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XIII.  Family Dissolves

 

Jack had the approval of the advance team and was ready to go with Junior and the New Age Bank.  “Junior as I said the other night, the contractors are waiting for our go-ahead.  We need to move out.”

 

“No problem,” Junior’s heart jumped a beat as he tried to hold his composure.  “Thanks for the business.  You will not be disappointed with our service and I personally will guarantee your approval at every juncture on your needs.”

 

“Email me a list of those to meet first or have each one of them call me,” began Junior.  “We can schedule appointments to set up the individual accounts.”

 

Jack declared, “Fine, we are meeting this morning.  I will tell each one of them to contact you according to their needs.”

 

“They might have contractors to meet with you.  You need to be prepared to tell them how you will disburse funds on the vendor contracts.”

 

“Now that this done deal, we can discuss the 500Club.  I have decided that an investment in your bank might be in order now,” stated Jack.  “I cleared everything through the team this morning and the decision was made without regard to anything other than your rates.

 

“Junior replied, “Let’s have lunch today at the club.  I will come over and pick you up.  I will bring the stock certificates with me and you will find the price very pleasing.  Just for the record, how did Community Bank take it?”

 

Jack responded, “Oh, it was easy enough.  They committed this morning to 5 years of tax incentives and I told them I had to have 10 years.”

 

“Jody came back with 7, but could not go any higher and I told him our bar was set at 10 years.  He accepted that and thanked me for the opportunity,” stated Jack.

 

“That’s strange, in a way, for Uncle Steve.  He is my Uncle you know.  Normally he can get whatever he wants out of the city council.  I guess he just drew a line in the sand at 7 years.”

 

He acknowledged, “Uncle Steve can be hard-headed at times.  Oh well, his loss is our gain.  Pick you up around 12 – your place and again, thanks.”

 

Junior called Clyde to tell him the good news that he had gotten the Home ReSources account.  And Junior wanted Clyde to know, “I did not have to use the stock to get it as the rates were sufficient.  But I don’t want to mess this deal up as Jack is counting on investing in the stock.”

 

Junior exclaimed, “It will be a way of getting him in with the business leaders of Lebanon through the 500Club.  We need to follow up on that.”

 

Clyde said, “Fine, I don’t care how you do it, I just want it done.  When are you meeting with him to transfer my stock?”

 

“I’m meeting at noon today at the club.  Fax me your authorization to transfer 500 shares of your stock to Jack Meacham and I will take care of it,” instructed Junior.

 

“OK, I’m faxing right now a handwritten note with my signature – coming to you right now,” replied Clyde.  “Confirm the transfer when you make it with Jack.”

 

“Clyde, I want nothing to do with whatever you are up to, you understand.  My deal was made on my initiative with my interest rates for Home ReSources.  I have got to run,” declared Junior.

 

Clyde got off the phone and called Murphy, “Get your lady friend and call Buck to get a date also.  I want both of you to go to the club for lunch,” instructed Clyde.

 

“Sure,” agreed Murphy, “what do you want us to do there?  Just have lunch on the boss?”

 

“No, you idiot, Junior and Jack Meacham are going to be there for lunch.  I want you to photograph Junior and the man with him with your cell phones while they are eating.  Make it look like you are doing selfies, but catch them in the background.”

 

Clyde instructed, “Be better if you can get a table that allows for good exposure for the photos and their table.  Junior should be giving the man a large envelope – be sure you get a photo of that.  If possible if they open the envelope, get pictures showing the contents.”

 

In his mind, Clyde knew he would have Junior and Jack pulling off a fast deal.  At least looking like they were pulling off a fast deal.  “And after all,” Clyde surmised, “everything in business is a game of perception to the general public.”

 

“No problem, boss.  We can handle that and thanks for lunch,” responded Murphy.

 

“Murphy was a simple minded person but very good at caring out orders,” pondered Clyde. “I want the pictures of this lunch recorded for future use.” 

 

Junior left the bank at 11:30 to pick up Jack for lunch.  Jack was overseeing a rebar shipment that had come in and said he would be ready in a minute.

