The table

Today started out in a less-than-ideal way — the morning’s e-mail included a message from the financial company that held the lease on the Toyota Tacoma I traded (along with Deb’s Tacoma) on our SilverSilverado in early June. It said that my July payment was past due and next month’s would be due in a couple of weeks.

Why? When I traded the truck I pulled up my lease account, surfed to the screen showing the payoff amount and gave a copy to the dealer. Ten days or so later they sent that sum to the leasing company. Done deal, right?


A phone call this morning revealed that the payoff number we relied on was what I would’ve paid to satisfy the lease. If a dealer bought the truck, well, it’d cost ’em $2,238.44 more. They’re on the hook for that, but in the meantime I’ll be getting nastygrams (and dings to my credit rating, if that matters) from the leasing company.

I called the dealer and explained the problem, urging them to get on the stick and pay off the lease sooner rather than later. Ultimately it’s neither my circus nor my monkeys — I already have a clear title to our Silverado. They need the title to the Tacoma they bought, so they’ll have to pay.

I’ll bet they won’t make that mistake again.

The day took a turn for the better two hours later when we drove down the road to our builder and handed them a check — it was the formal “green light” to order the materials for our house on The Mountain. That’ll take six to eight weeks, by which time the site work should be complete.

The ball is rolling. We’re pretty jazzed here.

We continued on east, stopping for supplies in Flippin and lunch in Gassville before landing at Deb’s cousin’s place. We spent several glorious hours up there on this hot and breezy day, leaving for the campground in mid-afternoon.

For the first time since returning to northern Arkansas we had a meal at the Neighborhood Diner in Harrison. I ordered a “Black Jack Burger” and a bowl of white beans, while Deb chose the roast beef dinner. Before our food arrived a beat-up old truck parked out front and three twenty-somethings piled out.

The trio that entered the diner, two men and a woman, looked like they must be living in that truck. They walked over toward us, staring at the wall behind where I was sitting.

See, that’s the “Sharing Wall.” The Neighborhood Diner makes it possible for patrons to “pay forward” by buying a meal for someone who’s down on their luck.

One of the young men appeared to be a little embarrassed to be standing in front of the wall. I moved my chair, smiled and encouraged him to get close enough to read the tickets posted there.

The other man leaned toward me and whispered, “It’s his first time.”

Eventually each of them made a choice, sat down at the table across from us and enjoyed a hot, home-cooked meal, thanks to the generosity of their neighbors. Clearly they were grateful. I found it deeply moving.

When Deb and I paid for our meal, we added another ticket to the Sharing Wall.

What I experienced in that diner and saw unfold at that table this afternoon is still with me. It reminds me how damned fortunate I am, and of how important it is to me to help, even in small ways, those who are not.

Think about it. As you walk this world, look for ways to pay forward.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB