of attachments and it'll be delivered out there to you guys. I told my Daddy to make sure both tanks are able to operate so that you can use some water in it and run it that way also.
I'm not sure if the belt is there, but if not, I'll look high and low for one if you don't know who has one.”
They were looking surprised and I said, “Everyone, this is a donation to the family. Yeah, I gave it to them, but as you know, they're going to be happy to lend it to whomever needs it. I know they're not selfish and I know I'm not, so let's get some use out of the thing.
What I know is there's a sickle bar attachment as well as a corn picker and a corn planter. There's a plow, disk, and harrow, but I'm not sure what else.
IF you've got some attachments or know what's needed, let me know and I'll get 'em bought. You might have to help still the water to get it to run, but it's legal if you're doing it for a farm implement and now you've got one!”
laughed and the Sheriff smiled at me and gave a nod. He said,
“Everyone, let's get to eatin'.”
We went down and went through the line. Stu and I stay close and at one point, he asked, “Is this chicken?”
“Frog's legs. That over there is squirrel.”
“OH! I'm glad you know these things!”
“My Mom and Dad use both parts of the frog when they cook 'em. I'm not sure what she does with the rest, but if she needs to know how to cut 'em up, I'll show her.”
“You know how?”
“Yeah, I didn't say I didn't help cook....I just refuse to eat it!”
He laughed, “That's funny!”
“You'll think it's funny when I'm draggin' turtles off the road and dressin' 'em out to give someone the meat!”
“Now you know a person will eat anything. Lord knows I've learned how to kill it, dress it, clean it, and cook it.”
got through the line and I'll tell you now that I had one entire pie
made up of all the different pieces I took. Stu gave me a look,
“You're going to be sick from eating all that!”
“You're gonna help.”
“I got what I wanted!”
We sat down over on a bale of hay and Rhen and John came over also. Em came over and sat on the ground using the end of a bale as his table.
John said, “Guys, you don't have to be buying us things.”
“I'm not. I told you I'd help and I am! Just lend it and we'll see what we bought when it gets delivered tomorrow.”
Rhen said, “A lot of people are going to be needing it. It'll make everyone's gardens a lot bigger.”
I gave a nod, “Let 'em know that if we find we don't have something to sell, we'll find a way of making it. I need to know if someone here makes homemade Maple syrup.”
Stu instantly said, “Mmm, that sounds good.”
Rhen said, “Pap over there does that, but he's teachin' young Jeb over there how to do it also. Why?”
“Does he make it in the copper kettles?”
“Naw, his is a great big iron cooker. They had to haul that in from the railroad with oxen.”
I gave a nod, “Ok, I'm needing someone who has copper kettles. If not, I'll buy 'em, but we're going to need to make a whole lot of salsa.”
Rhen gave a look, “What's salsa?”
I gave Stu a look as I was thinking about how to describe it and said, “You take onion and tomatoes and you stew 'em together. You throw in some cilantro and hot peppers and you've got salsa.”
He shook his head, “I've never had it.”
“It's easy to make, but Stu and I are going to be too busy to make that much.
What I'm wanting to do with it is I want to serve it on tortilla chips at the snack shop and have some of that soft white cheese you make melted on the side.
I figure if we sell the soft white cheese and the salsa in the store, we can have people tasting it before they buy it by purchasing those chips with those on the side.”
Stu asked, “Does anyone make those chips out here?”
John shook his head, “I don't even know what kind of chips you're talking about unless they're potato chips....and then, you need to look to about everyone because I think everyone makes 'em.”
I said, “These are made with corn flour, a dab of water, eggs, and some wheat flour. Have you ever had Doritos?”
John said, “I have. He turned to Rhen and said, “You make about the same thing when you make corn crisps.”
Rhen instantly knew and I said, “My Mama makes chili sauce from her tomatoes and we use that instead of salsa back home. You dip the chip in it or you dip the chip in the melted cheese.”
He smiled, “That sounds good!”
“It's one of my favorite snacks. It's healthy and if you make chili, you can eat that with them also.”
He nodded, “That's what we do.”
I said, “I'm thinking about homemade apple sauce, and thinking about a lot of different things.”
Rhen said, “Apple butter.”
Stu said, “Yeah!”
I said, “All of those things....I'm thinking not just apple butter, but pear, persimmon, and possibly plum butter also.”
They looked surprised, Rhen said, “I've never had some of those!”
“It's made the same except there's no cinnamon in them unless you put some in the persimmon. I've also tried Peach, but I don't care for it....It seemed too much like peach pie without crust or bigger pieces.”
Rhen said, 'Mmm!”
I said, “I'm thinking about those sorts of things....Things which we can put into jars and have on shelves.”
John asked, “Everything?”
“No, your meat will be out in the open.”
I smiled and Em outright laughed. John smiled really big and Stu gave me a smirk. Rhen giggled, “John, I told you he's funny!”
We finished eating and then, went into the barn and the people in the band all gathered around and began playing.
What was cool is as people knew songs, everyone sang. Stu and I knew some and sang along, but when Emmy Sue got up to sing a song, I got goosebumps because her voice was so beautiful.
I turned to Stu and he gave a nod.
What was refreshing is people got up to dance when they felt the need and played instruments as people tired out. Also, it was mixed in between religious songs, old country, and new. That's why I was surprised when Emmy Sue got up and sang “Underneath Your Clothes” by Shakira. Yeah, it sounded folksy, but it surprised me.
Sometime during the evening, I was handed a jug of 'water' (shine) and showed how to play it. Basicly, you blow into a jug and the more you tilt it, the more you make a bass sound.
Little did I know breathing the fumes while playing will make you drunk. Basicly, the fumes mix with the saliva in your mouth and you're drunk!
I realized it was this way....Stu asked me for a dance and I got up
and the world tilted. He gave me a funny look and said, “You
haven't drank anything!”
“I've been playin' that damned shine jug!”
He smiled real big, “Them sneaky dogs!” and started giggling. I dance with him...
When we got home, I don't remember much. I remember laying down and the world spinning and me taking a run to the bathroom to be sick. After that, I don't even remember getting back to the bed.
The next morning, I woke to the smells of steak and eggs....and Gyp sitting there staring at me panting....her way of telling me, “Get up and open that door!”
I went and opened the door and Stu smiled, “How ya feelin'!”
He whispered, “How ya feelin'!”
I'm probably the laughing stock of that whole family.
“Nah, you apparently love me and didn't care that anyone knew it!”
I smiled, “I don't recall that.”
“You created your own song to sing about it.”
“It was well received....and brought quite a few laughs.”
“You should've shoved some of that bread in my mouth and shut me up.”
“There wasn't much left except for the raccoon stew.” He said giggling. “I seriously thought about that, but I was afraid you'd like it and ask to take the rest home!”
“No more playing the jug.”
He chuckled and we ate breakfast. He asked, “What are we doin' after breakfast?”
“I gotta get up there and see if anything got delivered and then, get all that put away. Other than that, we need to fuel and check the truck out and then, head on over to Springfield so we're not late.”
We left and drove in. When we got to the show, I saw four more cartons sitting at the doors. I got those moved and put into the box trailers and then, went in to find Stu on the phone.
From the conversation, he was speaking with the lawyer....telling him how he wanted things worded and so on.
When the call was over, he said, “He's taking the liberty to redact the last Will and Testament and move everything into your name.”
I asked, “I need to ask you a few questions.”
His eyebrows rose, “Ok.”
“Can we get all the corporations into a Trust in our names?”
“You probably don't realize it, but it's smoother transition after death. With everything the way it is now without a Trust, I'll still have to pay 60% inheritance taxes. That's the appraised valuation and then, pay that tax....and guess who pays for the appraisal?”
looked shocked, “That's TERRIBLE!”
“Oh, it gets better! No business licenses until the taxes are paid and no, I can't sell any property in order to pay the taxes for the rest...AND, the county and state can freeze the assets which means the bank accounts.”
“Why didn't they do that for everything when Eddie died?”
I shrugged, “I imagine it's because they know you both did everything together, but I'll tell you it's at the discretion and whether you've got unscrupulous judges on that court.
Just the same, I'd feel better if you would ask them to do that....or at least have a insurance policy so I'd be helped to pay those taxes.”
“I'll call him. He asked and I thought a Trust was for rich people.”
I smiled, “You DO realize rich people are the ones with $12 or 13 million in the bank coming from investments, right?”
He gave me a smirk, “Listen here youngster!”
He hit redial and smiled at me. When it was answered, he said, “Hi Glenda, would you tell Mark that I've changed my mind on the Trust and now understand what it is?”
He listened and looked up at me, “Revocable or Non-revokable?”
“Tell her all the property we want in Non-revokable and all the cars and things we're planning on selling before death, like boats, cars, trailers, and equipment, should be put into Revokable so we can change those out and not be tied into holding them until one of us dies.”
He gave a nod and said to me, “She heard and said that's how it's normally done.”
I said, “You're going to have to have a catchy name for it or put it into the corporate name.”
He smiled and said, “Carol, don't you DARE put it into the Corporate name! I was young then and a bit of a smart ass.”
I could hear her laughing and said, “Ok, what do you want as the Trust name?”
He smiled real big and said, “I'll let him name that.”
He said, “It's NOT going into Butt Pirate Corp!!!”
I smiled and said, “Tell her you'll spell it out for her what I want.”
He giggled and said, “He's going to tell you by spelling it out. Ok?”
I could hear her laugh and he handed me the phone, I said, “Hi Glenda, here's what I want.”
She said, “Ok Jeremy! By the way, nice to meet you. I'm SO GLAD he's found someone.”
“Ok, I'm ready....”
She started laughing real loud, “Oh, he's got WHO he needs in you, that's for sure! Ok, Buccaneer Trust.”
“That was the first thing which popped into my mind when I heard the name of his corporation. The second was AssMasters, but with Bass Pro Shop here, it might get confused as theirs.”
She giggled, “Ok, Buccaneer it is!”
“If that's taken, put it into GuessWhereMyPatchIs Trust.”
She laughed real loud, “Ok!” I could hear Stu laughing, “GIVE me that phone!”
I handed it back and he said, “Yeah, he's funnier than hell!” Then, they laughed and he said, “Thanks Glenda. I'll have my cell if he needs anything.”
He hung up and smiled real big at me, “I've seriously thought about changing the name of the corporation several times.”
“Nah, leave it that way. It's enough to make us smile when we pay the taxes every quarter!”
He smiled, “Ok, let's get out of here.”
We went out and drove to the filling station and then, we got fuel and checked all the fluids. After that, we hit the road to Springfield.
When we got to Springfield, he said, “The hospital's over there. St. John's Regional...that's where Eddie died.”
“Ok, what do you want to eat for lunch?”
“I don't care. You choose.”
“IF I go to Chili's over there, we'll be too stuffed to go to the doctor and be comfortable. I'll pick Subway.”
We went to Subway and then, ate lunch. He said, “I really like this! It's something I've never thought about eating because I thought they'd be expensive!”
“It's a bit more than the dollar menu, but it's healthier than a burger any day.”
“Are you saying I pick dollar menus?”
“No, I'm saying that for the average person, they pick a dollar menu and usually want whatever they can through a drive thru window. Them having to get out of their car has them deciding to go to fancier restaurants where they'll get more for their money.”
He said, “I don't know....Long John Silvers....oh forget it, they've got a drive thru...”
I said, “In order for them to have a drive through here, they'd have to have that preparation unit up against a big window and low enough for people to look in. That'd make foot traffic having to use a different unit thereby doubling the cost within the store for multiple units running and twice the amount of fresh items.”
He gave a nod, “Well, I like this. I'm going to keep it on our list of restaurants we like.”
“I always get the same thing...Sweet Onion Chicken Terriyaki on Honey Wheat with everything the same. As you see, they double cook mine and raise an eyebrow, but to me, I prefer the onions, peppers, olives and everything cooked. Then, I tell 'em to throw on everything else and always get ranch and mayo both. Yeah, it loads up the calories, but what you're seeing here isn't more calories than a Big Mac and Fries....In fact, it's about 300 calories less and about tenth of the fat....Besides, I like having the thought my salad and my sandwich are the same thing.”
When we left, we went over to the hospital's clinic and went in to see Dr. Hawkins. She came in and ran through everything with Stu and asked a lot of questions. She said, “You're going to have to have some tests, but first, I want some blood, and urine. Your EKG came back fine, but it sounds like we're either dealing with urinary tract infection or something else entirely.”
I asked, “Dr?”
She said, “Yes.”
“You're going to need to change everything over to me in regards to his Living Will, and Medical Power of Attorney. Also, next of kin there is now deceased, so that would be me.”
She gave a nod, “OH!”
Stu said, “I'm in complete agreement. I hadn't thought about all that.”
She said, “I should've asked....” Her voice trailed off, “So Eddie passed away?”
I wanted to say, “Over 10 years ago!” but didn't.
Stu gave a silent nod and looked down. I said, “Doctor, he and I are partnered. I'm not meaning to butt in, but as you can tell, I wasn't aware when he'd last seen a doctor was nearly 14 years ago! As soon as I became aware there were problems, you got the call from him or I would've done it myself.”
She gave a nod, “I'll certainly do all I can.” I got the feeling she wasn't saying, “But it's too late.” and immediately asked, “When you know something either way, don't call us....you tell us to come in here and tell us face to face.
My Aunt got a terminal malignancy pronouncement over the phone when she was home alone. Since then, I've insisted two things....that the doctor give the news face to face and whether the findings were good or otherwise.
IF they're good, we're STILL going to schedule appointments at regular intervals and if they're not, we'll be here getting suggestions for what tests and plans of action need handled. I'm NOT going to fish in the dark and have to think about who to call if it's bad....not when I'm worried I'm going to lose him!”
She shook her head, “I don't think it's that serious yet. There are some symptoms which are leading me to wonder, but all of those can be explained by some simple tests. IF I thought it were anything terminal, we'd be hurting right now because all of the tests take time to get them scheduled and all the doctors I'm going to make appointments for you to see are at least 6 weeks out.”
I said, “Would you PLEASE tell them we own a bunch of businesses in Branson and six weeks away is hitting us at Memorial Day weekend? He'll tell you he's too busy and I'd rather us get him what's needed before we're facing that.”
She gave a nod, “I'll speak with these physicians myself.”
“Thank you. I appreciate everything and will rest easier if we're not facing anything major.”
She gave a nod and asked Stu, “What color is your urine?”
He said, “I guess it's normal.”
I said, “Doc, it's darker than mine....WAY darker than mine. If he'd pee right now, you'd probably find it brown.”
She abruptly said, “Ok, I've got to get a test.”
Stu said, “I thought it changed colors as you aged.”
She shook her head, “Clear to the color of straw at all times for all ages.” She gave him a look and asked, “Is that what it is?”
He shook his head, “It's dark yellow at the least.”
She gave a nod, “We're going to need to have tests done which has us checking for urinary tract infection, bladder infection, cysts, or possibly something with your kidneys or liver.
With it being more often than not and for quite some time, I don't think it's an infection.”
She stood up and said, “I'm going to have a real quick diabetes screening ran on you to see if that's what it could possibly be. Have you had night sweats or high amounts of thirst?”
He said, “I can't tell you about the thirst. I always keep something to drink with me at all times. In regards to the night sweats, I don't think I have them, but I've always been warm blooded and sweat easily.”
She shook her head, “I'll be right back. When did you last eat?”
He said, “Right before we came here we went to Subway and had foot longs.”
She gave a nod and said, “I'll be right back.”
She went out and he asked, “What do you think?”
“You don't want my opinion. IF everything were normal, she'd not be ordering a bunch of tests. With the symptoms you're having, it could be bad.
I'm not sure what people with diabetes have and don't have for symptoms, but I doubt if it's those symptoms.”
“So you think it's bad.”
“Eddie wouldn't have told me it's imperative if it were nothing.”
He gave a nod, “Ok, maybe he save my life.”
She came back in with a meter and used a thing to prick his finger. A dab of blood came out and she put it on the strip already in the meter. When it came back, it read 574.
She turned to me, “Have you eaten the same thing as him?”
“Today, I have. Last night, we had a family carry in and I accidentally got drunk on moonshine.”
She gave me a shocked look and smiled, “HOW did you accidentally get drunk on 'shine'!”
I said, “It was easy if you're dumb enough to play a jug which has some shine in it. You're huffin' and puffin' and blowin' into that jug and all those fumes are getting' breathed in and without knowin' it, you're drunk on your butt makin' up songs....APPARENTLY....about how much you love your partner and singin' 'em with everyone laughing.
The best thing about it was there weren't any tables to dance on as it was in a barn, but all I know is we got home and as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was having to run because the world started spinning.”
She looked at Stu and smiled, “Did you have some?”
He shook his head no, “No, we were really careful because we were forewarned they'd do it. In fact, we went into town and got a bunch of different kinds of sodas so we'd not get spiked.
did I know that playin' a jug would do that to him, but when I wanted
to dance, that's when I knew he was plastered!”
Her grin kept spreading and said, “Ok, GIVE me that finger!”
I said, “You wantin' to stick me?”
“Yeah, and don't be flippin' me no bird!”
I said, “Ok, take this one....” I gave her my right hand and she said, “No, left hand.”
She put it up against my finger and popped me. It bled and she took a reading. It read 220.
She gave a nod, “Stu, yours is reading twice as high as his when you've eaten the same things today. That's the first alarm diabetes is present.
We're going to have you give us some blood for a blood test. What that does is it will tell us if your blood sugar has been high for the last 3 months. If so, we'll know how bad your diabetes is. If not, and this is some fluke, we'll also know.”
He gave a nod and she said, “Until then, what I'm going to do is I'm going to prescribe to you these pills. I want you taking 2 of them in the morning and one of them at supper time. They lower your blood sugars and need to be taken with something you eat.
Until then, I want you drinking nothing but waters, tea without sugar, and cutting out the white bread, white rice, and learn to eat without a lot of salts.
You can eat whole wheat, whole grain rice, and you can use sugar substitutes. If you must use salt, try No Salt or Nu Salt. It's sodium, yes, but it's a different source of salt instead of salt salt.”
I gave a nod, “Ok, anything else?”
She said, “I'm going to give you a book. You be sure he takes his blood glucose levels with a meter five times a day. You take it 3 hours from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed.
If we lower it with this medication, we're in good shape.
If it's caused kidney damage, we'll be able to see through the blood test. I'm thinking this has went undiagnosed for quite some time and it's done damage to his kidneys. IF that's the case, we'll have to have more tests to determine the damage and then, we'll have to see how far along it is in it's progression.
She looked at him and sighed, “I'm telling you as person to person rather than doctor to patient that this doesn't look good. IF we're looking at kidney or bladder cancer, it's working against us and we've got but a little time because it's in your organs and spreading it to other organs like your liver, lungs, and brain.
I'm NOT sure it's went that far, but I know we're fighting a lot of things and I need you to understand you should've been in here to see me on a regular basis.”
I gave a nod, “If it's not that bad, I promise you he'll be in here with me like clock work.”
She turned to me, “Are you experiencing any symptoms?”
“Headache this morning and massive thirst and Stu had to whisper, but I've gotten better as the day's progressed.”
She chuckled, “I'll REMEMBER not to play a jug that had 'shine' in it!”
I smiled, “It was a good joke. I went for it hook, line, and sinker.”
She laughed, “I probably would've also!”
She took my blood pressure and gave me a complete physical. By the time we left, Stu had gave blood, urine, and received a prescription for a number of items.
As soon as we left, Stu said, “What do you think?”
laid her cards on the table. We'll know when the test results come
in. She gave us another appointment for next Monday, so she'll have
IF it's urgent, we're going to ask what doctors and tests you need and then, we're going to look high and low for a doctor who is available immediately and NOT waiting that six weeks.
IF it's not that urgent, then we'll wait it out and check our options.
What I'm telling you right now is this....DOCTORS are loyal to their own medical practices and their own clinics. They'll make you wait to see someone else in THEIR clinic whereas one across the street is available. The ONLY way they'll cut those alliances is if someone isn't available, then, they'll suggest a hospital which is a public hospital.
How do I know this? I have a good friend who is a Doctor up in Hannibal and he HAPPENS to run a physicians clinic. I had a doctor once who didn't listen and finally, I spoke with him about it in his back yard while I was cleaning his pool. He told me the truth and that's when he told me who to go to who was better.
Since then, he's been my primary care doctor. Yeah, it's sorta unethical that we've got a business relationship outside of things, but he's a damned nice guy and he's always made me feel like he's telling me the truth.”
“Would you call him?”
I dialed Doc Graper and when he answered, I asked, “Richard?”
“Yeah Jeremy! It's me!”
“Hi Richard, I need to tell you I've got a new love in my life.”
“What happened.....like I need to ask!”
“Well, I met him and he loves my dog, loves my house, doesn't throw fits in restaurants, and actually pays his OWN bills and owns quite a lot of investment properties down here in Branson.”
“Is that where you are?”
“Yeah, I just came down the day before yesterday after I threw Dave out and then, met Stu....Since then, we've dealt with a lot, but what I need is for you to see him in regards to a second opinion on some things.”
“Ok, who is he seeing now?”
“Her name is Dr. Hawkins at St. John's Regional in Springfield. She's a nice doctor and she's been up front with us, but here's what we know.
She took some blood and urine and did a blood glucose on him which apparently was way too high.”
“How high was it?”
“Oh man....That's in the land of strokes! What's she done?”
“She gave him a script for this pill called Amaryl and told him to take two in the morning and one at dinner time in the afternoon. I'm to take his glucose readings five times a day and put them down in a book.
She gave us a lot of dietary changes and I've yet to get home and start those.
In regards to her laying her cards on the table, she told us person to person rather than doctor to patient, she thinks it's diabetes which has gone for too long being undetected and now possibly has done damage to his kidney or kidneys.
The problem there is this....IF the test results come back bad, she's going to schedule appointments for tests and doctor's office visits which she says will take at least 6 weeks.
Our problem is he owns a show in Branson and in 6 weeks, we're at Memorial Day weekend and facing summer season which isn't going to allow for a lot of time out for doctor's appointments.”
“Ok, are you aware this could be cancer and that it doesn't give a shit if he's busy???”
“I'm on speaker phone and yeah, she said it could be that bad,”
He said, “Get him up here....Jesus.....I'm thinking that it could be a matter of months before he's dead! What are his other symptoms?”
I listed them and he said, “Jeremy, get him up here....Bring him in to me and I'll have those tests all done on the same day. We'll know and then, we'll have a lot of doctors we can have in on this....
You should know that when I put out a call which calls in everyone, they come running.
In the business, we give the alarm rarely and when we do, everyone knows it's because we're worried.
I'm giving that call right now, so I need him with a clear day and if YOU were smart, you'd be driving up here right now.”
“We'll be up there tomorrow. I'll arrange for us to hop a flight, but you be prepared to come to the airport to get us. I'm NOT going to pay that damned much for a taxi cab to go less than half a mile!”
“How much do they charge? I've never taken one.”
“IF you're going to the hospital, you're paying $8.50. If you're going to or from the airport, it's $15 for one person...no luggage, to $25 for two people...no luggage, to $5 for each additional piece of luggage and $10 for each additional person.”
“That's highway robbery! It's closer to that off ramp than the damned hospital!!!”
“Yeah, and now you know why I'm asking you to come get us.”
“Ok, you get him up here and I'll have everyone on stand by....and Jeremy? You have him here by 8am at the latest. It's going to be a long damned day, but he's going to know results when we're finished.”
“I'll have him there....by the way, who do you know who can fly like that?”
“I'll make a call. Are you going to be flying out of Branson?”
“Ok, I'll get him there. You'll probably be told to be there at 6am.”
“We'll be there.”
“And Jeremy, I need his name, and all that information. Email it to me so I'm not mistaken on anything....and WHAT insurance does he have?”
Stu said, “Conseco Direct.”
Doc said, “Damned good insurance. Why you've not used it is beyond me, but now I have a feeling you're wishin' you had.”
Stu said, “If it's bad, how long?”
Doc said, “To be blunt, if it were bad, you'd already be dead! Bladder cancer isn't anything to mess with and Kidney cancer isn't fun either. Usually, it's spreading beyond to other soft tissued organs like your liver, pancreas, lungs, brain, and heart.
SOME of these symptoms can be attributed to diabetes. SOME of them are alarming in the fact that it could be worse....and some of them are telling me it's damned worse and now, I've got to see what's going on.
IF it's something simple, you're going to be damned lucky. I'll tell you right now your wake up call came when the symptoms were beginning to show themselves. Apparently, you weren't heeding them and explaining them away as something else.”
I interjected, “He was thinking it's a sign of aging.”
Doc exploded, “Bullshit! I'm wondering right now if we're looking at cancer and which stage it's in! Does that tell you how worried I am!”
I said, “I understand.”
He gave a croak and said, “Jeremy, for far too long, I've watched you like one of my own kids mope around and be unhappy. You don't know how long I've wanted to take you by the shoulders and tell you to dump the bastard, but that's not my job as your friend or your physician....all I can do is suggest you get rid of the stress and LORD KNOWS you don't do that!
Now you've gotten rid of that stress and you've found someone who makes you sound like a human being again and I'm caring enough that I'm putting out a sound of alarm which in our closed circle is reserved for immediate family. Does that tell you how much I care???”
“Thanks. I appreciate it. He means the world to me and I'm glad you're there.”
“Be up here at 8am tomorrow morning. Let me show HIM how much I care and want to meet him....and yeah, I'm gonna pray and you two damned well better be praying also!”
“Ok. I'll get on that as soon as I hang up, otherwise, you'll think you're my priest! Lord knows no priest dresses in Hawaiian garb the way you do!”
He laughed and Stu chuckled, He said, “IF I told you I wanted to have a practice in Hawaii and IF I told you I had an 84 year old father who will be damned if I go out there because he THINKS it'll blow off the face of the earth or get washed off by a tsunami, you'd understand.
Instead, I'm caught in a life living and praying that I'll outlive that old fucker and get to retire effective immediately...and yeah, I've wondered whether I'll be at THAT funeral or be on a beach!”
“Hold the funeral on the beach....and say these words, “Your son's on a beach and you finally died! I hope you don't get sand in your face as I kick the casket closed!”
He laughed real loud, “I love the old dude, but Jeez, I've lived my life for that man for far too fuckin' long!”
“Hey, I had the same problem and now, I've dumped him and within a day, she had found him to be lying to her also.”
“Yeah, I was down in Branson and he was calling her and telling her about all these fictitious arguments we were having up there at my house. She KNEW I was in Branson because the LP tank was empty and she had to call and get it filled.
Just to make sure, she called me on that phone in the cabin and I answered, so she finally figured out he was a liar....Lord knows how many times I've told her that and now, she's going to meet Stu tomorrow out there...”
“Can I tell you in front of her I'm damned glad you finally made a good decision!”
I chuckled, “Nah, she's still trying to decide if he's good for me or not.”
“Damn.....The man has SOMETHING to his name. He's got damned good healthcare which isn't in YOUR name and he's probably got a phone and bills in HIS name and not using you for a thing. How much else does she need to know to figure out that he's the one!”
I smiled and Stu said, “She'll know...and thank you.”
Doc said, “I'm damned glad you've got good insurance. You're going to need it and I'm hoping you aren't as sick as I think you are....BUT, the power of love can do mysterious things... Let's hope this is one of those situations.
In regards to any doubts you may have, here's what I'll tell you about myself. I went to the military at 17 and by the time I was 24, I was in 'nam doing a residency in the Marines as a doctor.
I did 36 fuckin' years and in that time, I had a wife who was more or less selected by my father because as he put it, “You're either a faggot or you're too fuckin lazy to go out and find yourself a nice girl. This girl isn't much to look at, but at least you won't be single!”
Anyway, we had 3 kids, so I guess I showed him I wasn't gay, but then again, I still got asked if I was queer when we got divorced and I told him that I wasn't going to marry anyone else.
I guess he figured out that I'd had enough when I picked his ass up by his shirt collar and told him I knew what was best for me and what wasn't.
All I can say is Thank GOD for the Marines because the bitch only got HALF my salary from them and now, I'm making loads more.
In regards to the three ingrates I spawned, I don't see any of them and don't hear from them unless they need a loan which never gets repaid. Not one time have I been invited to a family function of theirs and not one time have I been thanked for putting their asses through the best colleges and universities money can buy. Two doctors and one shrink and all of them sneer when my name is mentioned....All because I wasn't there enough, but apparently, they're now realizing being a doctor has it's downfall because I've been told by one of them's Commanding General that when he went into the military, he said something hateful and got an immediate reprimand from him personally for me saving his life.
Since then, the old fuck has taken my kid under his wing and tells me he now realizes there aren't enough hours in the day to have a life and be a doctor also.”
I asked, “Is he in Hawaii?”
“I thought maybe you could go there when you retired and show him you're willing to mend a fence....IF you were a doctor where he'd see you, it'd be better.”
He was quiet for a moment and said, “Damn kid, sometimes you make too much sense.”
“And believe me this...with the females you've got floating in your pool, you're not gay!”
He laughed, “And THAT'S how I figured out you were gay! All of them told me you didn't look or readjust or anything!”
I laughed, “It was more of a hindrance than anything. Try cleaning a pool with someone in it and not make waves and you'll understand it can't be done.....but now, I'm going to be building a lot of things down in Branson, so that'll be good.”
“You already find a job?”
“I'm self contracting and started out with Stu as a client, but now, he's got the lawyer getting my name on everything, so I'm sorta my own client now.”
Doc asked, “Stu, does it tell you anything when you're calling your lawyer to make changes to your Will BEFORE you go see a doctor?”
“It tells me I'm in love.”
Doc said, “It should've told you that you'd waited too long to see a doctor! Had I met you as a patient, I'd probably told you to break a leg so I could treat something when I threw you in front of HIS CAR! Lord knows he's been that dumb about guys!”
Stu laughed, “If he were the one giving mouth to mouth, I'd been happy!”
Doc's chuckle came through the phone, “All I'm going to say is this...Jeremy told me about that bastard from day one and quite a few times, I've seen them out eating and Jeremy's always been himself and super kind to me. That asshole he was with always made me feel unclean.
First of all, he SAID he went through one of the most prestigious military schools in the world and THEN said he didn't go into the military afterward....THAT told me he was either an idiot or a liar. You do NOT get out of that school without going into the military because they take you in on a fast track from there and within a year, you're a Major someplace...at the very least. With those pay grades, you're NOT going to find anything comparable out in the real world.
For HIM, he couldn't give me names which verified worth a shit....Well, he never gave me ONE name which verified AT ALL....No one remembers him, no one graduated with him, there's not one bit of his name on the rolls as EVER being there and yet, I had to keep my mouth shut.
Continually thereafter, I've seen Jeremy and he looked unhappy and solemn until we spoke and then, he'd come out of it, so I knew it wasn't a case of depression where he's got that sort of personality...unless it was stifled. Lord knows, it had to be a living hell.”
I said, “It's day and night difference now. We've already got friends who want to do things with us and we've got people who are happy to be around us....Ask me how many Dave and I had and I won't list a single person.”
Doc asked, “Where's he going to live now that you've thrown him out?”
“I don't know. He'll probably find a place under a rock.”
“I'm going to predict he'll find someone else to use and will go that route.”
“I really think he was living in his van when I met him. From the looks at the interior, he had to be.
What else I know is he had lived in an apartment up at Ursa and had a storage place up there and yet, when I asked him to bring some of those antiques to the house, he up and sold them damned fast....he says.
All I know is not one stick of furniture, not one item other than clothing went out with him and most of those were clothes I bought him.
He wanted to say a lot of things, but.....hang on, I'm switching subjects because I gotta....”
I paused and said, “Doc, I'm bringing up a lotion I want you to try.”
“Ok, what brand?”
“It's homemade. I'm going to tell you that the night before last, we had a car wreck and the powder they put in the air bags burned us. We went home and took a shower and then, gave each other massages with this lotion which is more like an oil than a lotion.
It goes on like silk and then, your skin feels wonderful.
The woman who makes it is going to be selling it for $20 a 32 ounce jar. What's crazy cool about it is this....Stu and his last love had it over 10 years ago when Eddie was still alive.
In all that time, it's never went rancid, never lost it's effectiveness, and never separated. Just now, I've thought of your skin problems and want you to give it a try.”
“Lord knows I've had problems with my skin!”
“Let's try this and see if it works. I realize I've told you other home remedies, but I genuinely want to give this a try.”
“If it works, I'm going to have you customers around the block. It seems everyone who was in 'nam got foot rot and all of us have suffered from dry feet since then. Mine probably advanced more because of all the hours I've stood on them, but I've since learned the ONLY thing that's gave me some comfort was that mayonnaise on my feet and wearing socks over that to bed. It's helped get rid of the stinging, but not the dryness.”
“Let's try this. I bet you put it on and it instantly soothes them.”
“Speaking of which, I'll tell you now that I've got a dear lady friend who is the dermatologist here who will be the first person I tell when I get off the phone. IF this works, I want her there to see it go on and then, she's going to have a lot of orders for you.”
“That HAS to be Dr. Cook and when you speak with her, you tell her the same lady makes home made oatmeal soap and we're selling it for a dollar and a dime a bar.”
“Get me a case of it. I can't find it anywhere!”
“I'll bring up a few cases because when I tell you she's making them scented in colognes, you're going to want some in Stetson.”
He laughed, “She does them in cologne scents???!”
“And perfumes....AND, she makes home made soap powder which has lilac, lavender, and rose scents...but, you can also have soap powder which is scented like your cologne if you'd like.”
“Get me a bunch of those also. With the number of people I've got in and out of my office per day, I'll have orders lined up from everyone.”
“It's something we're getting into. Until last night, a lot of the locals down here didn't have an outlet to sell things. We're now opening a general store in the new building we're constructing for his show and....”
Doc asked, “What show? And please don't tell me it's the one with the ghost!”
I laughed out loud, “THAT GHOST is the one who told me that Stu needed to see a doctor immediately! It's the ghost of his last lover, Eddie. They built it together and since then, he's been there overseeing things. I saw him the first time I was there, but until Stu saw me speaking with him, he'd never seen him.”
Doc said, “How could you NOT! I've seen TWO ghosts in my entire life and one of them was there! The other was my ex's Grandma and she told me to get the hell out of her house! I went and that's when my ex told me she wanted a divorce because she wanted to move into the place!”
I said, “Needless to say, you've been there.”
He laughed, “I've been there and let me say that those are the most UNCOMFORTABLE fuckin' seats on the planet! I enjoyed the show, but by the time I got out of there, my ass was numb!”
I laughed and Stu quickly said, “We're getting new seats before the beginning of this season. I couldn't put upholstered chairs in because of mold and mildew worries. He's got that took care of, so now I can have carpet and upholstery!”
Doc said, “I love that show. Each time I go down there, I take whomever I'm dating there. You damned well ought to know if I'm willing to sit in those chairs over and over, that's one beautiful show.”
I said, “Here's what we're doing this year before Memorial Day.
Out front there, we're building a huge berm or hill which will have the name on it with water bubbling down and having some of the fountains displaying their beauty.
All along the property edges, we're putting in artificial evergreens which are lit different colors according to the season. We can have them looking like American Flags between Memorial Day and the 4th of July and then, we can have them be lit up in different colors according to whatever holiday. For Halloween, we can have orange, for Christmas, they can be white, for Valentine's Day, they can be pink...and so on and so forth.”
“Where are you getting those?”
“A friend of mine down here has the company's name and order forms. He's been working at a home improvement store, but now, he's going to work for Stu as a computer programmer.”
“Get me some of them and landscape this yard.”
“I'll have to do it in the off season this fall.”
“That's fine....but you can best bet that I'm going to have people landscaping their yards also.”
I chuckled and he said, “Dammit, do you realize how I feel about getting on ladders and decorating trees and houses for Christmas...I probably say enough cuss words, the neighbors wonder if I'm EVER going to get the holiday spirit!”
We laughed and I said, “It's going to be pricey. These trees are something like $3200 each.”
“We're ordering them so they're side by side all the way down the edges of the property.”
“How much of that land do you own Stu?”
Stu said, “It goes back another 600 feet and goes clear on up behind everything until you get to the motel up and beyond the one next door.”
I said, “Doc, he owns the motel next door, and the strip mall beyond it. That land goes behind most of the strip there until you get down to the Burger King.
He owns the Dairy Queen Brazier there and he's owner of the barbecue palace also.
Everything else there is owned in percentages with other people, but he has the land leased to them and once the lease is up in another 8 years, it's HIS option to renew, not theirs.”
“Jesus! That's a helluva chunk of land!”
I made my voice sound like I was chastising and said, “Doc, that's not all the land he owns. There's quite a bit of it on the other strip he owns also...but he and Eddie bought in when they were teens and down here in 1978 when $10,000 could've bought nearly the entire strip.
Rather than doing that, they put $3800 in and now you know what he's sold off through the years.”
Doc said, “I was about to offer to buy your house up here from you and tell you to name your price, but now I'm wanting to spend a fortune and ask him to get me some land down there! All I want is a place on the lake which doesn't cost me $2 million...that's all!”
Stu gave me a look, and said, “Let me ask around....We might have a place available, but it's going to take some construction as the cabin is being torn down.”
I said, “If that's what you want, you need to get on the phone and tell your attorney to not make that piece of land in the Trust as irrevocable!”
said, “Oh damn!”
“There's still time, but call.”
I said, “Doc, here's the deal. Right now, I'm tearing down the cabin on his property and putting up a $480,000 log cabin.
We were going to be building for us, but what I'll do is I'll build it and get it sold to you for a million even.”
Stu looked shocked and Doc asked, “What's wrong with it?”
“Not a damned thing. It's right there on that cove next to my Mom and Dad's place.”
“How much land?”
Stu said, “Five acres. You can't subdivide it as that's the minimum they'll allow you to build on there. I should've bought more, but when we bought it, we were lucky to get the land we got.
Now, we're going to be building an apartment above the new building to take advantage of the view back there.”
“Damn! I know you're not giving up a thing to get THAT view. I've stayed in your motel and you don't know how many nights I've looked out those big picture windows and wished I could find a view like that!
BUT, I've been other there where his parents own on that cove and love that also. His parents refuse to sell and I don't blame them, and me knowing they'll be my neighbors will be icing on the cake.”
He asked, “How into the plan are you Jeremy?”
“I got it approved last night by the county.”
I wasn't going to tell him Stu and I hadn't decided yet, but added, “What I CAN do is I can show you some plans and let you decide if you'd like, but I'm telling you right now that is probably the nicest log cabin you'll ever see.”
He paused and said, “I'll go with it....I trust your judgment and would rather say I've got a place down there than not. Considering the price for everything else down there, I'll still be buying for about half of what something else would cost....and not have to have neighbors stacked on top of me.”
I said, “I understand. For Stu to think about selling, it tells me he's ready to move into our relationship further.
I'm not going to ask him to sell, but when his eyes lit up and he told you about it, that told me volumes and I'm definitely feeling more worthy of this relationship.”
Doc said, “You ought to know I don't part with money easily, but I sure will this time....How long do you think construction will take?”
“If you plan on having a weekend there for Labor Day, I'll see you're in a finished cabin and thinking you're damned lucky you bought it.”
He chuckled, “I'm already feeling that!”
Stu said, “I just spoke with my lawyer and I'll have the deed up there. We'll close on it when it's completed, but you can hold the deed.”
Doc said, “Whatever is needed. I understand and appreciate it.”
Stu said, “I'm not needing the money, but the thought of having Jer' and I living where I've got memories with Eddie sort've has me not wanting to do it.
It's not that I'm selfish of the memories I've got with Eddie, but I want Jer' to have his own memories with me and mine with him.”
Doc said, “I completely understand. There's no way I could live in a house I've shared with my ex and want to think about having another person in there with me....Lord knows I'd probably have a flashback and wake that person up strangling her to death screaming 'Die Bitch DIE!”
I laughed, “Doc, you're going to have him thinking you're a lunatic!”
He laughed, “No, there's only one person on this planet I hate and she lives in Louisiana on a plantation.”
I said, “Stu, you're going to meet Doc and see this man do things which would probably get him thrown out for sexually molesting with his eye balls. He's an ex Marine who will tell you once a Marine, always a Marine...and all that, but inside, he's got a heart of gold.”
Doc said, “Ok, enough on that....I could say the same about you. You entertain an old fucker who's wondered why you put up with him.”
“I put up with you because you're a damned nice guy. Who else takes time out of a busy day and talks like this? Who else does what you've done for me and ask yourself why I put up with you and I'll tell you right now that my LAST doctor didn't hear a thing I had to say....and for four fuckin' years, he didn't hear a thing I had to say until finally, I spoke with you and still to this day, he has no clue why I dumped him as a doctor.
Not one time since I've known you have I felt like you've not heard a thing I have to say.”
“Your last doctor is a shit for brains pussy. If he were to need to make a life or death call, he'd fuck it up just because he has no REAL sense of why he went to med school except that his father was a doctor and his grandfather was a doctor and when they found out the quality of doctor he was, they bought him a practice two states away.
He's OUR problem now and because he knows how to work a phone enough to get other people to make his diagnosis for him, people think he's great. Unfortunately, enough people think he's great that he's got a thriving practice. BUT, you're smart enough to smell shit even if it DOES take four years.”
“My parents were footing those bills. When I had my talk with him and told him I was going to expect more because I was paying, he sat there and gave me a dumb stare....and then went right back to ignoring me.
As luck would have it, someone told me you were a decent doctor when I had you as a customer. Yeah, she was probably one of the bimbos you don't even remember her name, but hey....let's just say you've got staying power as a doctor!”
He laughed, “I'm still trying to remember who it was dammit...don't slip in telling me I've got staying power yet!”
We all laughed and I said, “Doc, make your calls and I'll make mine and get everything you ordered as a part of our luggage. When we're done tomorrow night, you have us a reservation to eat someplace and THEN, I'll let you dump us off at the airport.”
might just hop that flight with you and have a reservation down there
for us to eat. I didn't forget you telling me he's got the barbecue
Stu chuckled and I said, “I'm not forgetting he's got to fast after midnight and as slow as you guys do tests, it'll be 5pm before he gets a thing to eat. You wanting to throw in MORE time before he eats, I'll bring you some of that damned barbecue and feed it to you for breakfast, but you WILL have us a reservation for dinner dude!”
He laughed, “Ok, I'll be convinced to eat barbecue for breakfast....And then, we'll eat at TJ's for dinner.”
“Ok, tell Gayla I'm gonna be with you and tell her I got a new guy in the same sentence and see if she doesn't laugh hysterically and congratulate you!”
He laughed real loud, “You asshole!”
I said, “Love ya old dude....Just do me right here.”
“I'm gonna try....I'm gonna try.”
We rang off and Stu said, “Do you always talk that way to each other?”
“Yeah, but I'll tell you that guy loves his Dad, but yeah, his Dad is a dictator....but Doc was raised in a home where the Bible is what he lives by and there's always “Honor thy Mother and Father” which slaps him down from having an opinion and doing what he wants.”
“His Dad lives in St. Louis?”
“Yeah, he lives in Hannibal because it's JUST far enough away and close enough that if anything serious happens, he can be there fast.”
Stu gave a nod, “You don't mind us selling that land do you?”
“No, it's your call...but as you see, I took the reins and pulled the price out of him.”
He smiled, “Do you realize I spent $8,000 on that property?”
“Do you realize I told him that was a $480,000 log cabin when I doubt if it'll break $150?”
He laughed, “I noticed you told him you couldn't change the floor plan also.”
“Here's why....and then, you'll understand.” I paused and said, “IF he tells you I'm in his Will, don't be offended or surprised.”
“Here's what I know....I met him when I was 21. Within two years, we were super close friends and I'd give him just as much shit as I do now....BUT, we've got a true friendship in one thing....We're both Steelers fans...and he knows that when I'm watching a football game, I'm probably the most vocal I've ever gonna be.”
“Yeah, here's what you should know....When there's a Steelers game on, or a Blues Hockey game, or a NASCAR race, you can count on me standing in front of the television screaming my guts out...Even Gypsy goes upstairs and lays on the bed because she knows it's not going to be a time for petting when I'm watching the sports.”
He smiled, “Why not the Rams?”
I rolled down the window and hawked out. I said, “Rams...”
He laughed real loud, “I can't believe you did that!”
smiled, “St. Louis lost me as a sports fan when the sports
teams became another division of Walmart. The Blues haven't sold out
to them yet, and the second they do....I'll drop 'em as a favorite of
mine and IF you think I'll turn tail and go to another team, you'll
probably need to understand I'll drop the entire NHL before I go with
another hockey team....and yeah, I'd rather slit my own throat than
to ever have a cheer come out of it for a Blackhawk!”
He smiled, “I do believe I've found something you're passionate about!”
“There's a reason there's a huge television in that living room. It's because I like to feel like I'm there....I wear my Steelers, Blues, or my Jeff Gordon jersey when I'm watching and I'm yelling and cussing like a sailor when it's going bad, but if it's going good, I'm still yelling and cussing like a sailor.”
He laughed and asked, “Is it safe to watch you?”
“Yeah, but Doc learned I don't stay silent even if I'm not supposed to be watching sports there. I think it cracked him up so much because it shocked him so much.”
“It would ME TOO!”
“Well, you'll understand what all the yelling is about if you come home and I'm heard a block away.”
He chuckled, “What are we getting him from the palace?”
“Five pounds of the tips....he's not kidding when he's saying that he'll have orders for us....and IF we sort've stimulate people wanting to come down there to eat when they come, that'll be good.
What else I might do is get him one of those DVDs we're thinking about selling and give it to him.”
so honest it hurts though. I didn't know those chairs were that
“Let me just say that I never knew he was that into seeing your shows. Now you and I know a side to him that he's never revealed to me. Yeah, I knew he'd be going to Branson once or twice a year, but I never knew where he was staying or any of that.”
“I believe you. I find it surprising that he's seen Eddie.”
“I don't. Maybe it tells you the amount of foresight the other side has that we don't....And MAYBE Eddie knew he'd be the doctor who would help and that's why he was seen.”
“Now you know what I think about it....”
Stu asked, “Do you think it's bad?”
“We'll find out and it's not going to take us six weeks. What Doc just told you was the inner workings and why it's done and rarely done....For him to also tell us that he's going to pull us in as family to get it done, doesn't surprise me.”
“Here's what I started to tell you...When I was 24, I got a call from his lawyer who happens to be my second cousin named Mark.
Mark asked me a bunch of personal questions and finally, when I asked why he was wanting to know everything, he said, “Someone who is a friend of yours is wanting to leave you quite a bit in his Will.”
Well, I don't have many friends who have “quite a bit” and more than once, Doc's told me, “You're like a son to me” and then also said, “I'm not leaving them ingrates a damned thing.”....so I added it up and that's what I've came up with.
Really, I'm not being his friend because of a thing he's got. If you must know, he's got a personality which grates on a lot of people's nerves....but, you've already saw why and that's because he's 100% blunt and honest.
With me, he's direct, but not that blunt and not telling me things which he thinks I should hear. Instead, he coats it with enough truth and honesty it floats, but not so much that it smells like shit when it floats.
In regards to the women, here's what I'll tell you....He's got between four and six at all times. If one gets too close, he takes a different one on a trip someplace with him. IF one gets to be a bit distant, she gets to be the next one on the trip.
What you'll find is all of them are professionals out there at the hospital in positions they can get him information when he needs it at a moment's notice and Lord knows he charges enough that he's raking in the money.”
“Do you think he'll rape my insurance company?”
“No, if he told you that your insurance company was good, it's good....He's not going to beat around the bush and tell you it's not. With my Dad's insurance, he cussed it from the moment I talked about it and when I went with mine, it's because he suggested it.”
“What do you have?”
“I don't have a thing now, but when I was working, it was one which is basicly what the United States Senate uses.”
“It was expensive as hell, but it was something I never regretted when I suggested it to my boss. My boss didn't regret it because within 3 months of switching, his daughter had a car accident which put all the top specialists and surgeons on her case and whereas everyone else was saying she'd never walk, talk, or be anything but a vegetable, she's now healthy and a cheerleader for Mizzou's Tigers.”
“She's a sweet girl and knows about me and I know about her also.”
“What's that mean?”
“Here's the thing....When she was in the hospital, Doc gave me a call and said, “Go sit with her. IF she lives through the night, it'll be a fuckin' miracle, but if she doesn't, she won't have died alone.”
“Where were her parents?”
“Cozumel. They were bright enough to think Hurricane Wilma wasn't going to go there. Needless to say, they were trapped and in the heart of the storm for them, their daughter's life was damned near ended up here.
BECAUSE she is who she is and has the name, the police searched high and low and finally called me because I'm the 'call out' in cases of emergency for the business. When they called, I told 'em they were in Cozumel trapped by a hurricane and they asked who could make medical decisions for their daughter. I told 'em no one, but if need be, I'd step in.
Well, that's all it took and I was told to get to the hospital because she was in a terrible car wreck and still in surgery. I got out there and Doc was the surgeon. When he came out, he was dead tired and bloody from head to foot as she had arterial bleeding which covered him as fast as they could pump it into her.
Fortunately, things went right and even better, by 9am, there was a team of surgeons landing at the airport rushing in to do all they could.”
“Damn, I want THAT insurance!”
“I'll get it for us, but you'll have to go in as a rider on me. They've shut it down.”
“Those who are on can use it until they step out of the program, but I'm never going to step out. Fortunately, I had my inheritance from my Grandma and could afford my part of the premium, but I'll tell you no one's bitched about it who's in it...except for the price...because it's nearly $900 a month.”
“That's my portion after my boss gets fucked on his side.”
“Man, you stepped out of it???!”
“I've got 30 days....that's Missouri State Law.”
“I'll have to cover the portion he was covering, but it's worth it. If you want us on it also, I'll tell you now I'm making the call.”
“Ok....You can't EVER be too well insured.”
I picked up my phone and said, “Order our tips and I'll get us on it.”
the speed dial went through, I told them my name and social security
number and then, told them I needed to add my partner and myself on
the insurance full pay.
The girl said I'd receive a bill and I told her, “Hon, I'd rather pay it annually up front....Would you take the payment?”
She did and I gave her Stu's credit card number. When I rang off, I said, “I just charged $36,000 to your card for the insurance, but it's for an entire year and you're covered immediately.”
“One moment and I'll call Doc and tell him what I just did.”
I dialed Doc and when he answered, I said, “I just got Stu double covered. He's now on my insurance also.”
“You didn't have to do that. I was already planning on using my coverage and saying he's my son....Lord knows I'd rather have someone I pose to like than the one I got handed in this life.”
“That's ok. You saw that I was responding in the way I thought was best.”
“How much is it costing you?”
“It cost us $36,000 for a year as a couple.”
“You're going to find that's damned cheap for what you'll have to pay. Conseco is nearly as good, but he just stepped up to the exclusively ultimate plan rather than what would be called the 'superior' plan.”
“Well, he's got both now. Do whatever it takes.”
“I already am.”
“I appreciate it.”
“Kiddo, it's going to be a long haul. I don't envy you one damned bit in this one...I'm not going to tell him what I think directly, but when I told you to pray, I meant it.”
“It's going to be ok. Eddie made you see him for a reason. He told me to get him to a doctor...for a reason. I think we went to Dr. Hawkins to get the ball rolling and now, we're going to come up with strikes.”
“You tell that man that it's a rare damned day when someone who's a Senator dies from cancer. Yeah, Kennedy did, but no one lives forever and that damned man pickled everything for nearly 40 years before it caught up with him.”
“I appreciate this.”
“We're not out of the woods yet. When we get through this, it's going to be something you're never going to want to do again....”
“You just keep me in the loop and don't be afraid to tell me what's going on.”
“Ok, we're good then. He's in the barbecue palace getting five pounds of tips.”
“Yeah, but I know you'll have your string eatin' 'em!”
He laughed, “You know me too damned good!”
least someone does....Imagine going to your grave where no one
did...what fun would that be!”
“Kiddo, if I were gay, you'd be happy.....I promise.”
“Well, you're not, so we'll stay friends. When you want to kick out those dentures and get into weird and kinky positions, let me know...”
He laughed, “Not happening! There's a reason I only buy Charmin!”
“I guess me tellin' you to buy Huggie's baby wipes would be out of the question.”
“Just buy some. If you're not a convert, I'm not gay!”
He laughed, “Is that what all the gays use?”
“Hell, I don't know! I bought mine for Gypsy when she was sick and then, realized I'd bought the super mega family pack and she'd only used a few of them before she was well. Rather than let them go to waste, I decided to use them myself! Since then, Charmin is only a memory!”
He laughed, “Do you realize I don't discuss toilet paper with anyone else!”
“Keep it that way. When you kick out those dentures, I'm expecting that ass to be soft!”
laughed real loud, “You BETTER PRAY that place you're building
me has balconies!”
“Have you ever seen Barbara Mandrel's log cabin?”
“There ya go! It's going to be at LEAST that nice! You're going to have to hire a whole new string just to do housework!”
He laughed, “Nah, that'd be too much conflict, but do they have a maid service down there?”
“I'll ask around. One of Stu's good friends is Mel Tillis and I'm sure they've got housekeeping staff. We're supposed to go over to their house sometime and meet his wife and join friendships.”
“That'd be nice. Things are looking up for you.”
“Yeah, and now, we're going to work through this.”
“Here's what I want you to do....You get that place of his on the strip to being constructed so he's got something to hang on for. We're going to pull out all the tricks one lives for and hopefully, it'll be enough.
Right now, I've got a call in to the lab down there at that hospital to get results from them. As soon as they come through, I'll know what we're dealing with.... What I'll say is that doctor down there is damned good because she ordered the tests I would've.”
“Whatever you find, have 'em prepared for whatever it takes.”
“I'll have everyone on hand who needs to work on him.”
“I appreciate it. I'll get off the phone now.”
I rang off and when Stu finally came out, he had two great big bags. He said, “I got six meals for his girls and that five pounds for him to share around. There's a family pack in this bag for us and then, there's a couple of sandwiches for Gyp.”
We drove out and went to the show. I saw a lot more deliveries and all the clear piping laying on the side of the building. “Babe?”
“Do you have the strength to lift that piping there? It doesn't weigh much, but it's got to go inside.”
“What's that mean....Do I have the strength?”
“You had blood taken out of that arm and your doctor said not to lift anything!”
“Oh, ok, I'm sorry... I thought you were making a joke.”
“No. I know what happens if you lift something after getting blood taken. You end up with a bruise the size of Texas on that arm and it's not going to go away for a while.”
“Do you think I should try?”
“Let me make a call. I'd rather you didn't and have the veins you need tomorrow than us screwing up and not...”
“That's who I'm calling.” I winked and he said, “IF anything happens to me....”
I said, “Shut that down! He's calling in the best in the world right now...IF there's fighting chance, you'll have it!
What YOU need to do is you need to answer the question of whether you're his kid or not by saying you're his kid.
He'd already put you in through HIS insurance before I made the call...Does that tell you how much he's pulling for us?”
“So he has that insurance to?”
“Yeah....and he told me to ask you how many Senators besides Kennedy you've heard about dying from cancer? SO you think about that and you'll realize the distress call he's made is going to have everyone who is the best in the world standing there in the morning.”
“He's not told me, but here's what I know.... There's a procedure called the radio isotope. They put microscopic particles in which can be heated up and maneuvered around to sort've burn the cancer and dissolve it.
I imagine that's what they'll use and I imagine if it's needed, you'll go into surgery immediately.
Other than that, if it's not needed, I imagine what they'll do is they'll do the therapy where they'll take some of your DNA and grow your cancer and then, make it so you've got the pill to take which puts in the cancer's enemy to fight it one on one.”
“Do they really HAVE a cancer pill?”
“How I know about that is they had an announcement on the news that SLU (St. Louis University) was using it in trials. Those who were taking it were talking about the cancer they had getting it's ass whooped by the pill.
The plus side of that is this....They had people who were within moments of dying who took that pill and it brought them back and into remission, so don't ever rule out something happening like that because I know it's available.”
looked surprised, “I never knew about it!”
“I'll pull it up on my laptop when we get home and show it to you. It's a gene therapy thing which really isn't a gene therapy...it's using your cancer to create the toxin which will nullify the one within you. That basicly allows the good cells to get in there and cart off the bad.”
He gave a nod, “Ok, what do you need me to do?”
“I'm calling Em and then, I've got to wait around here for that guy to show up with the tractor.
What I want you to do is I want you to go to the pharmacy and get those prescriptions filled. Then, you can eat something and get on them.”
He gave a nod, “Ok, will you be fine?”
than fine. I'm in love!”
He smiled and came over and kissed me. Right then is when we heard an unmuffled truck stop in the turning lane. I said, “The tractor's here.”
“How could you tell?”
“It seems to be a trait up home for all rednecks. If you've got a truck, the muffler has to be shit.”
He laughed, “Ok, I guess I'm not gonna be a redneck.”
“Nah, you'll just be in love.”
“I'll go. You get that handled and get him to the motel.”
“We promised him a show.”
He sort've made a face and I said, “Stu, let's do what we need to do. We'll have each other, but let's make sure the guy does his part also.”
The truck pulled in and I saw two people in the truck. I said, “My Dad rode down with him.”
“You can tell that's your Dad all the way from here?”
“No one else wears a cowboy hat that damned big up there!”
The truck pulled up and I went out and shook the guy's hand and said, “I was just about to send him to the pharmacy and the bank....”
Dad came around and I gave him a hug. He gave me a look, “How'd the doctor's appointment go?”
“IF I told you we've got a flight in the morning to be in Hannibal at 8am and that we're using my insurance...what would that tell you?”
“It's not good.”
“Doc is making the calls....That's all I'll say.”
I turned and said, “Dad, this is Stu. Stu, this is my Dad...Wayne.”
Stu shook Dad's hand and Dad said, “I hitched a ride down.”
I said, “We'll get you out there to where it's going...but while you're here, I need to have some help carrying in this pvc pipe over here.”
We went around the building and I said, “Stu, go ahead and go to the pharmacy and get some cash from the bank so we can pay that man.”
He gave a nod, “Ok, I'll be back.”
He went over and got in the truck and Dad asked, “Is that your new truck?”
He turned and said, “Jim? Come on back with us. I want to see what he's going to be doing here.”
The guy came on back and we took the pipes two at a time to the back entrance and put them in along the wall. When we were finished, I said, “Before we go in, I want to show you what we're going to have back here.”
I pointed and said, “That row of trees way back there is the back property line. We're going to put the building on back there and make all this parking.
The building is going to be a 5,000 seat theater in the middle and then, on the right side will be restrooms which are going to use outhouses as it's theme. I'm going to build individual outhouses and then, put them over the toilets so you're sittin' on the one holer.”
Dad smiled, “Ok...”
“We're taking the theme of Vienna out of here and putting in the theme of Hillbilly into it.
When you walk in, you're going to walk in a rustic building, but when you get inside, you're going to see a barn which is sorta a cross between a barn and a Swiss chalet. Those windows up there will be open and have flowers, but that's the control room.
Up there, you're going to see a huge chandelier made from antlers. It adds to the décor and gets people to thinking they're more in the Ozarks than they thought.
Over to the left is going to be the snack side and the general store. The snack shop will look like a one room cabin complete with rusted bedsprings on it's roof and photo area with the hound dog layin' on the ground and the hillbilly sittin' there for you to sit with and have your photo taken.
Back in the general store, we're having all the home made goods everyone's making.”
Dad asked, “Off the record, how drunk did you get last night?”
I smiled, “ON the record, I didn't intend on getting so shit faced that I made an ass out of myself!”
They both busted out laughing and I said, “They did it real sneaky. We were being careful and they gave me a stoneware jug which had some 'shine' in the bottom of it to play along with the band.
I'm huffin' and a puffin' on the damned thing not realizin' that I
might as well have been drinkin' the stuff because the fumes are just
He laughed real loud, “Oh man!”
“Well, apparently, I got drunk and apparently, I made up this little song I thought was so cute about how much I love Stu and sang it along with the band while everyone laughed their asses off.
When Stu finally got me home, I hit the bed and it was like I came right back up runnin' for the toilet so I could upchuck everything and then, don't ask me how I made it back because I didn't realize anything until I woke up this morning all hung over.”
He steadily smiled, “My Granddaddy used to tell me he lived as long as he did because he used a little in his coffee every mornin'.”
“Then, he was probably smilin' the rest of the day because that's probably enough to keep you numb!”
We all laughed and I pointed, “That view there is going to be what we see from our apartment. We're building it on the back side of the theater and are planning on making it damned nice.
In regards to this building, IF we can get it torn down without tearing it up too much, we're going to put it over on the other strip as another theater and I'm not sure what that'll be...We've not gotten that far.
Up at the front, you saw the semi's van box and that's going to be covered with boulders and dirt. We're making a huge fountain and having the water cascade down it like a mountain brook. At the bottom, we'll have different water effects and all along the sides, we're going to have evergreens which are fake, but are fiber optically lit so that we can computer control them and have the lights doing different things on them....
For Easter, we'd have white crosses with purple all over the rest of it. For Christmas, we can do them with white lights, but I'm also tempted to have a computer controlled toyland lit up in those lights so that it looks like it's in motion.....with trains and jack-in-the-boxes and all sorts of movement.
Up in those corners, I'm using dandelion fountains. They're fountains which the heads look like the head of a dandelion in full bloom. The only difference is like everything else, they can be fiber optically colored and giving off twinkles and movement so it catches people's eyes.”
We went in the back door and went up the hallway. I hit the lights and pointed, “The pool is too much for the design currently being used. We're going to reuse the displays, but we're going to have a new one built for that one over there. It'll be more complex and it'll be using all sorts of new things we haven't before.”
We went into the theater and I said, “Right there where that beam is, is where I'm going to put that clear PVC piping. It's going to be an air wall which takes out the moisture and puts in rushing air.
I've ordered those fans there and if you pay real close attention, they're the ones used in car washes...We need air moving at least 200 miles an our to make sure all the moisture is coming down and being dried. You won't feel it out there in the audience, but rather than having no carpet, no seats, and those plastic chairs, we'll have nice carpet and seats which have four speakers in each one. UP there will be chandeliers and we'll do all we can to make it nice for this year and then, next, we'll be in that new building.”
I paused and said, “Before you learn about it from someone else, Stu and I sold the property his cabin is sitting on to Doc for a million flat.”
Dad gave me a look like his eyes were bulging out, “How?”
“It's 5 acres. It's got all that water frontage and we're putting up one helluva log cabin on it which is going to cost about $150 grand.
Doc's been told the retail price of it which is $480 grand, but it's all turn key from the company and in return, they get to list it in their sales brochures once it's completed.
Stu's wanting to move on with life and have this here during season and us be up home in my house during off season. With the way it's going, we won't really be out of season because of all the mail orders and everything we'll be filling through the general store.
The plus side of that is we've got a lot of people we can trust and that'll give us a good income.”
smiled, “And you're only working 100 days a year!”
“Yeah, but no.....I'll be landscaping up there and building places down here. Everyone's excited to have a construction company who isn't screwing their legs off with what's being done for the dollar.
My advantage is this....From the get go, I'm marking up 300% as soon as our company touches it. The other guys are charging at LEAST 1000% percent and have screwed themselves into a hole I'm glad to pave over.”
I turned and said, “What I'm going to do is I'm going to go up and show you the control room. We'll watch a few of the scenes and then, he should be back.”
We went up and Dad pointed down, “Who's that?”
asked, “Who are you seeing? I'm not seeing anyone!”
Dad said, “Jim, it's a ghost. Look by the chair sitting down there on the right...Well, he just sat in the chair on the left.”
Jim stared and said, “I see it now!”
I said, “Here's the story.....Eddie is Stu's last partner. They met when they were teens and opened this and got it to rolling.
Because they were gay, some wise asses started doing drive by shootings toward their house. No one was shot, but within a few weeks after the last one, Stu went home to find Eddie dead on the floor of a heart attack.
Since then, people have seen Eddie's ghost here. Some see him, but not everyone.
I saw him and he forewarned me about Stu's health. The way I'm taking it is this....Because I was forewarned, it's telling me all hope isn't lost because if I thought Eddie was going to be getting Stu back, I don't think he would've forewarned us.”
Dad gave a nod, “That's a damned good theory.”
“What I'm going to do is I'm going to get this started so the music is heard up here and you can watch it. Then, I'm going to go down there and have a talk with him to see if I can get more information about what we're facing.”
I punched in 'Start' on the keyboard and said, “If you want it to stop, you type in 'Stop'.”
The announcement got made and then, the show started. What was totally unexpected was the voice changed and went into an announcement which said, “Ladies and Gentlemen....” A new backdrop appeared and the voice said, “Announcing our new attraction next Summer, Hillbilly Falls....A totally redesigned theater holding more, having more, and worth every penny spent.
We hope you'll be happy enough to share with us in our growth and tell others how we're striving to meet the demand for the next generation of theater goer. There won't be a change in price, but the conveniences will be as follows...”
Right then, the backdrop went through all the things I'd outlined and then, went into showing the glass wall behind so it showed the view everyone would see.
Right after that, the waters started with a ribbon effect falling from the ceiling spelling out “Welcome To Hillbilly Falls” in large letters....after that, it went into making moons and stars and shooting laser effects.
Dad said, “Man this is good!”
I smiled and headed on down the stairs. When I got to the chair next to Eddie, I sat down and asked, “Did you do that?”
“I'm going to need the means to make those effects happen.”
“You need to take him to Disneyland before you design anything. OR, have him watch this...”
When the scene ended, his voice came back up and said, “That's how the Vienese Waters USED to look. With new technology, more special effects, improved advancements, this is your new show.”
All of a sudden, the stage exploded in color, lasers, projected pictures on fog effects and then, there were plasmas all along what would be the back wall of our apartment.
The scene went into a full show which lasted nearly 40 minutes. It built up to a crescendo where the scene was depicting all sorts of things....riding along on a roller coaster, being caught up in a tornado, being in an alligator pit, and finally, it took us to Las Vegas where we saw the opening salvo of the Treasure Island shooting it's cannon and knocking down the old casino complete with fire shooting up from lots of different spots in the water.
After that, the 3D went into effect and started shooting out effects over the crowd. We had fighter jets, baby cartoon elephants jumping and then, it went into a scene from Casper The Ghost...where everyone's shouting, “A g.gg..ggg...ghost!”
I asked, “Will he live?”
“Yes. You got to it in time.”
“You love him. He loves you.”
“Eddie, I don't want you to be a stranger in the new one.”
“My spirit was never there.”
We're taking parts of this one over and your spirit can attach itself
to it and hitch a ride. If need be, I'll take that chair there and
put it up on the control room.”
“I can't be there. There is too much interference. He doesn't want me in there.”
“Ok, but I need to learn how to love him.”
“You're doing a great job. He knew for sure you loved him when you got drunk last night and told what you really felt inside.”
“We're selling the cabin. I don't want him selling anything else, but I want you over at the new one. You're as much a part of this as anyone.”
“I can't. I've accomplished what I asked to come back to do. It took you to finally speak with me.”
“I hope it didn't harm you in any way.”
“It didn't....but have him watch that show. I want him seeing what's possible now.”
“Disney's doing something equally as fantastic with their World of Color presentation. Look it up on YouTube.”
“Ok, but will I get to show Stu this one?”
“Thank you. It's amazing.”
“You kept him from being panic stricken today. You kept talking and got him moved off that subject.”
“I want him knowing that I'm there with him no matter what. My doctor friend knows that also, but my doctor friend is really worried.”
“You doctor friend should be worried about himself.”
“I can't say....What I'll say is this...When the messenger of death comes to your door, he'll either come once and take someone, or he'll come three times to bring the message to you. If he doesn't take Stu, he's going to take someone, just know that.”
“So you're telling me Doc will die?”
“I'm telling you it's either Stu or your friend.”
“There's no decision. One can't provide me love in the way I need it and the other can...I'm sorry Eddie, I can't let him go.”
He smiled a knowing smile, “I know how you feel. It's so much simpler on this side. You get all the feelings and learn so much. Over there, it's drug out far too long....Basicly, if you learn the lesson fast over here, they don't teach it there. It's sort've like the slow way over there.”
He started fading and I said, “Ed?”
He waved and was gone. Just then, his voice came on the PA system announcing everything about Hillbilly Falls one more time. Then, he thanked everyone and with a final burp of the water, it was over.
I pulled my phone and dialed Stu. He answered, and I asked, “Where the hell are you?”
“Out front. The doors don't open.”
“Damn! I've been in here showing my Dad and Jim the show. I had a talk with Eddie and you've got to see this brand new show.”
“Come in. It's over.”
Dad and Jim came down both smiling great big and huge. Dad said, “I loved it!”
“That's not the normal show. Eddie did that so I could see what the show would look like in the new theater. It's WAY more complex and technical than the other....but you're right, I loved it also.'
Stu came in and I said, “Eddie? Show him the 'Extravaganza' and put the sound so we're full house speakers and the way it will sound over there.”
The voice began and Stu gave a yelp. “THAT'S EDDIE!”
I went over and hugged him and said, “He showed Dad and Jim how everything would look including the show over at the new theater. If you think you've worked hard programming before, you're going to be totally blown away!”
“The music for the extravaganza began and then, everything kicked on into the highlight of the show. All the aspects were going and flames were being thrown all about like water spurts.
Stu took a step back and then, he realized what he was seeing. At the end, Eddie's voice said, “Stuart, it's on the computer under 'new show'.”
Stu said, “My God! Do you realize what that's going to cost?”
“Babe, when word gets out, I bet you this place will be filled every night. That's the extravaganza, but there's one effect in there which just sent chills through me because it's so perfect.”
“Do you remember the fountain you bought when you got fireworks as a kid?”
“How it shot up and there were sparkles in it as it was shooting? Well, this one is like that, but it's a laser doing that on a solitary lone geyser.”
He looked shocked and then, the fountain kicked on and the effect happened. Stu said, “Oh wow!”
“He told me to take you to Disney and watch their water show.” I turned to Dad, “What did you think of that 3D holograms coming out over the audience?”
Dad said, “That's going to have little kids screaming.”
I chuckled, “Yeah, but they're all going to be totally blown away.”
I said, “Eddie, show him the Casper sequence.”
Suddenly, the sequence began and when it got to the highlight, the 3D holograms were shooting out over the audience and Dad and Jim were ducking....Stu was standing there transfixed with his mouth open watching. He asked, “HOW?”
“It's all money we're going to invest. Those are 3D hologram projectors. Rather than seeing them from the side, you're shooting them off side walls and they're being seen by everyone as real, BUT, the thing there is at the end, it gives a short bit of darkness with the fountains just bubbling to let everyone catch their breath and then, it goes into that extravaganza with the fire and everything.”
Stu's eyes went wide, “MAN!”
“It's intense. It builds up and then, when it gets to the end, it's back down to calm so that everyone's going to stand up and cheer.”
Dad said, “This is amazing. I'll admit we've seen the show before and loved it, but your Mom is going to be telling everyone to get down here! I know I'm thinking of a list of people to tell now that this is the MUST SEE rather than 'see it for the money'.”
I said, “Stu, you can put in more seats, but we're not raising the price. I want everyone coming in to see it and getting their money's worth so much that they're leaving out of here and telling everyone along the way they saw it and getting those customers in.
Dad's right, it's going to COMPELL people to do word of mouth advertising simply because of how they were amazed.
What's totally cool is this....Not one thing was wasted. There are so many micros which it made the stage look like it was two acres of lake.”
Dad said, “I agree. At first, I was blown away that something I KNEW was a lot smaller looked so big and then, it showed me with all those bubbling sparkles that it was a whole lot of little things.”
Stu said, “I get to see the whole show?”
“Yeah, do you want to stay here and I'll get the tractor delivered?”
“Do you mind?”
“No! I'm more excited in seeing that you get to see it! You're going to be blown away!”
Dad asked, “Can we ALL watch it again?”
I said, “Yeah. We're still 2 hours from when we told 'em we'd be out there...Let's go up to the booth. The sound's better up there.”
We went up and I pulled over some bar stools, “When we get the seats in, they're going to have speakers by each of your shoulders and in each arm rest aimed toward you. It's going to give a 3rd dimension to hearing the music and the sound, but it costs a lot....IF you order them in rows of 10, they're $1700 each...otherwise, they're $2100 if you order 8 and $2400 if you order 5.
We're going with 3 rows of ten here and forty rows back, so we've got 1200 seats here...which is probably the max that fire code will accept.
Over at the other, we'll either be able to go five rows wide or seven...depending what Stu wants.” I paused and smiled and said, “I think I'll cheat and ask him right after he sees this show!”
Everyone laughed and I said, “Stu? You ready?”
I typed in 'new show' and instantly, the beginning started showing the new building and everything. Stu was like, “Oh wow! That's it?”
I gave a nod and we continued to watch. Through everything, I kept trying to figure out what was needed and by the end, I had a list started.
When it finished, Dad said, “I absolutely love it. I get caught up in it and when those damned ghosts come out, I'm STILL wanting to run!”
We all laughed and Stu said, “That's just incredible. I see what you mean....Seeing it as a viewer rather than someone who's worked hundreds of hours on it, it's just amazing!”
I said, “Stu, it's in the computer. There's a new program here which is tearing everything apart and has you able to do what I said....cutting and pasting in bits to get the effects for however long you need them right where they're needed.”
He asked, “How many copyrights did we violate with that?”
“I think we're going to be fine. It's sort've like 'sampling' for a DJ except it's video.”
He looked surprised, “So you're telling me I could have 'I've had the time of my life' scene from Dirty Dancing? And the kiss scene from 'Ghost'???”
“Yeah, but I've got a 3D one which is going to blow people away...Have you seen that beach where the planes are coming in right over people's heads? How about that in 3D.”
Everyone instantly were excited and I said, “There's a lot more of those....There's one where a locomotive is riding over the camera. That'd be cool.”
I paused and said, “Stu?”
“Let's do a September 11th Memorial Day one. IF people feel like they were there and we can have those buildings falling and the smoke billowing out at them in 3D, it's going to have people feeling everything better. We've got the flames. We've got the smoke machines and everything else, so we can do stuff like that which is going to pull at that emotion in ways it'll bring whole new meaning.”
Dad said, “You'll have an audience full of people crying.”
“I'm thinking a lot of things....I can see a scene from Arlington where people are at the graves and a changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier and I can see it having so many meanings about what Memorial Day SHOULD mean to people that if they're here on vacation to have a good time, it's reminding them WHY they got the time off. IF they remember and shed a tear, it's more than they were wanting to do, so think about that...
However, I'm also thinking about expanding on that building demolition scene and working from that, but a matinee where the kids get to see a lot of different cartoon characters and the thought of seeing Sponge Bob Square Pants with a lot of water and bubble effects would be real cool.”
said, “I can see where this is super great for unleashing your
creativity. I get a lot of ideas like that also, but your Mom would
totally wear you out on the phone giving you ideas!”
We all chuckled and I said, “Maybe that's what we need is a 'suggestion line' where the audience calls after they've thought about it and gives us their thoughts. It'd keep it going from THEIR point of view and would have us seeing what they want to see.”
Stu said, “That's a good idea!”
“I'm just trying to think of how many ways the audience can be drawn back in. If it's new and fresh, they won't come in and say, “Ho-hum same old thing” like they do up and down the strip...I think that's what I like so much about this.”
Stu said, “Well, what have you got on the purchase list so far?”
“A lot. So many of these things are going to be easy to reproduce, but working those lasers and those projectors and getting them placed right is going to need to be where we go with this...I guess what I should've been asking Eddie is for a blueprint and an order sheet!”
Everyone laughed and I said, “Ok, let's get out of here and get that tractor delivered. THEN, we can get everyone some supper and show you everything else.”
We went out and I said, “Dad, you ride with Stu. I'll ride with Jim and get it delivered.”
Jim said, “How about you driving. You know where we're going.”
It didn't take us long to get to Rhen and John's house. They were sitting out on the porch and when we pulled up their drive, they were jumped up and came down to greet us.
When everyone got out, Jim went to start undoing all the straps and chains holding everything on the trailer and I introduced Rhen and John to my Dad. They were happy to meet him and then, we got the equipment off the trailer one by one until everything was out and delivered.
Getting the Johnny Popper to start was a bit of a chore. It didn't have any juice in the battery, so we finally had to roll start it down the driveway. It caught and then, the entire area seemed like it was filled with it's sound.
Back up the drive, John said, “I want to hook it up to the sickle bar and get that field prepared. By tonight, I'll probably have it ready to plant!”
I said, “First thing first, I need to have you show my Dad your smoke house and let him sample everything. He's already going to be ordering a LOT from us in the way of soaps, and I've got at least 2 doctors who are going to be trying that oil, so let's get them to trying you guy's stuff!
I want us to go over to Hell's Holler so we can show them the
Dad said, “Oh man, your Mom is going to want to see that.”
“Surprise her and bring her one back.”
We went into the smoke house and as we walked through, Dad was smelling meats and calling out the woods. We got to the barbecue area and John started telling what each piece of jerky was and giving them pieces.
Dad was asking questions and when he started asking prices, John gave me a look. I said, “John, treat him like any ordinary customer.”
He said, “But he's FAMILY!”
I gave a nod and said, “I realize that, but he's wanting to pay, so tell him what you'd be asking from someone else and that way, you'll be doing it right.”
He walked down the row and pointed at different portions of meat and said the prices. Dad asked, “I need to ask if you'll have the selection of woods for a long time?”
John said, “Yeah, as long as there are forests, we'll have the wood. We're not picky with what we cut down to burn in the house, but we don't let anything go to waste.”
Dad said, “I'll probably be in trouble when I get home, but I'm going to start picking out what I want and then, tell you what else I want.”
He started picking and by the time he was finished, he was at nearly $2500 worth of meat. He said, “I'd like a crock of EACH of your jerkies and IF you can, I'd love to have some turkey jerky. I loved that when I was a kid and a friend of mine who lives over by Fort Leonard Wood back then used to have a LOT of it.”
John said a name and Dad immediately said, “YEAH!”
John gave me a pained expression, “He's not just family, he's a friend of family Jeremy!”
I shrugged, “Treat him like a customer. He'll take it home and he'll bring in other customers just from the people he knows. IF he's not telling them the prices, they won't know, so we've got to charge him the price.”
Dad said, “That's the way I'd do it. I understand the viewpoint you're having John, but Jeremy's right.”
John shook his head and finally looked at Rhen, “Do I do it?”