 

Junior watched as the big crane lifted the rebar from the trailer and placed it carefully on the ground.  It was the last bundle and Jack signed off on the delivery paper and turned to join Junior.

 

Jack explained as he got in the car, “You just have to be in on everything.  They had shorted me 25 pieces of rebar on that shipment.  I marked it on the bill of laden and will get with their office when we get back this afternoon.  You just can’t trust anyone any more it seems.”

 

Junior laughed amusingly to himself, “Yes, I can understand that.  I’ve got Joaquin on what I call a blanket contract to finish the building a certain way.”

 

He explained, “It is up to him to make sure everything gets checked in and out.  If there is a loss it is on his end.  But, I know how these things happen.”

 

Junior concluded, “I guess businesses have to make it where they can and bamboozle when they can’t.  Probably got some high school kid who never learned how to count – counting the rebar in the first place and he just made a mistake.”

 

“Well, they won’t get away with it,” exclaimed Jack.  “I have cautioned every one of my people, you count every piece of material that comes in here.”

 

He went further, “That includes our store inventory when we start those shipments.  Corporate gets real upset when we have to go back and reorder what we are supposed to already have.

 

Jack concluded asking, “How’s your day going?  I trust you are getting cooperation from my guys.”

 

“Oh same-o same-o,” answered Junior, “with the exception of getting some of your people lined out with their schedules, it has been pretty much just normal work.  Your people are easy to work with.”

 

Junior explained, “I am still watching closely, like you, the construction of my new building.  Looks like it should be ready by year’s end to move in.”

 

“Well, I know you will be glad when that happens.  We are looking at year’s end as well.  Maybe we can have the grand openings on the same week,” laughed Jack and then added, “Not.”

 

Junior agreed, “Lebanon would not be able to stand two grand openings on the same week end.  The town council would not know what to do or which one to go to.  Not to mention having all those ribbon cutting ceremonies.”  He laughed.

 

Junior and Jack arrived at the club.  Junior selected a table in the open and they sat down.  Jack began looking at the menu.

 

“This is on me,” said Junior and you get whatever you want. I try to cut back a little at lunch otherwise I get sleepy in the afternoon.”

 

“As a matter of fact, I think I’ll have their Reuben sandwich,” stated Junior.  “I have it quite often and I think that I will stick with that.”

 

Sharing his fondness for the Reuben sandwich, “But don’t get what I get unless you like sauerkraut.  It hits my appetite from time to time.  I think that I am the only one here at the club who orders it and they keep it for me in the frig.”

 

“They do have that big burger you had before that is great if you are in the mood for a burger.  Or if you want try the big pork sandwich.  I think you will like that.  It is one of their specialties.”

 

While Jack was deciding what to select, the waiter came over for their drink order.  Junior said to bring them two Coors looking at Jack and getting his approval.

 

“Gotta be 5 somewhere in the world don’t you agree?” asked Junior.  “I love a good beer with the Reuben sandwich.”

 

“Yeah, somewhere.  That is if you need a reason,” laughed Jack.

 

Junior noticed two men near their table with what appeared to be either their girlfriends or their wives.  They had already eaten and were cutting up with each other and playing with a cell phone taking pictures. 

 

The waiter came with the beer.  Junior ordered the Reuben sandwich with chips and Jack ordered the pork sandwich with coleslaw as a side. 

 

After the waiter left, Junior decided this was the best time to get the transaction out of the way with the stock.  He opened the brown envelop he had brought in with him containing Jack’s stock certificates.

 

“These are your certificates which as you know right now are practically worthless.  In a few months they should be valuable,”  informed Junior.

 

“You can sell them at any time,” he instructed. “Or you can hold on to them for as long as you want.”

 

Junior continued, “From time to time, I might even open up more stock to sell as I might need the capital for expansion.  The 500Club might become the 1000Club.”

 

“But that is down the road.  Should it happen, you could if you wanted trade this stock at the higher value for the additional shares to bring you up to the 1000 share level,” he instructed.

 

Explaining, “I can’t say that I will, but there is always the possibility.  It is your stock to do with as you please.”

 

Informing, “I have also included the authorization from Clyde for transfer of the stock to you.  You will want to keep that for your personal files.”

 

Jack pulled the top certificate from inside the envelope that Junior had given him and proof-read the name on the stock.  Everything seemed in order.

 

At that point, Junior noticed the men at the next table had been furiously taking selfy pictures with their cell phones.  It seemed the phones were more toward him, however, than themselves.

 

When they stopped posing for pictures – they finished their drinks and left with their companions.  Junior thought that seemed odd on some level.  He did not know exactly what however.

 

Junior reasoned, “Now it will be interesting to see if Clyde was behind those pictures?  Maybe this is why he wanted to know when I was going to pass the certificates to Jack.”

 

“If Clyde,” Junior figured, “he would be up to something.  Whatever he does – he has a reason behind it.”

 

“I’m sure that Jack and I were the primary subjects of these pictures and not the folks at their table,” he calculated.  “Oh well, they were gone now.”

 

Junior was more interested in finalizing the stock transaction with Jack.  He thought, “To make sure I am covered from any collusion that Clyde might have in his mind, I am going to do something that Clyde had not planned.”

 

He said to Jack, “There is just one more thing.  I want you to give me a dollar.”

 

“A dollar?  What for?” asked Jack.

 

“For the stock, I do not want to give them to you for free.  You are buying them for one dollar.  And if anyone ever asked you how you got them, or what you paid for the stock, you tell them it is none of their business,” said Junior.

 

He continued, “We are here on a business transaction – I am selling you Clyde’s stock; you are buying the stock; and you have given me cash for the stock.”

 

Jack laughingly said as he pulled a dollar from his wallet, “OK, here is a dollar.  You sure the stock is worth a dollar?”

 

Junior with a wink, took the dollar, and said, “Thank you Mr. Meacham for buying stock in my new bank.  It will help me to get on my feet with great investors like you.”

 

Jack puzzled to some extent realized that the transaction did make more sense if there was an exchange of some monetary value for the stock instead of him getting it for just bringing the Home ReSources account to Junior’s bank.

 

“Besides,” thought Jack, “I have gone over this deal and Community Bank’s proposal and found Junior to have the best deal for Home ReSources.  If Community had given us 10 years of tax incentives, I would have gone with them, but they could not.”

 

Jack thanked Junior for including him in the bank venture.  He looked forward to working with him for quite some time and not just on the current project..

 

Jack said, “I like the way you do business by getting right to the point and taking care of your ‘p’s and ‘q’s.  I hate doing business with someone that I have to drag along or continually remind them of what I want.  This should be a great relationship.”

 

Junior agreed, “You are my first major account that was not already in existence in Lebanon.  I too look forward to working with you as well.”

 

Junior reasoned with Jack, “Just remember should the question ever come up – you bought the stock and you paid for the stock.  It is none of anyone’s business how many shares or how much you paid for it.”

 

Junior rationalized in his mind, “The Home ReSources deal was completed before we ever got to the club.  Today, I sold 500 shares of stock to a man in the club from one of my investors.  He authorized me to make the sale.”

 

Continuing with his rationalization, “I delivered the stock to him.  It had nothing to do with Home ReSources.  That is all I have done.”

 

They both finished their lunch and Junior dropped Jack off at the job site for Home ReSources.  Shaking hands, they agreed it had been a productive day.

 

By year’s end, Jack’s building was almost completed and the inventory was stocked.  Home ReSources was planning their Grand Opening.

 

The interim loans; and the construction loans had gone off without a hitch.  Jack could not have been more pleased with the way Junior stayed on his job site making sure everything worked as it should.

 

Corporate had deposited more than enough funds with Junior to cover inventories and the contracts.  Jack’s new building was well on its way to completion.

 

With Junior’s building nearing completion, Junior got together with Jack.  They arranged their grand opening on separate weekends a month apart so as to keep the interest level geared toward only one entity at a time.

