My dimwitted, redneck neighbor across the street was waving frantically for me to come over. He was sitting in that stupid car seat from a ‘˜57 chevy in his front yard. Desperately, I tried to think of some excuse and continue my frantic watering with renewed interest, but my name wafting on the late evening stillness stopped any attempt to ignore him.
I stabbed at my chest and mouthed in a last ditch maneuver.
“Yeah, c’mon over. I got a cold one”.
The last time I was over for a neighborly chat we discussed upholstering the chevy seat and how he was going to acquire the rest of the car, piece by piece. (oh, I forgot he did have a mangled 283 chevy engine which would fit a ‘˜57.) After that visit I found myself comparing him with the engine. Both were a quart low and slow.
Resigning myself to the inevitable, I turned the spigot off the water, and ambled across the street. He jumped up and disappeared into his house. An instant later he was out with a beer in each hand. Well, I thought, the beer was cold and it had been a warm evening. I poured half the can down in one gulp. At least maybe the beer would numb my brain. And maybe this time he would have something human to say. As usual I was wrong.
(Oh, I’m out practicing my walk in space, using my water hose as a mock thruster, after my lift off on the Endeavor next week).”Just doing a little watering” I totally expected his next question to be, “What’cha watering”. I couldn’t even begin to go there for my answer. But he fooled me. “Yeah, my grass needs it too.”
(Well, gotta go, I could say, draining the rest of my brew, my grass is dying.) “Wait” He dashed in and returned with another can. “Hey, man, looked like you needed another one, you downed that so fast. Sit down and sip a little slower. I only got two more”. Hepointed at what looked like two new lawn chairs from Wal-Mart. I sat. Wondering why. “You can be the first to sit in my new chairs from Wal-Mart”, he affirmed my suspicions. “Thanks,” I muttered, “I haven’t done that in a while”.
“They are still on sale if you want one. $4.98 Great, huh?”. He grinned.
” I had a little left over from the sale of my land, so I purchased these chairs with it”.
“You sold your land?”, I asked incredulously. “That prize acre you’ve had for 15 years that all the new businesses have surrounded?” “Yeah, 5000 smackers”. “5000 dollars? You said you were offered that much 10 yrs. Back. If you had kept it, you probably could have sold it for much more” I now realized what a poor business man he was , too.
“Well I got a little anxious. It only cost me 500 bucks back then.
Well what could you expect, I thought, from someone that bought 4.98 wal-mart chairs.
And you only got two chairs” I asked, afraid of the answer. “Oh, no,” now he became
excited, “I got more than that. Wait, I’ll show you. Be right back. From our previous boring conversations I fully expected him to return with the title to a dilapidated ‘˜57 Chevy or worse yet two more chairs. He did neither.
He came back holding a crumpled looking letter. What stupid thing did he do? Send off for some movie star autograph or what?
“Remember that old man that works with me? The one that still had a family, some still in school? I talked about him having to work at his age? Remember?
In wonderment I nodded.
“Well he almost died last week. He was in the hospital and his wife and three kids didn’t have a car to visit him so I took them for a visit. You know they are very poor. Well read it” His face was beaming as he shoved the letter in my hand. I read it.
We don’t know much about you except what John has mentioned from his job, but we know that you were sent from God. His new pacemaker is perfect and the Dr. said it was a miracle that he lived long enough for him to implant it.
He will be out of the hospital tomorrow , and the Dr. said he would be able to live a normal life and even go back to work. If he had died we would have been grief stricken and don’t know what we would have done. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for paying for it. We’re sorry it took all your money. We don’t know how but maybe God will let us re-pay you someday even though you have said to forget it. You are truly a gift from God.
God Bless You,
Edna and children
As I read, my own stupidity crushed upon my brain and I felt worthless against the charity of my stupid neighbor. He was right. He did have more, much more than two chairs, one of which would hold a vain and holier than thou neighbor. He had the letter and he had a big heart. A heart that I was convinced would never need a “Pacemaker”
I stood up. He was still standing there beaming, and as excited as if someone had just presented him with a brand new ‘˜57 Chevy. I asked him if he would do one more small favor. “Sure,” he said, still beaming with that enviable happiness that few shrewd business men experience.
“Shake my hand,” I said. “Sure,” he agreed, taking my hand, looking a little perplexed but still happy.
“I gotta go,” I said. I turned and walked hurriedly away.
“What’s the hurry,” he yelled, in his idiotic way. “You didn’t finish the beer.”
I have to go learn all I can about building a ‘˜57 Chevy, ” I yelled back.
“All Right” He was pumping his fist in the air and grinning.