GOOD GUY CHARLIE


Good Guy Charlie

I promised you another story, a short one, but another slice of the pie of life that makes it worth hearing about. Here goes: I left the garage better than I found it. My tenant Charlie, who paid his rent every three months, never missing a payment had to remove a garage full of stuff a mechanic would love to have. Two dirt track race cars, engines, oils, and NAPA store's worth of spare parts on shelves, in cabinets. You could barely walk through the place so full it was of STUFF. Heavy stuff, greasy stuff, unidentifiable stuff, yeah-that's-an-axle stuff, and tires enough to fit an 18-wheeler.

Then there was my stuff, umbrellas from an outdoor furniture setting on the deck outside the house stored for winter along with bicycles and shop vacs and stuff we left behind when we moved to Maryland. Our stuff had been sorely neglected for 28 years, so you can imagine the spiders, and mice and rust Gods had plenty to work with. Charlie and his son-in-law (to whom I send a big THANK YOU!) cleared 90% of it in a few weeks time. They hauled out the cars and the engines and the tires and the parts, parts, parts. They bagged up all the junk in five large garage bags they stacked in the corner, leaving one box of stuff. Of course the bottom fell out when I picked it up (par for the course) but I was able to consolidate one bag to make the box stuff fit. I then loaded it on the truck and hauled it to the landfill.

Charlie came by to help for an hour, not really dressed for the task, but God Love Him he was coming back from the hospital where he daughter had surgery. He apologized for not meeting me there early. What a guy. I was starting to feel badly (for cussing him out for leaving me all the bags- Sorry Charlie....). We hauled out the old wooden cabinet and tables, set em on fire, loaded up my pedestal sink (HEAVY BASTARD), and I started clearing the floor for the big sweep while Charlie salvaged things he was not yet ready to get rid of: "Here's the lighting for when we played music," he explained as he removed all this stuff with red and green lights. I was wondering how they fit into a race car.

He told me he had until 1:00 then had to go to help set up a fundraiser for his ailing daughter. I watched the time for him. There was still much to do but I didn't want to hold him up. Sometimes I can be a selfish, even self-centered sonovabitch, but I care about people, and I so much appreciated Charlie's efforts...Good people. Good man.

He even let me keep his lighter which I thanked him for and told I would put in my toolbox. He honked and waved on his way down the lane, and I waved back. I think he was feeling guilty about leaving me with the mess, but he had no reason to. Family comes first. He was heading to family.


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