 

Junior explained to Jack this is just one avenue where the 500Club works together to better everyone’s interest.  They not only would zero in on the interest level of the community, but it would better for the Lebanon by bringing in people on separate weekends instead of just one.

 

Jack had also been introduced to another facet of the 500Club through Clyde Bonner.  He would go to Carl and agree on prices for the lumber that was to be inventoried at the Home ReSources for sale and then Clyde Bonner would invoice him for the lumber through his company.

 

Jack did not understand all that entailed.  But as long as he was getting the lumber for the agreed price – how they handled the money was between them.

 

He suspected some kind of foul play or brokerage fees.  Carl was a member of the 500Club, and it did not make sense for Clyde to be making money off the mill.

 

Jack made a mental note to himself, “At some point when things are not so hectic, I have got to look into this.  I need to find out what is going on.”

 

Who knows … Clyde – he had heard was quite a wealthy man although not necessarily always above board on how he got his money – might be factoring the invoices for the inventory at the mill.  That could explain Clyde’s involvement.

 

“But if you are going to factor your invoices, would you not use a bank for that?  There are actually factoring agencies who do nothing but factor invoices.  A mill the size of Carl’s – and in business as long as they have been – still needs factoring?” he wondered.

 

“And,” thought Jack, “If you are going to do that – why don’t you use Junior?  He is a 500Club member and it is part of his banking business to factor invoices.”

 

“And to use a feed mill to factor your invoices?  But so be it,” Jack thought, “it is between them.  I’m just going to make sure I keep it on the up and up.”

 

Inevitably Sandra and Joan would wind up on the same fundraising project in Lebanon.  It just so happened that the annual fundraising event for the ASPCA organization brought them together.

 

Sandra worked the project every year with the Women’s Club to help with the ASPCA.  Unwanted animals or animals that were lost and needed a home were the object of the project.

 

With the increase in lost and stray animals each year, the city facilities were very lacking.  Not that many animals were being rescued.  It seemed there was a lack of interest on the part of the public to help.  Through the Women’s Club, the city hoped to renew interest and look at expanding the facilities.

 

The meeting was held at City Hall recreation center two months before Junior was supposed to open his new bank.  A luncheon was provided by the Silver Corral Restaurant – as their part in the fundraiser endeavor.

 

Sandra had been tagged as the treasurer for the group and Joan was the project manager.  This was going to require them to coordinate their activities.

 

Sandra had considered dropping out with an excuse that she had far too many activities and it would spread her too thin to cover all of the bases.  She knew in her heart that was not the reason, however.  It was more so that she did not want to work with Joan under the circumstances.

 

The really bad part would be that the town ladies would know also why she was not participating.  She knew that they would know that it was not due to her other activities.

 

As Steve had said, she thought, “I have got to suck it up and get in there and do my part with Joan.  If anyone wants to make something out of it, it would be Joan.  Take the high road was the order of the day.”

 

Sandra arrived at the meeting early as the Silver Corral staff were coming in with the food.  She set up a table and a couple of chairs to collect the donations for the luncheon.

 

They were collecting $15 per person for the food – even though the meal was being donated – to raise money for the club and the ASPCA project.  It would be a 90-10 proposition.  90% for the ASPCA and 10% for the club to cover any incidental administrative expenses they might incur.

 

Joan arrived.  She was talking to the Silver Corral manager, Collin Weaver.  Sandra overheard her thanking him for their generous contribution of food for the event.

 

As luck would have it, Collin called for Sandra to come over.  “Woops, well that would do it.  Joan would not walk away from Collin who was providing the food.  And I certainly can’t avoid going over,” thought Sandra.

 

She left her table and joined Collin and Joan.  They were standing next to the serving line.

 

“Sandra, I just wanted to tell you that every time I go by the bank, I can’t help, but want to go through the drive-thru windows to just see the flowers.  Thank you for beautifying our city in that manner.  We are following your lead at Silver Corral and doing the same thing.”

 

Sandra, thanked him, but added, “You really don’t need to thank me.  It was Joan’s husband, Sam, who orchestrated the flower arrangement.  It has helped the bank tremendously in working with our clients.”

 

“There she had done it,” Sandra had addressed what Sam had done for the bank and given credit to him for the face-life.  At the same time laid the little stinger that it had done wonders for the bank.

 

Joan, seeing her lead, said, “Yes, Sam was the instigator behind the flowers.  But would you just know it, I can’t get him to put his fingers in the DIRT at home for anything.”  Joan countered with the word ‘dirt’ for her stinger.

 

Collin laughed not realizing the intense thought behind their comments.  He wished them both great success with the luncheon and the donations for the ASPCA and returned to giving instructions to his staff.

 

Sandra turned to Joan and said, “Joan, I know that our family has all these changes going on in town, but it should not affect our work for the good of the community.  For what it is worth, we are family and we need to work together.”

 

She finished, “I am willing to work with you on any project.  I will do as you want when you are heading them up like this ASPCA project.”

 

Sandra breathed a sigh of relief now that she had addressed the issue head-on.  It would be up to Joan to receive or reject the concession.

 

Joan was shocked to hear Sandra take such a prolific attitude.  She had not known what to expect from her.

 

But it was obvious that she was not going to cause problems.  Joan did want the family to stay together and it was refreshing to hear Sandra’s comments.

 

Joan made a mental note to herself that she would tell Sam about it that evening.  “Maybe … maybe Lebanon can have two banks and both be run by Johnsons and succeed,” she contemplated.

 

Joan responded to Sandra, “Thank you and I agree we can work on these projects for the good of the community without this family getting in the way.  I know that you want to help Lebanon all that you can.”

 

Meanwhile, June remembered well the day that Junior announced he was leaving the bank.  Looking back; she thought, “It was just about 4 months ago.  So much has transpired since then.”

 

Junior was going to leave for what I thought was work that day.  Instead he informed her, “Today is going to be the first day of our new life forever.”

 

He had said, “I am going in to Uncle Steve’s office and announce that I am quitting the bank.  I am going to spill the beans and tell him that I am starting a new bank where he thought was going to be a child daycare center.”

 

Explaining to June, “I am not going to tell him anything else.  I am not going to let him start in on me.  I am just going to turn and walk out of his office.”

 

June had been shocked that it was going to be that quick, and asked, “Junior, are you sure today is the day?  Do you have everything ready to go now?  I thought it was going to be in two to three weeks.”

 

“No,” Junior had replied, “It has to be today.  They are bringing in the double-wide trailer and even if I tried to keep it a secret after getting the trailer, I could not do it.”

 

He explained, “No, it has to be today and that is all there is too it.  Uncle Steve will just have to get over it.”

 

Junior had said, “We are going to give up our salary.  Uncle Steve is not going to compensate me like he did Dad with a buy-out package or having a going away party at the bank.  We may have to tighten our belt for a little while.”

 

“That was a day to remember,” reminisced June. “When Junior came home that day; he was still shaking.”  He told me, “Well, I did it.”

 

June had been quick to ask, “How did Uncle Steve take it?  It had to be a surprise to him.”

 

“He was still calling my name as I went out the side door,” Junior had answered, “Who knows after that.  I got in the car and left as fast as I could.”

 

June remembering, “Now 4 months have passed and I have not heard from Aunt Sandra or Uncle Steve.  Mom was supposed to work on an ASPCA fundraiser at noon today and Aunt Sandra serves on that committee as well.  I guess I can get some information from Mom on what is happening when she gets home.”

 

June waited until she was sure that her Mom was home and called her.  Joan picked up the phone and said, “Hello, June.”

 

It was her normal usual cheery voice like when they talk regularly so that was a good sign.  “Did you go to the ASPCA fundraising committee meeting today?” asked June.

 

“Yes,” replied Joan, “And yes I saw and talked to Sandra.  She was very cordial in her usual very helpful self.”

 

She explained, “Sandra told me that with all that is going on, that we should not to let the family be divided.  We need to stick together.”

