Last Wednesday, at approximately 9:20 a.m. Central time, my property at 107 Marion in Henderson was sold. I bought it about 5 or 6 years ago. It was, frankly, based on a desire to return to Illinois from this dreadful place and my unwavering conviction that one is best served when one has supplemental income.
It was, on first blush, a nice little place with many plusses. A two-car garage, a breezeway, two bedrooms, a nice big living/dining room. It was cheap, on a huge lot, and even had an outdoor shed. It was also in a small town about 4 miles away from G-Burg. Perfect, right?
Nice big living room.
I had the place rewired, bought a new furnace, paid for a lift station, new roof, new appliances, new sump pit and pumps. This doesn't take into account some new pipe work, paint, and new motherboard for the new furnace. But I don't want to dwell on all that. I want to dwell on something else.
I met Jeff at Three Birds Tavern in St. Pete shortly after I bought the place and he told me he knew someone, recently retired, who had some carpentry skills. He said if I needed any help on the place he would get in touch with them. I am embarrassed to say I bought it sight unseen. When I arrived the first time, I sat in the living room and briefly cried. I looked around and saw nothing but dollar signs. I called Jeff to have him get in touch with that retired guy he knew. I bought a single mattress, called for some internet access and hunkered down to get the place in shape.
He and his two helpers took a couple weeks out of their schedule to help me replace ceiling tiles in one of the bedrooms, build a counter in the kitchen, replace some walls in one of the closet, and hauled away old ceiling panels and junk in the basement. Load after load out to the landfill. We worked on the hardwood floors, replacing the kitchen linoleum with new press tiles. We even cleaned up the driveway and had it resurfaced.
I rented it out and after a couple years they decided to move on. The place required some more work and enter Tim and Carrie who took it upon themselves to help me out with their kind assistance. They went above and beyond. Thanks also to Mark and Holly who helped paint once.
But this post isn't about the house, which also, unfortunately, had a defective basement and an awkward entry into the kitchen. It is about friendship. It is about people who cared enough about me to lend me assistance when I needed it. People who neither sought any recognition or thanks - folks who just were there when a friend was in need. It happens every day in America, of course - I'm no one special. But dammit, this is the stuff that poets and authors write about. People at their best. Helping each other out. Some people go their whole lives and don't really know who their friends are. I do.
As for today, however, there is one less raincloud hovering over my head. My sleep tonight will be deep and fretless. No more jumping out of my skin when the phone rings. But, as is life, rainshowers are never far away.