Rhen said, “Yes. It's a new way of doing things and I know we don't like it, but I can see it from their way of doing it also.”
John gave a nod, “Ok, but I don't like it. Around here, we give freely from the heart and make sure people don't do without. If you had something I needed, I'd ask and you'd give...That's the way things are done.”
Dad said, “I agree. We do it that way up home also...Well, you see Jeremy's been taught how we do it.”
John nodded, “That's why he fits in so good around here. Everyone likes him.” He gave a smirk, “Even AFTER last night!”
Everyone laughed and John said, “Stu's face was SURE red!”
We got the meats carried out and Dad said, “I'm going to go up to the bank and get the money. We'll be right back.”
He said, “Jeremy, you drive me to the bank?”
“Wait a moment Dad...Let's go in here.”
We went into the house and Rhen had LOTS of breads laid out. I turned, “Man, you've been busy!”
He smiled a shy smile, “It's a lot of money.”
“Yeah, what we'll do is we'll get the bags and...”
He pointed, “John got those.”
I turned and saw a bunch of flour sack bags. Dad said, “Oh man! Do you know how long it's been since I seen any of those! When we were little kids, that's what we were dressed in! AND, that's what Mom put on us as diapers!”
Rhen smiled, “That's how it's done here too. SO many people have so many of them, that we use 'em.”
I said, “Rhen, let's show him the breads.”
I went over to the counter, “Dad, he keeps a loaf out of everything he makes. I see he's braiding the one like we did yesterday and Rhen, does this have the cheese in it?”
He gave a nod and I asked, “Can we have a taste?”
He came over and cut off a chunk. I gave it to Dad and Jim. Jim said, “Oh man! How much!”
Dad chuckled, “Rhen, my wife is going to want LOTS of this! What YOU are charging for one loaf is what we pay for three little sticks of it at a restaurant up home...”
He turned to Jim, “How many do you want?”
Jim said, “Two.”
Dad gave a nod and I said, “Hang on a second, there's different flavors.”
Dad gave me a look like, “Boy, I'm already in the dog house!” and I said, “Just try the others.”
We tried them and Dad said, “Everything tastes so good because it's ALL cooked with wood. I love the smells in here and I love the taste of everything and I'm reminded so much of when I was little, it's amazing.”
He turned, “I'll take 3 of everything. Your Mom is going to be upset, but at the same time, when we're enjoying it, she's going to be agreeing with me that everything tastes so good.”
He said, “Rhen? See if you can put two or three in each sack.”
Rhen was sort've giving a shocked look, “You don't want the sacks?”
Dad said, “I love the sacks, but I realize it's going to take a lot if you're selling as much bread as I think you're going to be selling.”
Rhen said, “We've got a woman who is going to make them!”
I smiled and gave a nod, “Rhen, if you do that, charge at least 50 cents more a loaf. You can make it 3 for $10, but it's costing you to get those sacks.”
“We just thought we'd help!”
“I'm thankful, but I also know people are going to have a lasting memory with those sacks. What I'll do is I'll get a silkscreen so we can use the sacks as advertising. That way, when they see the sack, they'll have the telephone number to order some more by telephone.”
Rhen looked surprised, “That's a good idea!”
I nodded, “It's us taking advantage of what we can. They might throw away that flier we give 'em, but they'll have that sack cloth for a long long time.
Now, either you can do that, or I'll pay to get you guys all the material you need and that way, it's not costing you so much.”
Dad said, “Normally, those sacks would bring a dollar a piece. Kids can use them as book bags, and lot of things around the house. My Mom had 'em for clothes pins and she used 'em for pillow cases. And when they wore through, they got used for all sorts of dusting cloths and everything else.”
I said, “Here's what I'll do....” and paused, “We'll buy them from her rather than you. We'll get her the material which is already silk screened and then, we can use 'em as a way to send people home with lasting memories....and we can put them in the boxes for mail orders as ways to keep things from being hurt when they're bouncing around next to each other. It's advertising and I'm pretty sure we can write it off as such.”
Rhen said, “I'll let her know. She's going to be mighty thankful. It's real easy for her to make because she's real fast with a sewing machine.”
I gave a nod, “We're going to be selling GOBS of stuff. You're seeing how my Dad is and once my Mom realizes how much she's enjoyed everything, she's going to be making orders.
The thing about it is this...We're not even into the General store yet and we're selling stuff. We're going to need to buy tents and have them on the parking lot, but I promise you it's going to be so fast with the business, we'll probably sell out every day.
What I THINK is this...we're going to have to start thinking about how long it takes John to smoke his meats and we're probably going to have to start ordering cattle by the truck load just so that you guys have enough.”
They looked surprised and I said, “It's going to be a LOT guys. Yeah, a lot of people won't buy as much as my Dad, but a lot of 'em will. They realize a good deal when they see one and they're going to order those hams and turkeys also...so we're going to have to be thinking about getting lots of those also.”
Dad said, “Everything tastes so good that I want it all. Those pork roasts and pork steaks make my mouth water just thinking about them.” He turned to John and said, “You're damned good with what you do....be expecting to sell A LOT!”
John said, “I don't know if I'll have enough space!”
I asked, “John? May I make a suggestion?”
“How about we change things and do them different. What if we get everyone together and build you a nice big modern smokehouse? Rhen can have his bakery in one side and burn the wood and then, the smoke can go through and smoke the meat.
I realize it's not as you planned, but it's probably going to be something where you're both so busy that you're going to need LOTS more than what you're making now.
IF you guys keep up on the scale of things you're doing now, you'll be worn smooth out. Yeah, you can hire more people, but just the chore of doing it day in and day out of what you once enjoyed is going to make you sick and tired of it.
I'd rather you thinking it got easier and you've got so much than you're never going to catch up. The benefit of it is this...You’ll always have plenty to give others and yet, we've not even gotten to where we're thinking things through on the other things.”
I turned and said to Dad, “We've got women who are selling deviled eggs for a dollar a dozen. We've got Mary Sue who is making macaroni salad for a dollar a crock....IF we can get the crocks in that size there for 30 cents each.”
Dad looked shocked, “Oh man!”
“It's all going to be so much. We've got someone else making butter in those same crocks. We've got cheese being made in them and we've got cottage cheese being sold in 'em.
It's going to be so much, but as you see, people are going to be getting a keepsake with each purchase. Where you and I see them getting a free sack which normally costs a dollar, other people are going to be suddenly seeing that bread being $2.50 a loaf with a dollar sack that's free...that's when they're going to tell their kids they each can have a loaf because they know everyone gets something after the bread's gone.
I'm wanting to get lots of jars and us going with a lot of things sold in them also. Lynn Amy is makin' pickles, relishes, and lots of pickled things. She's already known for a huge garden which she trades cucumbers off, but with the tractor being in the family, she's REALLY talking about expanding.”
His eyes lit up and he gave a nod, “It's them getting a piece of the pie up there and I want us keeping them happy, not feeling like they were wore out by us.”
John said, “We won't feel that way.”
Dad gave a nod, “John, I agree more with Jeremy. I realize it's you guys finally getting to do what you enjoy, but when it becomes a job, it's something you enjoy, but it's also tougher.
realizes it's going to be popular and he also realizes the scale of
things which is going to be needed. I'm wondering if a factory
shouldn't be built...That's how much I see things will be
What else I'm wondering if this isn't the Godsend people need for jobs around here. You ALL can be supervisors in watching what you love and enjoy get made and you can insure the quality you expect gets put in also, but a lot of these things are going to sell out in one day that you probably put a month into.”
They looked surprised and I said, “I'm willing to invest money into it. I know it's going to be a lot, but I also know we're going to be making a lot of money.”
Dad asked, “What are you guy's cut on this?”
“Ten percent. If they sell it for $3.00, we make 30 cents. If it sells for $10, we mark it up a dollar and sell it for $11. After that, we take care of the taxes and we make sure they get paid, but all this today is their money...”
John looked shocked, “No!”
I said, “John, you didn't sell one thing out of our building. You sold it here. Use the money you'd normally give us and buy a piece of equipment for a tractor or put it towards getting another tractor.”
Jim said, “I'll work on getting another tractor. Up home, people don't use tractors this small anymore unless it's to blade their driveway in the winter. Me seeing you guys using it the way it used to be and ACTUALLY USING them is good for me. I'll definitely do all I can.”
I said, “John, it's gotta be the dual fuel. They're going to be running shine through 'em out here because that's what....”
I saw Dad's face light up in sudden remembrance of him wanting the 'water'...
I continued, “....is cheapest.”
Jim smiled and said, “I'll take a jug of that also!”
John looked surprised, “Ok!”
Dad said, “Me too!”
I said, “Ok, what I can do right now is this...I'll pay for everything so you don't have to go to the bank. We'll go over to Hell's Holler and then, we'll get on over to where we can get the shine.
You guys are now getting a glimpse of everything I love about down here.”
Dad asked, “Why do they call it Hell's Holler?”
John said, “In the fall, it's so full of red leaf trees that it's nothing but blood red when you look down from the top of the hill. Someone apparently said it's like they were going down into Hell itself and since then, it's been Hell's Holler.”
Dad gave a nod, “That's a good name.”
I asked, “John, is it ok if we leave Jim's truck here? Us driving that long trailer down some of those roads would be a bit much.”
He gave a nod, “Sure, but will you be buyin' some of those crocks?”
“Yeah, we've got a bed in my truck, so we'll be able to haul what we can. When we come back, I'll get that meat and have it back there.”
He gave a nod, “Do you know where to go?”
“I know where to go for that, but not to get the 'water'.”
“I'll show you.”
I gave him the money....almost $3200 altogether. He turned and gave it to Rhen, “Put this away. I think that's the most money I've ever held at one time in my life!”
Rhen looked nervous also, but he took it and went in the house quickly. We got in the truck with Dad and Jim sitting in the back with John sitting up on the outside with Stu sitting next to me.
We drove over to Hell's Holler. When we pulled up to the house, Nate Jackson came out. All of us got out and John introduced us. Nate looked surprised and said, “Oh! You're the fellars who've got everyone interested in my crocks.”
I smiled, “Have you had a lot of interest?”
He looked shocked, his eyes bulged out, “HAVE I? I'm nearly sold out!”
I asked, “Can we see what you've got left?”
We went out and when we went inside, the first thing I saw was the biggest crock I'd ever seen. It had to be four feet in diameter and four feet deep.
I went over and rubbed my hand on it. He said, “That's the biggest I make.”
“Three hundred dollars!”
I gave a nod and turned to John, “I've got a question...”
John gave me a look, “If we start getting you cattle in, do you think you could throw briskets in this and make corned beef? It's basicly pickling a beef brisket.”
He looked surprised, “OH! I've never thought about it!”
Dad smiled really big.
I said, “I'll get it for you, but I'll have to get you the recipe.”
He nodded and smiled really big. I said, “John, here's what I'm going to ask. You probably don't realize it, but the only difference between corned beef and pastrami is whether you smoke it or not. I'm going to ask you to smoke some so we can serve it on sandwiches.”
We went on through and as we went through, Dad was oohing and ahhing like a madman. I went over to him and said, “Dad, here...” I took his phone and punched in and set the GPS. He asked, “What'd you just do?”
“I just set the GPS location. If you get go on the computer at home to Google Maps, you'll be able to put in that location and pull up a map of how to drive right to this location. That way, when you and Mom come down, you can bring her out here and shop to your heart's content.”
He looked surprised, “I didn't know that!”
“It's how I know how to get back to any location out here. My phone set 'em and then, I do the maps on it and am able to pull up at will.”
He smiled, “Cool!”
“Whenever you want to go anywhere, You can look up the location on Google Earth or Google Maps and get the GPS location. The way I do it is I use Google Earth and get the location and punch it in and then, use the Maps app and it's no problem.
What's REALLY cool is you can put into your phone by someone's name and their phone number and have it for all time...or until they move. When they don't have a phone, like out here, it's a bit tougher, but I'm going to be getting them some phones so they're able to be contacted.”
John gave a surprised look, “Really!”
“Yeah John, if I can call you guys and see whether you two have plans or if you can call me and ask what's needed, that'll be real good. I'll probably be able to get hold of you to tell you what's needed also.”
“Could you make it a house phone? Rhen would be better on that.”
I gave a nod and said, “I imagine you'll be on the tractor a lot.”
He smiled real big, “Yeah, I've always wanted a tractor!”
I turned to Jim, “Do you think we could find a way to get a front end loader for that JD (John Deere)?”
He frowned, “I'll see if they even made 'em. What are you thinking?”
“Here's what I'm thinking...I've got a four wheel drive and Stu does also, but if they're using a rear blade to drag and plow snow, it's going to be a mess. We didn't get a blade and them having a two point hitch....”
He gave a nod, “I'll see what I can find.”
“Here's what I know...I'm going to have that Bobcat and if worse comes to worse, I'll weld on a bumper hitch onto the back of it and pull a trailer in the snow out here. I can plow snow or get a snow blower, but I realize a lot of these roads probably don't get plowed that soon.”
Dad picked out some crocks and I picked out some as decoration and told Nate, “Nate, here's what I need. I'm going to need at least two crocks which have a hole down here at the bottom. Up top here, I'm going to need a cover. We're going to sell 'sang tea and sassafrass tea at the show place and I need something which has “'Fras' and 'Sang' on it.”
He said, “I can do it.”
I gave a nod and Dad stood there smiling, “You're really going all out!”
“I want people to be able to have different teas and taste the difference.”
He said, “You're going to need to be on the lookout for health inspectors.”
I turned and asked John, “What's Clem do for a living?”
“He's the Health and Sanitation inspector.”
I turned back to Dad, “Clem's in the family Dad. If it's not broke, I'm not fixin' it. These people have lived for a long damned time without killin' themselves, I think we can do the same.
At the waters, we'll have a high standard of cleanliness and plenty of people who will be working, but here's what I'm thinking....
The motel over there has no restaurant, therefore people have to get out on that strip and find a place to eat. If we're servin' lunch and havin' a nooner and a duecer matinee during the day time, it's pullin' 'em in and really, THOSE can be ran and operated by the people who want full time employment.
The way I see it is this....Stu can decide if he wants a 2,000 seat or a 5,000 seat or even a 7,000 seat, but each one of those seats is going to cost us a lot.
What I figure is this...We can have shows twice a night or we can have three shows at six, eight, and ten. The ten can be a rock themed one and we'll have plenty of lasers and effects we can throw in for them.
Our plus side is this....I've not spoke with him about this yet, but while we were doing our radio programming, I discovered the low voltage lower band radio stations are about nil around here. If we offer tourist information and if we offer traffic information, We're ahead of the game in getting' 'em to listen to us.
We own the intersection up there where the new strip and the old meet, therefore we own the right to put a huge tall light pole there where we can have surveillance and traffic cameras. We own land on both strips, so we're ahead of that game by being able to put them up there also. Basicly, all it is, is a cell phone connection for the cameras, so we're fine to broadcast and use the towers as our low voltage base towers for the radio also.”
Stu looked surprised and smiled, “When did you think of this?”
been bouncing around in my mind. It serves as us a place to advertise
our businesses and it serves us a place to advertise to the locals.
What I figure is this...IF we're low on advertisers, we program in our businesses more, but at the same time, I'm sure we can advertise a lot for the family and throw up some billboards advertising the radio station as the good source for all things Branson.”
We left and John took us over to the farm where the still is located. We went up in and the guy came out the door with his shotgun until he saw it was me driving and then, I saw it was Vernon....not to be mistaken with Vern who is his cousin.
I yelled, “Vernon, don't you shoot my ass!”
He smiled real big, “Boy, you come back for more!”
I laughed and said, “Dammit, why'd you do that to me!”
“I figured you'd take a swig and pass it on! How'd I know you was gonna play it!”
I went up and hugged him and said, “That's a helluva joke. You got me good!”
He smiled, “Who are these people?”
“My Daddy is right here.” I introduced my Dad and I said, “This is Jim, right here. Jim's the one who sold us the tractor and is gonna get us another.”
He gave a big nod, “I'm gonna need use of that myself.”
“I'm gonna ask you a few questions.”
“I'm gonna put you into business legal like, ok?”
“How in the hell!”
“You're going to submit an application to produce alcohol for cars and trucks. If you do that, the government will pay for most everything and then, you'll be able to say you're legit.
The flip side of it is this....You’re able to say you're runnin' test batches such as blackberry, boysenberry, raspberry, dandelion and lots of other wines. You can also get into apple, persimmon, watermelon, and a lot of 'em....and when we see if the test batches are good and good sellers, we can apply and get you hooked up to make those as well as a distillery for whiskeys, and other things.
What I'll do is I'll arrange it and get you set up for the bottlin', but you gotta keep all this on the hush hush until we get it goin'.”
He smiled real big, “You mean I can keep it goin' and not have to worry?”
“Yeah, but you and everyone else who buys it from you GOTTA say they're runnin' it in their cars and it'll work.”
Dad gave a frown, where are you gonna put it?”
“Right here for now and then, we'll put it up where we have a good place for rail and truck traffic. Because that big one will be considered a subsidiary of the little one right here, it's always going to refer to this as home office...or corporate headquarters.”
Dad laughed and Jim was giggling and shaking his head. I smiled, “It's all legalities Dad! And you know damned well you're allowed to operate a test station at your corporate headquarters so you're within specs! The plus side there is this...we're all going to be in on a lot of the testing as designated 'testers' for the various batches and due to the trucks we just bought being FlexFuel capable, you know what I'm gonna run in mine!”
Stu looked surprised, “Hey! That's pretty smooth!”
I turned, “So do we have a deal Vernon?”
He smiled, “Yeah sure!”
I nodded and said, “What I'm gonna ask is this...You make sure the tractor is always fueled and I'll make sure you've got first dibs on it after John....and I'll imagine, John will be all too happy to run the picker and sheller and quite possibly we can get us a combine.”
I paused, “Now Vernon? I'm gonna be buyin' you some equipment. You and the boys are gonna be havin' to go get it, but I'm tellin' ya now it's going to be an altogether different way of doin' things.”
“Ok, here's how. Have you ever heard of gasification?”
“Let me explain it to you because as soon as I explain it to you, you're gonna have a light bulb click on and suddenly, you're going to get my drift.
What you're doing now is you're burning the wood down here. It heats up the kettle and then, you gotta have a fire over there on your distiller.”
“What if I were to tell you that you could burn wood twice?”
“By makin' it charcoal.”
He gave a big nod, “Right!”
“Well, here's what happens when you make charcoal.”
“I know all about that!”
“Are you catchin' the gases which come off of it like you are this?”
“Well, if you do, you can hook that up to a burner down here and over there and there's enough gas which you catch that you're savin' wood, BUT, here's the thing you didn't know....
IF we get you an old oil drum or an asphalt drum, we can drop in bales of hay and all sorts of things and burn the gases off those. You can burn your trash in it and you can burn a lot of other things in it, but what's fun is you can also burn all the droppin's from everyone's horse and cow barns in it also.”
“I'll show you, you're going to be blown away. Have you ever made homemade sausage or ground up your own meat?”
“Basicly put, you get a great big huge thing like that and you put a real small holed die on the end and as it turns, you're going to press out the liquids and compress the solids. The liquids can be used on fields as fertilizer and the solids are what can be burned.”
“So you're tellin' me I can do a lot of different things with 'em...”
“It's called briquettes. You can take saw dust and make 'em or you can take leaves and make 'em or whatever....but ones which burn super hot are the ones you make from the hulls of walnuts or pecans.”
He looked surprised, “OH! We throw those out!...Well, we throw the pecan husks on in the wood stove.”
“Yeah, and now you know what can be done with the rest....I'm tellin' ya that we're gonna have you makin' and reusin' so much that you're gonna be feedin' all that mash as pellets and everyone's gonna want it'. The plus side is you can take the mash and everything else from all the wine pressin's and make it on into pellets...”
I turned to John, “I'm gonna be askin' you'ns to plant us some popcorn. We'll need a bunch of it for the show up there and I'd rather we have home grown rather than store bought.
What else I'll tell you is the squeezer can operate on that tractor....and we'll have a closed loop system, but what you should know is this guys....My Daddy there knows how to buy all sorts of grains and little does he know that milo...or what you guys know as sorghum...can be squeezed and what comes out is the juice which can be boiled down to being the oil.
You can do the same thing for LouElla and Liza Jane and get the oils from all those flowers....You put 'em in and you squeeze 'em and out comes the oils and all the rest can be burned.”
They were lookin' surprised and I said, “We'll have a big discussion on it, but I'll buy you the equipment, you just don't be afraid to share it...What's best is this...
All them people up there throw out their Christmas trees and we can squeeze 'em. It'll make us pellets to burn and to make into gas in that gas system....but the plus side of it is that you don't get as much creosote built up in your stove pipes and a fire will smolder longer if you do it that way in your smoke house John.”
He looked surprised and I said, “All the paper trash you guys burn can go on in and get squeezed to make a better fire with a lot less ash. We're going to show you how it's done and then, you're going to be amazed.”
He suddenly seemed excited about it and I said, “Larger things like logs have to go through a chipper or shredder first, but you can put little things like twigs and branches in which aren't much count for a good fire any other way...but this way, it's going to be used up for everything and you'll see I'm going to come up with a lot more ways to go about making it....but Vernon, we're going to be doing a LOT of things which we can teach everyone Ok?”
“I gave a nod and said, “Ok, my Daddy and Jim want to buy some 'water' from ya and we need a real good jug for each of 'em. I'm most likely gonna be flyin' in a plane with those damned things and don't need to get out up there in the mornin' and be drunk as a damned skunk again!”
Everyone laughed, and Vernon got us some real good jugs. When it came time to pay, he shook his head, “Nah, you're doin' enough for me. I'm not gonna take your money.”
“Ok, but when I get to showin' you things, you're gonna totally flip your lid on what all you've been missin' out on. I'm gonna show you how to make power from that still and use the way we're doin' it to make that fire hotter.
All it takes is an air compressor and runnin' it backwards using that steam there and hookin' the pipe to the weep hole. As it's chuggin' along, it's going to be hooked to a generator which you can use to power your house. Ok?”
He looked surprised, “How'd you get so smart!”
“It's a thing called YouTube. I'll get the videos so you can see how to do everything....but if you can, I'm going to ask if anyone around here has an old steam engine which they're powering to pump water?”
“Nah, but there's an old steam engine tractor out there sittin'.”
Dad damned lunged and I said, “Would you show us?”
He took us out and from way far away, I saw it was an old Case steam tractor.
Dad said, “If you don't buy it, I am!”
Jim laughed, “I suppose I'll be haulin' it home on that trailer!”
I said, “Dad, here's the deal. You buy it and I'll get 'em another one. You know what I'm doin' here and it's takin' showin' 'em everything like dominoes fallin'.”
“I know what you're doin' and I agree totally.”
“You find me a big wind turbine generator set.”
Stu was walkin' within earshot, “What are you doing?”
“Stu, here's the thing. All this steam they're making and all the heat they're making from these fires is being wasted. When people know how to generate power, it's about the easiest thing in the world for 'em once they know how. Until they learn how and how easy it is, it's a big mystery.
Take a look at every single chimney, smoke stack and you'll not see one way to reabsorb the heat. ALL of that smoke and heat is able to be ran through water tanks which in turn heats up and creates steam....Even when you don't have steam, you can create it by turning a shaft and making a water hammer....which I'll show you on YouTube.”
“Ok, but how does that apply?”
“Ok, here's how it's going to apply to you....How much is your heating bill and water heating bill a the motel a month?”
I gave a nod and said, “What if I told you that if you were paying more than $120 to $150 a month, you were robbin' yourself? If you make a big water hammer, you can produce power AND hot water in abundance just by running a motor. The electricity for the motor turns the shaft which creates hot water from cold...I'll show you.”
“Ok, do so!”
“And when I do, you're going to have me runnin' trenches and puttin' the hot water for ALL your businesses on one pipe and usin' it to keep your drives and parking lots heated in the winter time so you don't need snow removal.”
“Will it make that much?”
“Yeah, and it'll do a lot more.”
Dad said, “Stu, listen to him....If you knew how rigged he makes things, and does 'em, you'll wonder why more people don't do it.”
We got up to the steam engine and Vernon said, “She's stoked up. Rather than ruinin' her, I brought her up here and drained her.”
Dad asked, “How much?”
Vernon gave me a look and asks, “Why does he keep wantin' to pay family?”
“It's the way we do it. I'm able to be here and help, but because he's living up home in Hannibal, he pays because he's not able to share as much.”
Vernon turned to my Dad and said, “We'll get it out of here for you, but I'm gonna want a fair trade. If you get us a good tractor and more stuff, we'll trade.”
I said, “Vernon, here's what I'm going to ask....Ok?”
“How much water does this hold?”
“Oh shoot, probably a hundred or two...”
“Can you get us fifty gallons of cider vinegar and put it in the water tank of it?”
“If you put vinegar in with your water when you're runnin' it through those tubes, the vinegar will keep the tubes clean....All that lime scale will dissolve.
I'll get you another good one, but what we're going to do with it is we're going to hook it up and make power.”
“Have you ever seen those windmills which make power?”
“Yeah...but they don't make much power.”
“The new ones do. The new ones make enough power you could power nearly every house in this whole are with one.”
“Yeah, the fun thing about it is rather than makin' it turn with wind, you hook it up to that propulsion and run it with a chain or a belt. You feed it and it turns and you sell the power to the power company who buys it and then, you're making enough money from it you're payin' for everyone in the family's power and their phones and everything else....
The only thing you've got to do is you've got to check it and grease the bearings once a month and it runs like clock work.”
He looked surprised, “How much does THAT cost!”
“I'll get it for you, but you gotta share. In return, everyone else has to share also.”
He nodded, “That's the way it's done.”
“We used to have a saw mill we operated with it.”
“Do you still have that?”
“Yeah, it's right over there.”
“We'll get it back into operation, but you're going to do something WAY different with the wood, ok?”
“Well, here's what you do....You take all that up on the strip and then, you slice up logs into boards about 3 inches thick. People are going to want to see you sawin' logs, but while they're there, you're gonna have some guys usin' some saws to write their names in those boards.”
“I'll show you, but what you do them is this....Right after you saw their names in the boards, you paint where their name was etched in with black paint or stain and then, you seal the entire thing with some varnish or lacquer.
We'll sell those things for $50 each and people will buy 'em up like you won't believe. What's cool is we can do little ones which are about this long and use it for smaller houses or for their addresses.
What's fun about it is we can have Poppy over there makin' his chain saw sculptures and makin' money also. Ok?”
“It's all real simple, but promise me one thing....that I can hook up another thing to it and that we'll be able to produce steam and hot water from it.”
“I'll show you...It's real simple and when I show you, it's going to have everyone wanting us to make 'em for 'em. We'll do that, but when you're operatin' you're distillery, we'll be usin' the hot water and steam there also.”
He smiled, “You're real smart.”
“I'll show you how I get so smart. By the time you're done watching a bunch of videos, you're going to be just as smart...I promise you.”
He gave a nod, “It's going to take a bunch to get this out of here, but we'll get it done.”
I said, “Let me bring over my Bobcat. It should get real good traction and be able to pull it real easy.”
Dad said, “I'll come back with him and then, we'll be able to get it out real soon.”
We walked back out and I hugged Vernon and he really smiled. I said, “We'll be back. Ok?”
We drove out and I asked John, “Do you mind if we go on into town and get it?”
“Nah, I don't mind...tell me how you're going to make all that power?”
“I'll show you. All we have to do is get my laptop and then, you'll be able to watch how.
What I want you to know John, is this...I'm not any smarter or dumber than you or anyone else. When I show you, you're going to know and when I show you more things and you look on your own computer some day, you're going to know.”
“Do I have enough to get a computer now?”
“Yeah, you've got enough to get you and Rhen both one!”
“AND a lot more!”
I handed Stu my phone and asked, “Would you dial 1-800-ATT-2020?”
“Yeah, but why?”
“Tell 'em we want 'em hooked up to a phone line for their house.”
“Before you do that, I'm going to ask if they've got that state ran internet out here?”
“They ran it through, but a lot of people didn't sign up.”
“Call 'em and tell 'em we want 'em hooked up for the works.”
“That's quite a bit per month!”
“It gives 'em internet, television, and phone for a lower price than AT&T.”
I asked John, “IF you guys got a television, would you watch it?”
“Yeah, but we tend to stay busy.”
I said to Stu, “Get the basic package. They can get the high speed internet with that just as well as the works.”
I said, “John, we're going to go back by your place and get the money. We'll get you a good television and a couple of computers with it.
I'll teach you how to get on the computer and then, we'll get your phone and internet with that.”
“It's what you hook up to your computer in order to get to everything.”
“They wanted a bunch of money to hook all that up when they brought it through. They wanted us to get rural water at the same time, but I didn't want 'em to...”
“Can I beg you to get that hooked up if we pay it for you?”
“Yeah, but why?”
“Because for another $400 you can get a fire hydrant hooked up and if your house ever catches on fire, The rural fire department will be able to pump from that and have your house put out quicker.”
“Yeah. We'll work on makin' it so you've got hot water and plenty of power, but when we do, you're going to be amazed at how much things will change for you guys.”
“Yeah, I'll show you. What I'll do is I'll show everyone at the same time and then, they'll all be able to help us do it for you and then, you and everyone else can help each other to get it done for everyone else.”
“This will be real nice.”
We pulled up to their house and Rhen came out. John said, “I need the money!”
Rhen looked shocked, “Why?”
Stu said, “I've got it ordered for them. Rural water will be out tomorrow. They'll hook everything up.”
I gave a nod, “Babe, I know I'm spendin' money like there's no end in sight, but you're going to be amazed how this goes.”
“I'm a bit interested in everything myself!”
Dad said, “Stu, when we're up home, I'd like for you boys to come out so you can see how he's got it all set up for us.”
Stu said, “You're going to have to call Doc and tell him we're going to be up there and can't be flying home tomorrow night.”
I gave a nod, “Ok, we'll stay up there and I'll bring Gyp with us.”
“She's probably thinking we don't like her right now.”
“Nah, she's had lots of days where she's had to be alone like this.”
John came out and said, “Rhen wants to go also!”
“Come on then!” I said smiling.
We squeezed Rhen in the back and Jim said, “How about I go ahead and drive my truck and trailer on over there?”
I said, “Ok, let me see your phone and I'll get you the map.”
I bluetoothed the information to his phone and pulled up the map. “That's how you get there. We'll be there in no time at all.”
He gave a nod, “You're gonna have to show me how you did that!”
“Ok, I'll write it all out for you and show you on top of that.”
He got into his truck and I said, “Rhen and John, they're going to be over at your place tomorrow hookin' up the rural water and putting in everything for your television and your computer as well as your phone.
When we're in town, we'll get you some phones as well as your computers and your television.”
Rhen was smiling really big, “I'm so excited about getting a phone and the water!”
I gave a nod and when we got to town, I went over to the show and saw Jerritt's car parked. I said, “Stu, go in and show him what the new one will be like. I'll get the trailer hitched up and then, we'll be gone here real soon.”
Stu went in and Dad helped me hitch up. Stu came back out and said, “Jerritt's gonna watch it and keep workin' on programmin', Ok?”
“Ok, we'll be back.”
We went up to Walmart and went in. I cut us through real fast to the electronics department and immediately went to the end stack computers. I said, “Guys, here's the ones you want. They always sell the cheaper ones on the ends like this. Those over there are the ones which are more expensive.”
asked, “This is it? It's so little!”