 

She finished, “I know it is early, but I think she and Steve have come to terms that Lebanon can have two banks.  And that both can be successful.”

 

June replied, “That sounds great until you get to the commercial accounts.  There are just so many of them to go around and Junior has been working them for years.”

 

She contemplated, “That is going to be a sticky point.  Junior feels that he can get them to come over to his way of banking.”

 

Concluding, “I just hope that Aunt Sandra and Uncle Steve do not get hurt financially.  I want the family to stay together and both prosper.”

 

June asked, “Did Aunt Sandra mention John or Sarah?  I’m wondering how they are taking all of this.”

 

“No,” replied Joan, “they were not mentioned but if Sandra is taking a cordial attitude toward all of this, then she will instill that same attitude with John and Sarah.  They will go along with her.”

 

Joan continued, “Steve is the one we have to worry about.  You know him, up one minute emotionally and down the next.”

 

“Hopefully, Sandra can keep him under wraps,” alluded Joan, “then we will all get through this.  For now just go about your everyday activities and if you run into Sandra or Steve, just speak and be nice.  I think they will respond equally as well.”

 

Joan finished, “We don’t have our next standard family get together until Thanksgiving.  John and Sarah will come in for that.  But they might spend all their time with them.”

 

“We could pass on getting together this year if we have to for the sake of the family,” rendered Joan.  “We will do something with you and Junior though – don’t you worry.”

 

Joan finished, “I’m so glad we are past all this deception business and the truth is out in the open completely.  I felt real bad not being able to tell Sandra what I knew.”

 

“Yeah, I felt the same way,” said June.  “Well it is said and done now so maybe we can move forward as a family again.”  They said their goodbyes and hung up the phones.

 

Sam had been enjoying his time on his motorcycle.  While Junior was getting ready to move inside a new building, Sam was reacquainting himself with the outdoors.

 

“It is great riding with the wind hitting you in the face.  It’s a relaxation I haven’t felt for years,” mused Sam.  “The sun above, trees all around – puts you in touch with nature.”

 

He thought, “Riding under the open skies gives me the freedom to go and do as I please.  This is a measure of pleasure in life you can’t find anywhere else.”

 

“Banking – was great – but it was time consuming and you always had to be there.  This – freedom to ride anywhere – is a thrilling experience,” considered Sam.

 

“But you know – all good things have to take a turn at some point.  Joan has had her heart set on a European vacation – maybe France or Italy or both.”

 

“She wants to rent a villa,” he questioned with an uncertainty, “and wanted to spend 2 – 3 months in one location acclimating to the environment of another country?  She wants something to be able to share with her family over and above Lebanon, Tennessee.”

 

“I guess I could go for that,” thought Sam, “after all I see scooters all around over there.  If she will let me take my Harley – she’s got a deal,” calculated Sam.

 

He reasoned, “Riding the countryside there would be as exciting as here.  I will just give her my ultimatum – let me take my Harley and I will go and stay as long as she wants anywhere.”

 

“One thing is for sure,” he thought, “if taking the Harley is a deal breaker then I still get to ride here.  Riding anywhere is all I want to do.”

 

He turned his Harley toward home to share his decision with Joan.  When he arrived, he saw her car there and knew she was home.

 

Sam found her at the kitchen table with brochures scattered all about.  “Joan,” Sam began, “I have decided that we can go wherever you want to go and stay as long as you want.”

 

Joan shrieked with excitement, “Sam, you mean it?  That is wonderful; I have just booked us on a tour that includes France and Italy.  How did you possibly know?”

 

Sam laughed, “Oh, a little birdie told me.”  He was setting her up for the ultimatum of the Harley.

 

“Don’t joke with me about this, Sam,” a smiling Joan replied, “I’m serious.”

 

“I know you are,” countered Sam, “There is one condition though.  I need to be able to take my Harley with me,” Sam had let her get all excited before he dropped his plan on her.

 

“We can ship it over and when we arrive, I can pick it up and be able to go wherever we want to go in the countryside.  You can ride with me!” an excited Sam began.

