Monday, February 8, 2010

No Good Deed...

One morning several years ago, the doorbell rang as the cats and I were sitting in bed watching the birds. I was having my usual cup of green tea and slowly waking up. Excy had gotten my tea, as every morning, and had gone back out. The cats and I stiffened. It was pretty early, and I didn't feel like rushing to the closet for slippers and a robe, and then rushing to the old part of the house -- by the time I did chances are they'd be gone anyway, since I can't move quickly -- so we sat there, having made the executive decision not to do anything at all.

Next thing I know, a man has walked around the back of the house, up onto the terrace, and is peeking through the sliding glass door. He doesn't see me with the bedroom drapes drawn, unless he angles another way, but since the walls to the bedroom are glass, if he did twist a certain way he could see into the bedroom, so I scooted out of bed and down the hall.

The phone rang thirty minutes later. It's Joe, a guy we didn't know well from church, calling for Excy. Excy comes in later to tell me Joe is "down on his luck," and wants to park his horse trailer in our drive and hook up to the tack room for electricity. "Just for a few weeks," is all he asks. In exchange, he'll do chores around the place. He says he's made plans for eating and has a bathroom in his trailer. Yes, that had been Joe peering in the glass looking for us. I told Excy to tell Joe in no uncertain terms was he to ever to walk around to the back of the house again. But he always seemed a nice enough guy, and had done some cowboy-ing and had horse sense, so I didn't think it'd be a problem to have him stay a short while. We didn't want to turn someone down that needed a little help.

Every once in awhile he'd help Excy with a light chore or two, but that part of the bargain didn't work out very well. Most of the time, he hung around, appeared to be slightly drunk, and wanted to corner me and talk about how rough his life was. One time I asked him to help dig a garden bed with me. He took the shovel for about 10 minutes. The next thing I knew, he was siting off to the side, taking his blood pressure with a cuff. "Never mind, Joe."

I took him a meal on occasion. Weeks turned into months. After four months, I told Excy I was tired of Joe's horse trailer in the drive, and Joe hanging around, and it was time to encourage him to move on down the road. Excy's more patient than I, but even he was losing patience with the situation. When Excy suggested Joe might want to re-double his efforts to find another place, Joe's answer to that was to bring over his three horses that somebody had been boarding for him. We already had three horses in the corrals by the house, and the wild ones have the run of the pasture across the street. Excy let him put his three in the corrals across the street but warned him to keep them up. Joe was too lazy to feed them, though, and he'd let them out of the corral until Excy spied them grazing loose.

Six months after Joe burrowed in, I was in the throes of getting ready for a party. Things were down to the wire and I was flying around like a mad woman, fixing last minute things in the kitchen, cleaning up, getting myself dressed, when the doorbell rang, and Joe came in to ask if we had any light bulbs. His reading lamp had gone out and he couldn't fix it. Excy starts to try to fix Joe's lamp while I do a slow burn. "Joe's got to go."

It took another 4-5 weeks, but Joe finally hauled his home on down the road. I don't know where and I didn't want to ask. A few weeks later we discovered three of our mustangs were pregnant. Seems domestic horses get along with wild ones very well. The three foals born set off a mini territory dispute, and things were a bit shaky at the start -- one mare tried to kill a newborn -- but eventually that got settled out. We never heard a word from Joe after he left. Not even one thank-you.

16 comments:

Julie said...

Wow, that is a story! I wonder what ever happened to Joe and if your paths will ever cross again? You were very kind to let him stay on with you and care for his horses. God bless you and your kind and sweet heart! Maybe something good will come out of this and Joe will pay it forward:) Have a great week!!

Tam said...

What a story- isn't that the way it seems to go, though? I like Julie's idea - maybe he went on to pay it forward. I'd like to think that. At any rate, it sure says a lot about you and Excy that you were willing to help someone that much! P.S. Missed you! Hope all is well out there.

Eva Gallant said...

Wow. Some people are so self-centered and ungrateful. You were amazingly patient.

Lisa Marie said...

What a horror story! I can not believe the lack of gratitude. Oh and the poor horses! You all did such a kind and wonderful thing for that man and he is a terrible ass.

Anne said...

This certainly says alot more about you than him...you are both wonderfully patient and giving people. Although I truly believe it was more than time for Joe to move on...
Have a nice week!

Cheri Pryor said...

I've been there. It's horrible to be burned like that because it makes it so much more difficult to ever say "yes" again, even to someone who needs it even more and would be so appreciative.

e said...

You are indeed kind hearted! I hope Joe is still around somewhere and is able to put forward the generosity that was shown him.

I hope you and Excy are well.

strokeofliving said...

People are people - messy - maybe one day he'll thank you in his own way and time. Maybe not. As long as you, Excy and your new babies are fine, life does somehow go on.

wendy said...

I think I'd be glad to get rid of Joe too. You were very compasionate to help out, and did your part.....but it doesn't sound like Joe was much for doing HIS part or being very gracious.
No wonder he was down on his luck---he may be a little unmotivated. But hey, I can't be judging now I guess.

fun to play with the new colts though.

Confessions From A Working Mom said...

Have you ever seen the movie "You, Me & Dupree"? This post kind of reminds me of it... but without the humor, and with a lot more annoying creepiness. Joe creeps me out!

I loved your comment on my blog just now-- a few women actually said yes, and had good arguments for it!

~Elizabeth
Confessions From A Working Mom

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

Wow, what a story, ideed.
I can't accept people are so ungrateful.
I think maybe sometime he'll thank you for
your generosity.
Betty xx

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

indeed! sorry!

zodiblog said...

I absolutely love the life you now have. Living in rural Spain after growing up in and living in nothing but big cities, I’ve really found my groove! That said, I do prefer to be right on the water if possible!

About your post- I have no doubt that many people use churches to take advantage of the kindness of strangers. It was a really sweet, kindhearted gesture on your part, but you don’t need me to tell you that the situation could have ended a whole lot worse….

Myrnie said...

My dear, you have such a way with words. (And I don't think I could have allowed a "peeking Tom" to park in my yard! No matter what he was looking for though the window, that's a fear of mine :)

Summer said...

I was completely pulled into this story....

I cannot believe people like that. But, at least...maybe, you made an impression into his life and that is the reason for all you endured.

Maybe? =)

Doris Sturm said...

People like him make it difficult for honest, hard working folks to get a break. It's just so difficult anymore to believe anyone because of all the conartists out there. That was criminal what he did. I did have to chuckle, though, about the blood pressure cuff, whilst digging your flower bed - I know it wasn't funny at the time.
Good riddens to bad rubbish! I feel sorry for his horses.