"Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker."
The good money does shall shortly appear.
If nothing else, it keeps the relatives near.
"Guilda? Guilda! Where are you? I need money right away," called Guiseppe as he ran through their front door. His hair was tousled by the wind and he was out of breath. His clothing looked rumpled and well lived in, and he had a wild look in his shining blue eyes.
"I am in the kitchen. Do not walk on my wet floor here. Besides, you know where the money is. What is wrong. Why are you so excited," she asked looking up from the kitchen floor she was scrubbing.
"It is Bors. We have to help him. If he does not make this month's payment, he will lose the Hog's Jowl Inn. The Kingdom Bank will foreclose on him and he will be out of a job. His life's work will be gone, down the drain forever!"
"Guiseppe, he is a tavern keeper, for crying out loud. His life's work is to serve ale to drunks. You loaned him the payment last month, and he has not repaid you one red cent! You cannot keep this up! If you continue, we will be as bad off as Bors is!" Guilda took a furious swipe at the floor with her scrub brush, and then looked fiercely up at her husband.
"He will pay me back. He swears he will. He just needs a little help, like we all do from time to time," Guiseppe replied defensively.
"The problem is," Guilda began, gathering a head of steam, and warming to her topic, "that he cannot say 'no' when people cannot pay him. He allows them to continue to drink until they run up a staggering bar bill. They never pay him, and he is left dangling on the hook. No, in truth, you are left on the hook so long as you keep bailing him out. He lets people like your son, Tyrannious, sit down there and drink and drink and drink, pint after pint, when he knows they cannot pay. Even Ty's dog drinks on credit! He told me so himself. That mutt drinks so much that Ty has named him Suds. Then Bors wonders why he has no money to pay the mortgage. And, if you keep on bailing him out, how will he ever learn to manage money on his own?" she demanded, her black eyes flashing in anger. Something about having the money had emboldened her to speak out, no matter what her mother Maude Ann might think. Besides, she wasn't there.
"Oh Guilda, please do not get your knickers in a twist! It is just this one more time. I just cannot bear to see him lose everything he has worked so hard for. Being there for others is what life is all about. Besides, why did God give us the money if not to help people?" Guiseppe's tone of voice implied that the conversation was finished.
"Oh and there is just one other thing," Guiseppe added quickly. "While I was down at the Tavern, I ran into Tyrannious. He has lost his job again and he asked if he could come home to live with us for just a little while, just until he finds another one. I told him I was sure you would not mind. He will be here in time for lunch."
Guiseppe walked out the back door before hearing Guilda mutter, "And I suppose he is bringing that flea bitten, ale guzzling dog of his too."
Guiseppe went from the house into the fruit cellar and happily began counting out enough coins to pay Bor's mortgage. These, he put into a little leather pouch, and then strode purposefully down the road to the Hog's Jowl Inn. His very demeanor and bearing spoke proudly of his ability to lift up the downtrodden, help the underprivileged, and save another lost soul on the journey of life.
Seeing him walk past her window, the Widow Florence, who could smell trouble a block away, hurried next door to Guilda's cottage and stuck her head in the door. "Where is Guiseppe going in such a hurry?" she asked innocently?
"He is going on a mission of mercy, and I do not want to talk about it," replied Guilda testily.
"Suit yourself. Does all this scrubbing mean anything, like maybe more visitors?" inquired Florence with a malicious smile.
"As a matter of fact, Guiseppe just told me that Tyrannious has lost his job again and will be moving back home for awhile until he gets on his feet."
"Again? This makes the third time this year!" Florence said loudly. "That kid comes back more times than a boomerang. How can you stand it?" Florence asked.
"Florence, he is Guiseppe's only son, and I am his wife, and I feel it is my duty to be supportive and try to help the boy," retorted Guilda, righteously.
"Boy? He is 32 years old and still coming home to Daddy? All he knows how to do is drink and chase skirts. And you both help him do it. That kid will never amount to anything!" snorted Florence, her hands resting on her plump hips.
"I said I do not want to talk about it," repeated Guilda. "Now, if you will excuse me, I have got to pack. I have decided to take a little trip to visit my Mother, Maude Ann. I need to get away for a few days."
"Well, that beats staying here and playing nursemaid to Tyrannious and his dog if you ask me," Florence chuckled. As she walked back to her cottage, she thought, "Why that poor woman stays married to that religious nut, is more than I can imagine. He must be good in bed, because I do not think he is rich and he certainly is not very handsome" she thought to herself with a grin. "Next time I see her, I must remember to ask her why the dog's name is Suds."
Unaware of her neighbor's speculations, Guilda finished cleaning the kitchen, and then, put a pot roast and vegetables on to cook for their supper. She replaced the sheets on the guest bed with fresh, clean ones, dusted the furniture, fed the chickens and their little dogs, Sic'em and Com'ere, milked and fed the cow, slopped the hogs, and threw some hay and oats into the horse's stall. She packed a few clothes in a traveling valise, and when Guiseppe came home for the evening meal, she said, "I think I will visit my Mother for a few days, if you can manage without me."
"Oh sure. Go ahead and have a good time," he agreed. "I would rather you go over there to her house than have her come here," he thought, shuddering at the very idea.
"Where is Tyrannious? I thought he was moving back in?" Guilda asked.
"Oh, he will be along, probably after Bors closes the Tavern. He is thinking about working down there, just until he finds another job. Bors could use the help."
"That is like asking the fox to baby-sit the chickens," observed Guilda.
"Now, Guilda. Be nice. Tyrannious is just immature. He needs a firm hand, guidance, and love. He can help Bors, and I can help both of them to get on their feet. It is a great plan, do you not see?"
"Yes, Guiseppe. I think I am beginning to see," Guilda muttered sadly, shaking her head, as she made final preparations for her journey the next morning.
Early the next day, she finished her chores, dressed in her new crimson satin dress and bonnet, which she could not resist buying the week before, and hitched up the horse to the brand new brown and white ox cart that Guiseppe had not been able to resist buying earlier in the week. After throwing her new gray wool cape over her shoulders, she kissed Guiseppe good-bye, and because Ty was still asleep in the guest room, she added, "Tell Tyrannious I said 'hello and good-bye.' Tell him to wash Suds so he will not get fleas in the house, and tell him to please take off his shoes so he will not track up my clean floors. And for goodness sake, please do not allow him to smoke cigars in the house. I hate it when he does that. By the way, I left a goose roasting in the oven and lots of fresh vegetables simmering on the stove for your supper. I will see you both in a few days." She waved as the horse trotted off, eager to be on her way to her mother's house in "The Dinky Kingdom," beyond the great woods.
After she left, Guiseppe took care of the morning's duties in his business. He added up his sales for the week. "Pitiful," he grimaced. No one could afford to buy anything, or for that matter, to have anything repaired, but he dutifully swept off the front porch, straightened up and dusted the glockenspiels he had on display, polished the fender of the nearest chariot, and even wiped the dust off their sign out front, because as he often told Guilda, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop."
As he was puttering about in the front yard, he heard the clatter of horses hooves on the cobblestone street, and looked up to see a late model ox cart rapidly approaching, pulled by a high stepping bay horse and driven by a driver for hire. He did not have long to wait to learn who the visitors were. As the cart pulled up under his sign, he recognized his younger sister, Hilga, her husband, Lars, and their six year old twins, Stefan and Juliana.
"Guiseppe, how is my favorite brother?" Hilga gushed. "We started out on a trip to see the 'Kingdom by the Sea,' and we were going to write you when we arrived at the Seaside Inn, where we had reservations to stay, but we found the place was not at all as advertised. Filthy, really, it was. So, we thought we would just pop round to tell you in person that we will be visiting you."
All that rushed out of her mouth in one fell swoop. She paused for breath briefly before plunging on, "We wondered if...., er, uh...., perhaps we could spend a couple of nights here, just until we find another suitable place to stay. I hope that would not inconvenience you. Is Guilda here?"
"Well, no, she went for a short visit to her mother," stammered the stunned Guiseppe. Then noting that the four relatives were staring expectantly at him, he added, "Yes, of course, you can stay. It may be a bit crowded because my son Tyrannious is with us right now, but I suppose he can sleep on the couch and you can have his room."
"How wonderful you are!" Hilga enthused, throwing her arms around his neck and giving him a quick hug and a peck on the cheek. "I told Lars that you and Guilda are just the most hospitable people in the world. Do you remember when I said that?" she demanded of her tall, taciturn husband. He merely nodded.
"Well, then," she continued, "do bring our things in and we will get settled. I must change my clothing and wash up a bit. I feel so grubby from traveling such a long way. Stefan, Juliana, please! Will you stop chasing the chickens? Put down that glockenspiel, Stefan! You might break it. Come along, now, both of you. Oh, by the way, Guiseppe, dear, if you could just pay our handsome ox cart driver his very reasonable fee, we can begin to unpack our things." She smiled seductively, batting her long black eye lashes at the embarrassed driver, who looked quickly down at the ground. Guiseppe searched his pants pockets and found a few coins with which to pay their fare.
Hilga and Lars began handing Guiseppe bags and valises, and sacks of toys. "It is too bad that Guilda is not here. Stefan, do stop tormenting your sister. Go inside and find something to occupy yourselves, but try not to break anything, O.K.? He is such an inquisitive boy," she smiled at Guiseppe. "Bright children always need more things to do to keep them happy. So, what are we having for dinner?"
To be continued......
Lenny and Jan Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
Forward to The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter One
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Two
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Three
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Four
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Six
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Seven
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Eight
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Nine
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Ten
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Eleven
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Twelve
The Glory Road
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