 

There was the culmination of the plan to include Joan with him as they covered the countryside.  “Where better to see life in France or Italy without going beyond the cities to see the country.”

 

To his surprise, Joan said, “I have already thought of that.  I have contacted a company in Nashville.  They can take care of the shipping for us to wherever we want it to go and to see that the bike gets home when you want it back.”

 

“What,” Sam thought, “she is a step ahead of me.”  He countered with her, “Bike – You don’t call my Harley Hog a bike,” scolded Sam amusingly, “but I will let you get away with it this time as long as I can have it with me.”

 

 “We are going to have so much fun, Sam.  It will be like the honeymoon we never took and we can stay as long as we want,” she was ecstatic.

 

“On a regular honeymoon; you have to get back within a week or so.  This time we can stay forever if we want,” laughed Joan.

 

Joan stated, “I will inform Junior and June.  They can tell anyone else – and you know who I mean – that might want to know.”

 

She shouted leaving the room, “Oh, I have got to start packing.  We are only going to take so many clothes as we will buy local when we get there.  We don’t want to look like tourists.”

 

Joan told Sam, “Call this number in Nashville and they will send a truck out here to ship the Harley.  I will have the address by the time they get here.”

 

“Will do,” declared Sam.  He left to go wipe his Harley down before some strange hands got their fingerprints all over it.

 

“Hope they don’t damage it in shipping,” he thought.  “If they do, they better have a repair shop wherever they ship it to.”

 

Having the number from Joan; he proceeded to call and set up the shipping instructions.  He actually was looking forward to the trip.

 

Junior felt good about his bank and was looking forward to his opening.  His only regret about opening next week, he thought, “Dad will not be here to see how it goes.  Mom has him set up to leave in a couple of days.”

 

“I’m not even sure where they are going exactly, maybe France?  But by the time they get back in, I will have all the kinks out and he will see a smooth running operation,” he reasoned.

 

Junior left the bank to go to the club.  “Maybe after lunch, I can find someone to have a dart game with.  “Darts are a great way to kill and afternoon along with a good cold beer.  Surely there would be someone there,” he surmised.

 

Steve, in the meantime, had been watching intently all that Home ReSources was doing with their new building.  He was particularly impressed with the grand opening.

 

The new John Deere tractor display was an interesting twist.  Stranger still – that it would come on the day after the grand opening instead of during the grand opening.

 

  “It was surprising for them to come up with the idea.  But who knows, it seemingly is a natural extension of the services Home ReSources provides,” he calculated in his mind.

 

“Hate to think about Tractor Supply never coming our way, but then what difference does it make.  The same amount of business will occur; it will just happen with Home ReSources instead of being divided between Home ReSources and Tractor Supply,” reasoned Steve.

 

In a way, Steve was proud of Junior for getting the business.  “It was obvious Junior did a great job for them.  Everything had come off without a hitch and that usually means the funding was there for every need.  I’m sure Junior stayed on top of everything.”

 

“Family had not necessarily been that way though,” Steve thought.  “I wanted to keep our relationship on the high road.  For the most part it had been that way.  Now with Sam going out of town; he could not stir up any trouble.”

 

“I know he loaned the money to Junior that he got from me on the buyout.  But according to Warner there is nothing I can do about that if I want to keep peace in the family,” thought Steve.

 

 Steve was not completely in agreement with the high road idea, “When you get right down to it; what they did was pretty dirty.”

 

He wanted at times to really express his feelings – not over anything Junior was doing in business but what they had pulled off with the family.  “That was the dirty part – not telling the truth.”

 

“Sam and Junior had literally taken the family and said you know what you can do with it.  Then they scammed the money with the buyout.  Yeah, I got the bank stock, but they got money to start another bank,” Steve had to be careful, he felt his blood pressure rising.

 

“Then, of all things,” reasoned Steve, “for them to get someone like Clyde Bonner to join in with them who tried to run rough shod over me; made it that much worse.  They knew that I would never agree to do business with a Clyde Bonner.  How could they do it?”

