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Poverty March 1, 2006

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

A man lived on his central Texas patch of land just outside Midland. He enjoyed his few acres of land as best he could and a had a few head of cattle grazing on the sparse vegetation struggling to grow in the hot Texas sun. He’d retired, for the most part, to this piece of land that had been in his family for generations. The Great Depression had hit him hard. He was dirt poor, but mahaged just enough to survive. Even though the nation was seeing signs of life, the Depression still left his heart in the grave.

A young man approached this older fellow one day on his Texas land and asked him a few questions.

“Howdy, my name is Lew, and this is your lucky day.”

“My name is Gerald – get off my land.”

“Nice to meet you sir, I am here to help,” said the young man.

“Don’t need no help,” retorted the old man.

“Sir, I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but I have an offer you can’t refuse.”

“Get off my land. There, I just refused it.” He left to retrieve his shotgun.

“Sir, if you would just hear me out I am sure that what I have to offer is a great value to you.”

Gerald came back with his shotgun and said, “If you value your life you’ll get off my land.” He cocked the gun and pointed it at Lew. Lew realized that Gerald was serious and promptly left the land.

Lew wasn’t finished with him yet. He sent mail and made calls and even sent a couple of telegrams. All with no response. Gerald became so frsutrated with Lew that he finally wrote a letter back to him.

Dear Lew,

You annoy me. I am sick and tired of your constant attempts to communicate with me. I will make a deal with you. You come out to my place and I will give you 30 minutes to say whatever it is you want to say. In return, you will commit never to contact me again in any way.

Sincerely and annoyed,


Lew received the letter with great joy. He made his way out to the little ranch the next day and knocked on the door. Gerald answered the door and said, “OK, you got 30 minutes, go.” Lew did expect to at least be invited into the house, but he wasn’t. He thought he might sit down with some tea or lemonade, but that was never offered. All he got to do wa to stand at the less than half open door and talk. No problem for Lew, Really, all he wanted to do was to talk. He was sure 30 minutes wouldget more time once he made his offer.

So, lew explained that this couple of acres where Gerald’s ranch set was prime mineral land. In short, Lew told Gerald that he was sitting on a gold mine, a black gold mine.

This did peak Gerald’s interest a bit. Gerald had always envied those rich oil people, even resented them some for their lives being so fat and easy.

“So, you got a plan, Lew?” Asked Gerald.

“I thought that you would never ask – here it is,” said Gerald as he laid out some papers.

“I can’t read all that mess. Just tell me what it says.”

“Uh, yes sir. In short, if you sell all of your possessions and place your house under mortgage, then you will have enough money to buy and have install a couple of oil wells, a storage facility, and all the necessary pipes and fittings with a one year parts and service contract in case something goes wrong. And then…”

“Did you just say that I need to sell my poseessions?”

“Well sir, that is merely a temporary thing. With what the oil will bring in…”

“Are you crazy?”

“Sir, I assure you that I am not crazy, if you will just listen…”

“Son, you come in here and bother me until I give you 30 minutes just to tell me to get rid of everything I have for some cock and bull story about contracts and storage facilities? I could have spent this time feeding my cows.”

“Sir please, I want to suggest that perhaps you are the crazy one.”

“Get off my land.”

“You did promise to give me 30 minutes and I believes I still have about 8 minutes left.

“Well sonny, you can talk, but I ain’t listening.

“Thank you sir. The land you are sitting on is so oil rich that you could leave a legacy of security and fortune to generations to come.”

“Son, I don’t have no family, so I don’t care about generations to come. Everyone I ever loved left me for dead – and they should have. What I did to them was unforgiveable. Even if they treid to forgive me I wouldn’t’ believe them.”

“With all do respect, sir, the treasue that you sit on does not hold grudges. All you need to do is take a little temporary risk in order to secure the tools in order to dig deep and access the fortune, that sir, you already own.”

This got Gerald to thinking. “Boy, if you are right, then what’s in it for you?”

“Pardon me?” Lew answered surprised.

“Yeah, what’s your angle? You want half? Do you represent the drilling company? Are trying to swindle me?”

“Sir, none of those things are true. I am merely a man trying to make life better for more people. I truly believe that the more people who access to the treaures they own
the better off everyone else will be.”

“Are you running for office?” Gerald asked with a skeptical tone.

“No sir, I am not running for office.”

“Then why are you telling me this?”

“Sir, I don’t know how else to say it. You are sitting on a fortune. All you need to do is make a little sacrifice and then you will never have to worry about financial security again – and neither will your offspring. Who knows, maybe if you have something to offer them, they might soften and forgive you?”

This got Gerald thinking more and more. There was a glimmer of hope. The 30 minutes had been up for a few minutes, but no one was coutning at this point. Another question popped into Gerald’s mind.

“How is it that you have the time to spend with me? How are you paying your bills?”

“Sir, I have what I have and it is enough, but that is no concern to you. It is what you have that matters to you.”

Gerald asked Lew to come back tomorrow and Lew agreed. Gerald was confounded by the message of the young man. He couldn’t deny that it was possible Lew was telling the truth, but on the other hand, his apparent lack of greed was suspect. Everyone is out for something thought Gerald, how could he not be in it for himself?

Gerald was dogged by skepticism. Why hadn’t Lew charged him anything? Why not try to get him to sign a contract? Why not… and then it hit him. Lew was shrewd and patient. He knew the man had no offspring that mattered. Then it all made sense to Gerald.

Lew was excited for his meeting with Gerald. He arrived prompltly at 8:00 AM and knocked on the Gerald’s door.

“Come in,” he heard Gerald say from behind the door.

Lew opened the door and stepped inside the house, morning sun shining in the window, back lightintg Gerald. All Lew could see was Gerald’s shadow with smoke rising from what looked to be a cigar and a long thin stick or something.

“Gerald? Are you ready to talk some more?”

As Lew spoke, Gerald’s foot slipped a little bit from underneath him and kicked an empty whiskey bottle, which rolled over and stoped at Lew’s shoe. Lew looked up with a slight bit of panic. Gerald was drunk and that stick he held was a shotgun.

“Boy, how dare you?” Gerald slurred.

“Sir, I’m sorry I don’t know what you mean.”

“Shut-up boy!” Gerald yelled, “you come in here to take advantage of an old man. I’ll show you, you little son of a bitch.” At that Gerald pulled the trigger and shot Lew in the chest. Lew’s body slammed back against the half open front door and slammed it shut. Blood splattered on the walls and on Lew’s face as life rushed quickly from his body.

Gerald stumbled to Lew’s dying body.

“That’ll teach you to steal from an old man.” Gerald said with indignation.

Lew fought for a every breath, but each breath was more labored and soupy with blood than the one before. He looked up at Gerald and made eye contact. He had strength to say one nmore thing.

“Grampa,” Lew said, “I forgive you – even for this. Please, take my offer.” Lew’s neck went limp and he died.



1. David U - March 1, 2006

WOW! So tell us…..whatever happened to Gerald?

2. Paul - March 1, 2006

That hurt!

3. Joel Maners - March 2, 2006

Great story. Thanks for sharing.

4. TCS - March 2, 2006

Teacher explain your story.–>

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