Wintertide …Part 19 …Almost Christmas


Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours. — C.S. Lewis


I had been so caught up in the business of trying to salvage my reputation that I hadn't realized it was only a few days until Christmas.

This year, however, there would be no shopping for presents or grand feast on Christmas Day —Jeff had taken everything, leaving me only the six townhouses badly in need of repair.

By the time I meet my expenses there's only enough left for me to just get by and any income I hoped to obtain from renting the one vacant unit is not available since I agreed to let Dan live there...for free.

Actually, I'm even more cash-strapped since I also am paying Dan a small salary to be my assistant superintendent and watch over the units and do repairs.

I'd be depressed but I have strong allies in Reginald Dennison and Greer and I'm confident with their help I'll be able to at least restore my reputation and eventually get back on my feet.

I look out my door and see Marcie helping Dan shovel snow from the walks. Unfortunately, the snowblower broke down the first time we used it this year.

It's bitterly cold outside with wind-driven sleet and the temperature in the low 20's F.

I put on my parka, boots and gloves to join them but then change my mind—it's useless shovelling the walks with snow still coming down. I decide they need a break and drive them to Tim Hortons for a hot meal.

We all opt for the chilli meal and lots of hot coffee.

"I really appreciate this, Cole," Dan says, as we all stare at the winter storm outside, "but can you afford this?"

"Don't worry about it," I reassure him, "my lawyer thinks there's a good chance we can secure a judgment against my ex-partner."

"But will you be able to recover the money he stole?"

I shrug, "If I get my reputation back, I'll be able to start over. It may take some time but I know how to make money buying and renovating properties. But right now, no one would be willing to work with me even if I had the funds to launch a venture."

Marcie had been sitting quietly listening to our conversation. Suddenly, she spoke up.

"This is really a shame," she frowned, "you're good people, Cole—it's not fair what you're going through."

"Don't worry Guys," I smiled, "I'm a survivor. I'll get through this."

But later when I got back home and counted the cash in my wallet, I wasn't so sure. Still, treating Marcie and Dan was the right thing to do and I didn't regret it. They were worse off than me and I felt good being able to help them.

It was dark when Greer showed up with pizza and a big Caesar salad.

I knew then exactly how Dan and Marcie must have felt—grateful but sheepish about having to depend on the goodwill of others.

The hardest life lesson is learning to be humble, realizing you can't do it all yourself—sometimes, you need help.

I was leaning this lesson first hand—to be meek and unassuming and not be ashamed of the little I had, if I came by it honestly.

To be continued…

© 2023, John J Geddes. All rights reserved

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