“It's a laptop. What I'll do is I'll get you the keyboard and the mouse so you can have it without making your hands all cramped up. Ok?”
We got 'em a set of phones and a nice plasma Vizio 42” television. And then, I whizzed through and got everything paid for in the back. The guy said he'd help take everything out and we went back out front and got it loaded. Dad asked, “Do they have a good chain?”
“Nah, but Lowe's up here will. I'll buy it because I know we'll need to use it for quite a bit down here.”
We went into Lowe's real quick and when we came out, Rhen was hugging his computer box to his chest like it was a prized possession.
We drove on out to Vernon's and I off loaded the Bobcat and said, “John?”
“Come here and I'll show you how to drive this.”
He hopped up on and I said, “Squat right there and watch.”
I showed him how to steer and make it go faster and slow it down. I said, “These are the controls to lift the bucket and put it down.”
“Ok, but why do you want me to learn?”
“When we take you guys home, I'm going to dump the trailer and the Bobcat at your place. If you've got anything you need to do with it, feel free to do it tomorrow. We're not going to be here, so you'll have all day. Whatever you do, don't run no shine in this. It's a diesel. The fuel tank is full and I'll refill it when we get it back.”
there's a LOT of things I can do with this!”
“I'm thinking about getting a tiller attachment for it and that way, it'll make garden spots where the tractor won't fit.”
“OH, that'd be nice.”
“You're welcome to use it when I don't need to.”
He gave a nod, “Jer', we sure thank you.”
“You're family. That's what families do. Now, you drive it up there and I'll walk along.”
We stopped and I hopped out. He got in and tried everything real gingerly and then, started forward. When we got up to the steam engine, Jim was parked up so it could go on with ease.
Dad said, “Try pushing it and see if it'll move on it's own accord.”
I said, “John, come back here.”
We went back and I said, “Lift the bucket and tilt it forward all the way so it's completely facing down.”
He did it and I said, “Real easy now, creep up on it and I'll let you know when you're close.”
Dad climbed up on and I led John into the rear hitch of the Case. When it connected, I said, “Ok Dad, we're ready.”
Dad gave a nod and said, “Be gentle, we don't have a good solid brake.”
I motioned for John to push and the tracks slipped a bit and then bit in. The Case crept forward and up out of the spots it had settled into. Together we moved slow and when Dad got to the trailer, we guided it on and it went as smooth as silk.
I motioned for John to stop and said, “Ok, back away and load it on the trailer. We're done here.”
He took out and Vernon watched him drive it around. I said, “Vernon, you've got second dibs on it when I don't need it. Ok?”
He nodded and I said, “I'm gonna have 'em shown how to record those videos they watch. That way, you can watch 'em also and know how we're going to do everything. Ok?”
He gave a nod and as I walked up, Dad said, “You might want to wait a bit and see if we get out of here. The ground is a bit soft.”
They got everything chained down and Stu said, “You're going to have to have 'em come by the cabin so you can show 'em and have 'em using the internet tonight.”
“I can't even begin telling you how proud I am of you right now.”
“Shush....we're in this together. Whatever I get from all this, you're getting as well.”
“I'm just afraid you're bitin' off more than you can chew with helpin' everyone.”
“They're helpin' me too....And they're helpin' us also....BUT, you're going to not like me so well in a few moments.”
“I just realized I've got to buy another truck.”
“A dump truck. I bought the Bobcat and just realized that if I get the boulders over at the salt lick and if I get the dirt out here, we're saving a bunch.”
“It's going to have everyone feeling like they're involved and it's going to have everyone helping and learning...but what I want YOU to do is I want YOU to have the newspaper called so that when everyone is helping, they're getting' credit and having their picture shown in the paper.
What you'll see is it's going to give us free advertising and it's going to announce we're hiring locals and we're doing real good work.”
“Tonight, when we're on the internet, I've got to apply for my Corporate LLC with the state. While I'm doing that, I'm going to have a lot of other things looked up and one of them is to see if that micro brewery is still for sale down in St. Louis.”
“You don't realize it, but here's what I nearly did. I about bought the place rather than coming here. The upside of it is the business is being sold for as much as the equipment inside. It'll take a bit for us to get it all out, but with the guys all helping and us movin' it out, we'll have it moved over here and set up. He'll be legal and that can be the cover for the still.
When the state comes, they can check all that out and basicly, what you should know is whether it's beer or hard liquor, the only difference is the ingredients.”
Does it have the storage tanks and everything?”
“Yeah, but here's what you probably don't realize....One of the best storage tanks in the world and cheapest is a tank trailer. They're stainless steel and completely mobile...and they only cost about $8 grand when they're used.”
“Isn't that quite a bit?”
“A 20,000 gallon tank is around $75,000. A tanker trailer is 5,000 gallons and it's $8 grand.... Four of them does the same and it's less than half the cost.”
“The big tank isn't weather proof, but those trailers are. We can do a lot with them and that'll be fine.
Where it was for me is this...That building will be open and I'll soap up the windows and keep it handy until we need a store front in St. Louis for the General Store. It's prime and really, if I wanted to lease it out, I could and it'd be snapped up in no time at all.”
“Why not do that?”
“I could, but if we do that, we're going to need to have an idea well in advance for when we need the building back so I can tell 'em the lease won't be renewed.”
“Let's do that.”
We watched as Jim got into his truck and crept out. I went over and hugged Vernon again and he said, “You hurry back now, ya hear?”
“I will Vernon.”
Dad came over and said, “I'm gonna ride with Jim. We'll take it on in to the motel. Ok?”
Stu said, “Tell 'em at the front desk that you're the reservation...and I'll call right now. I'm puttin' you guys in the suite we'll be living in when the cabin is torn down.”
Dad gave a nod and we watched as Jim got it onto the road and then, we took it on to the guy's house. When we got there, I said, “John, we're going to need a Philips screwdriver to put your television together.”
He said, “Ok.”
Rhen said, “Let me run in and get it cleaned off where I want it to go!”
Stu and I carried the box and when we got inside, I took a paring knife and sliced into the box and got out the television. John came in and I said, “Ok, here are the screws. I'll show you how this goes.”
We turned it upside down and put the base on. I said, “Ok John, that's where the screws go. He put 'em in and then, we turned it upright and carried it in to where Rhen had a perfect spot for it.
I said, “Tomorrow, when they come, they're going to hook everything up right here. They'll wire four rooms of your house so I'd have 'em wire the living room and your bedroom and the kitchen.”
Rhen plugged it in to the power surge strip and then plugged in the strip. I got out their phones and hooked everything up and gave one to Rhen for their bedroom and one for the kitchen to John. They came back in and I said, “You can put the phone here and it'll be good. You'll get a number tomorrow and what I want you to do is I want you to call my cell phone. As soon as we get out of the doctor's office, I'll have your number and will call you to let you know what we found out about Stu.
Right now, what we'd like for you to do is we'd like for you to come on over to the cabin and bring your laptops. We'll teach you how to get onto the internet and will show you how to record the videos on YouTube so you can show 'em to everyone.”
Rhen said, “Ok!”
They followed us over and when we got to the cabin, I let Gypsy out and Rhen immediately fell in love with her. John smiled real big and said, “He's always loved dogs. I can't breath with an animal in the house for some reason.”
We got out their laptops and I showed 'em how to set 'em up. The clicked them on and then began the process of their laptops booting for the first time. As we did that, Stu and I shared our food with them and we ate.
Finally, their computers were booted. I said, “What I'm going to do here is I'm going to cheat and get you to the internet real fast.”
Stu said, “Jer', you're going to have to slow down. When I started, I didn't even know how to click on my mouse.”
I created shortcuts to the internet and then, went back out and said, “Rhen, try this...This is your mouse. In order to get on the internet, you move your mouse over to the blue e and left click on it twice.”
He moved it real fast and finally, we got him to the e and then, I said, “Left click twice...do it like dot dot.”
He did it and it pulled up the home page. I said, “Ok, you're in. Now move your mouse up there to that line and type in www.YouTube.com .”
He did and I said, “Ok, before you go there, right click on that and save it to your favorites.”
He did and I said, “Ok, now press enter.”
He did and that's when I began teaching him about YouTube.
Across the table, Stu was teaching John and I said, what we need to do now is this....Go up here and type in download.com. It'll get you to a site where you can download some things.”
We got there and I said, “Ok, click on that one...That's your YouTube Downloader.”
“What do I do?”
“Click right there. It'll download it and then, you'll have it to open.”
I helped guide him so he wasn't downloading a lot of extra stuff. Finally, we got it downloaded and I helped him so he could learn how to download videos from there.
To say it was SLOW is an understatement. At each point, he'd write it down and finally, I said, “Rhen?”
He looked up, “Hmmm?”
“Can I show you something?”
I took his pad and pen and drew the arrow and said, “That's Enter”. You can leave off the www., because they're all going to be that.”
“Really all you need at the end is .com, but there are others so you've got to be careful in choosing the right one. If you're trying to go to a government site, you'll need .gov, and if it's Canada, you'll put .ca. Depending upon the country, you'll have a different last part.”
“Oh, do you do that often?”
“More than you can imagine. A lot of the parts I order for the pools and fountains are in Canada, and there are a lot of places I get things way cheaper in Hong Kong.”
“Oh, that's a long ways away!”
“Yeah, I'm going to link your computer in with mine so you can download some of the games I play. This Railroad Tycoon game is what taught me geography and showed me where a lot of the cities are located.”
I said, “What we need to do now is this....I'll get us onto the videos.”
I got him onto the videos and said, “What I'm doing right now is this..I'm setting it up so that if you want to get to where they're downloaded, you got to downloads and that's right there. In there, is a file called Videos.”
I took him to the videos and said, “Ok, we're going to download one and then, I'll show you how to convert it.”
We did and then, Stu asked, “Which do you think for email?”
“Gmail. It's able to go to any internet provider for them and has the ability to download huge things to it.”
He asked, “Did you make sure you had system restore set up for him?”
“Not yet. I'll go turn that on.”
I went in and said, “While I'm in here, I'm going to make a shortcut for your calculator. That way, you can have it to do your math for you.”
I got the System Restore set up and said, “Here's what is good about this...If you screw up and something happens to the computer, you can go here and bail yourself out. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've had to do it.”
He smiled and I said, “We all learn and then, as we make mistakes, we get better. You never hammer a nail before moving your thumb and believe me, using a computer has you hittin' your thumb a lot at first.”
We began watching videos and downloading them and converting them. He caught on real fast and as we watched things, I said, “Here's what's cool...If you want to learn how to do things, you type 'How To' into the search up there...For example, let's do 'How to Corn Beef'”
We did and I said, “They show you a lot on how to make all sorts of them with cabbage, so if you ever want to learn how to cook something, this will teach you.”
“There's the one we need.”
We pushed on it and began watching. I said, “Ok, that's the recipe you need to help John make corned beef briskets. That big crock is a 100 gallon crock, so what you do is you make up this in double and triple batches until you have the briskets covered and then, you put on that big plate so it keeps everything pushed down.
Over here, it shows you how to make pastrami. Basicly, it's the same way, but you do it for a week and when you take them out, you'll smoke them after rubbing them down with pepper.”
He said, “This is real neat. I've already learned some things!”
“That's why I'm not so smart. I just watch and learn. After that, I've learned a lot of things, but what I do is I watch a lot of these until I get tired and then, I put it away and go to bed.”
We did a lot of things and I said, “Here's the bread recipes. If you'd like to learn different styles of sourdough starter, you type it in up here. Also, there's potato starter which shows you how to make a starter from potato.”
“Yeah, it's real good.”
We watched some videos and downloaded them. I said, “I'm downloading them so you can pull them up immediately even if you don't have internet.”
“Most likely, when you go to someone else's house like Vernon's, he won't have the internet, but you can take this and play the video because it's stored in your computer.”
“Will it ever get full?”
“With this hard drive, you've got enough space that you're going to have thousands of these videos and not be full...2 terrabytes is a lot of space.”
“You could probably put a million Bibles in your storage.”
“Since one of these videos is just a bit more than that, you could put thousands and thousands of videos on there.”
We watched and I said, “Ok, here's the power generation things...”
I began showing him and he said, “Oh man, that's it?”
“Yeah....it's rather simple, isn't it!”
“That just showed a guy making one from a car alternator.”
“Yeah, and here's the one we're going to be getting.”
I put it over and went to do a search for a generator set. I got to a site which sells used ones and pulled up and went to the Mw (megawatt). I said, “There we go. That's 9 megawatts.”
“Is that good?”
“Here's how you figure that out. A mega watt is a thousand kilowatts.”
He wrote it down and I said, “Ok, so that's like 9000 kilowatts.”
He nodded, “Right.”
“Figure that an average home only uses about 5 or 6 kilowatts. So do the math and it's 1500 homes.”
“It says right there that I can buy this for $200,000”
“Man, that's a lot!”
“Yeah, but consider that one there will pay us back in about a month and a half.”
“Yeah, so what we'll do is we'll buy this one and we'll get people in the family hooked up to electricity who aren't and then, when they are, we'll come together once a month and use the money to pay everyone's bills, water bills, their internet and phone bills, and whatever is needed.
After that, what we'll do is we'll save the money back and try to buy another gen set or a tractor, or something like that so everyone can use it.”
He gave a nod, “That's real good. I think the next thing I want is a good washing machine.”
“We'll work on getting everyone one of those also. What I want to get you is a big mixer so you can make a lot of bread at once. We can get you a big oven also and then, you'll have that and will be able to make lots of bread.”
He smiled, “That'd be good too!”
“You'll be amazed at how I can find things which other people are junk.”
We kept going and kept going until finally Stu said, “Guys, we've got to get to bed. We need to be at the airport at 6 am, so it's going to be 5 when we get up.”
They looked surprised that it was already 11:15. Rhen said, “Man, time flies!”
I said, “Here's what you can do.”
To turn it off, you push that button and to turn it on, you can push it again.
When you get home, you guys can watch the videos we recorded and that'll be good.”
They walked out and we saw them to their truck. When they left, Stu asked, “What all did you teach him?”
“How to download the videos and convert 'em so he can show 'em to John.”
He said, “We went on a lot of different sites. I showed him that tractor page you went to.”
We went in and took our showers. When we were finished, Gyp was in the bed. I said, “Gyp, we're going to fly in an airplane tomorrow.”
snuggled up and Stu spooned behind me. He said, “I love
“I love you also.”
“I need to tell you that I'm not that rich.”
“I need to tell you what was happening today while you were gone.”
“I had a talk with Eddie.”
“What'd he say?”
“He said the grim reaper comes for someone and if he doesn't get you, he'll get someone else who's close to me. He also said that if he comes and doesn't take someone close to me, he'll take three that I'll hear about.”
“In what period of time?”
“I don't know, but he sort've made it sound like if you weren't taken, that someone else close would be taken. What's strange is I got the instant picture of Doc's face in my mind when he said that.”
“Babe, it sounds bad, but I'd rather Doc be taken than you. I've got a start with you and Doc and I are friends. He's led a long and active life and it might be selfish, but I'd rather have you.”
He snuggled into my hair with his nose and I dozed off.
Write Me A Love Story
Notes From Retta:
I realize this chapter went on forever, but then again, it's been 3 years and finally the characters are speaking with me again.
Where the problem was with it is this...I think the characters stopped talking because I write some times and it doesn't make a lot of sense...characters do a lot of different things and ultimately, I lock up rather than continue down that road.
What I did is I did a complete rip out and started the chapter from scratch. It worked and the dialogue began to flow...So that's why I kept it flowing.
From My Keyboard To Your Heart,
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“From My Keyboard To Your Heart”,”'Retta”,“RettaMichaels”.“Retta”,“Rhett”, and “Rhette” are all Trademark of RettaVonnMichaels L.L.C. None of these trademarks may be used, or authorized without consent.
Disclaimer: All individuals depicted are fictional, and any resemblance to real persons, locations, or incidents is purely coincidental.