 

Steve was angry, “For Sam to take my buy-out of his stock and his money to build a competing bank with Clyde Bonner was just downright inconsiderate..  It was a slap in my face and to Mom and Dad – is what it was.”

 

“But Sandra says that I can’t say anything.  One of these days, she says things will change or at least, the family will find a way to stay together,” thought Steve.

 

“She just does not know how hard it is for me to not say or do something,” he rationalized, “this Bonner thing is bigger than most people think.”

 

Steve knew about Clyde, “I would like to go over and tell Junior what he is in for with Clyde, but he probably would not listen to me anyway.  So Sandra is right; I will just stay out of it.”

 

Steve lamented, “Maybe when the ‘you know what’ hits the fan with Clyde, Junior will see the wisdom of coming to me to help get him get out of whatever Clyde gets him into.  I just hope that when he does find out; that he is not in too deep for me to help.”

 

“Oh well,” considered Steve, “Not for me to worry anyway.  Jody and the girls are doing a great job.  They are finding loans where there aren’t any loans.”

 

Steve was enthused over his new bank business, “Why we allowed the bank to reach this level with me, Sam or Junior, I don’t know.”

 

“There was more business out there that we passed over than we can shake a stick at.  And we were just letting the business pass us by to Nashville or Cookeville – who knows where,” he acknowledged.

 

Steve calculated, “Jody, Allison, and Sharon are going out and convincing businesses to increase their inventories with our loans.  The businesses can sell more and it is working for them and the bank.”

 

“I dare say that with all the new business we have gotten; we have matched everything and maybe more than Junior did with Home ReSources.  And we did not have to do anything underhanded to get it done,” figured Steve.

 

On his way home, Steve drove by Junior’s new bank.  He never could tell exactly when a building was complete until they opened the doors.  He just figured they would be opening soon.

 

Evidently, since Junior was spending all his time with Home ReSources, he was letting the new loan business go with the exception of the inventory loans for Carl and David.  He also had heard that Ray was working his consignment with Ford and not using Junior.

 

“I’m sure that with the building nearing completion, he is waiting for a more accommodating place to conduct business.  Double-wides do not spell confidence as a lender,” lamented Steve.

 

“But then,” Steve had heard at the Kiwanis meeting, “Ray had put in that new paint shop in the rear of the dealership and Junior covered that loan.”  Ray was at the meeting bragging about his new paint shop.

 

Steve, on the other hand, had gotten the 2 new front-end loaders promised by Carl.  Carl was pleased with Steve’s rates.  Jody and team had made a great presentation.

 

“From all appearances, there was going to be enough banking business for both Junior and himself.  Maybe two banks in Lebanon was not a bad thing after all.”

 

Steve then remembered, “The only difference, I have that large payment for the money I borrowed to buy Sam out.  However – with Jody, and the girls, and the new business they are bringing in plus not having to pay Sam or Junior – I am making the notes.”

 

“Not to mention I am setting up some funds for a rainy day to meet that note if needed.  Praise the Lord,” he wanted to shout.

 

Steve pulled up in his drive way and got out of the car.  Sandra was at the front door to greet him as she always was, “OK, tell me what good news you have or tell me what has gone wrong today?” laughingly she started.

 

“Good day, nothing special, just making money.  Printing it actually,” laughed Steve.

 

It was a standing joke between them.  When Steve could not make money in banking, he would just print it.

 

Sandra replied, “Yeah, I got your printing.  I don’t see any printing ink on your hands.”

 

“Oh,” laughed Steve, “I’m using disappearing ink.  That way I am not held accountable after so many hours.”

 

Steve continued, “I have started paying my bills with disappearing ink.  If the folks don’t deposit the checks before it disappears – I’m home free.  If they complain, I just tell ‘em not my fault they should have got ‘em to the bank quicker.”

 

Sandra laughed all the way to the den.  She had his favorite drink – Dr Pepper – by his chair.  “I’ll get dinner,” she said.  She gave him a kiss and left him to get dinner prepared.

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