Gloria made her way carefully down the mountain using an old path that most people didn’t even know was there. It had long since been over grown with weeds, rose bushes and blackberry vines lined the sides making it hard to see. Reaching a clearing, she saw a rickety old house on the river 2 old houseboats sat next to it in just as derelict a condition as the house.
“James” she called loudly then waited…. “JAMES” she called again when there was no response. Gloria new that the old man was slightly hard of hearing and, also, new that he didn’t like being taken by surprise and didn’t take kindly to unexpected guests. But he seemed to enjoy her company. Of ten times they would sit and talk for hours about all sorts of things including things about the Lord. There didn’t seem to be anything that James didn’t know about the Lord and about the bible.
Many people saw James as a decrepit old man with little use to society…. Most people didn’t even seem to care if he lived or died, but Gloria knew differently. Gloria knew that underneath the withered old body and a mind that was starting to slow with age there a man who was quick witted and a wealth of information. James had a way of sharing information and telling stories that would make people laugh (if they’d only take the time to listen). James held several degrees (including Theology, Psychology, and Education). And had once been the assistant pastor at a small church before his wife died of cancer. He had been so distraught over his wife’s death that he began to binge, often times drinking himself into a stupor…. He had been at his lowest point in life, rock bottom, with no where to go when a stranger had given a chance. James had continued to work odd jobs scrimping and saving till he was finally able to buy the tiny piece of land that he now lived on. The two houseboats, that sat by the house, had once been in prime condition and he would often rent them out to vacationers. It didn’t bring in a lot of money, but it did pay the bills and put food on the table. But the effects of years of drinking had paid their toll on James and as his health declined, unable to put forth the physical effort of upkeep, so too did the houseboats and house.
Gloria wanted to find a way to help James, but he was a proud man and she knew he wouldn’t take kindly to charity or hand-outs “Honest work for honest pay.” He often said. He wouldn’t accept anything but that he earned it. She had come up with an idea the night before. The small community was in need of a tutor to help some of the kids that were floundering…. Perhaps James would be interested in helping those youngsters to learn and grow.
(yeah – I know, I went over the 500 words)
This week’s words are: