After leaving my brother, I stopped past the water company and relayed Mike's message. Also told them my sad story about not having water, huge leaks, yada yada. We'll see whether they make the adjustment immediately or whether I will have to write a letter. They came out before the end of the day. Something to be said for living in a small town.
Oh, I forgot, Sunday evening on the way to get a meal, two young Black males nonchalantly rode their horses right up the middle of the street, through town square. Talking about two shocked faces! No, it was not a parade and town square becomes deserted at the stroke of 5 p.m., on weekdays. Sundays, it is a ghost town. We knew we were in the "country" but nothing had prepared either of us for that. What a sight. We just sat at the stop sign in shock. City folks aren't used to that.
Mid-day, Deacon Jebediah Williams came to call. He's the gentleman who approached me in the home center about painting the house. Why didn't he come while my brother was around? We talked about the repairs needed, etc. He told me a little about the former owner. It turns out she owned quite a bit of property around the town. He was surprised to learn that she was still living. He kindly invited me to his church, Holly Grove Baptist, telling me that it is the largest Black church in Ripley; a city church. That some people felt that they were too status-conscious and didn't feel welcome. Sounded like complaints about my home church. Some things never change. I promised to attend in the future. After he left, I realized that a more pressing need was for new flooring in the front bath and kitchen, rather than painting. Not that the living and dining room don't need it but....
The weekend before settlement, my brother and my friend, made the journey to help me pack. They knew how badly I needed help although I hadn't asked for it. Bless them. Some of the things I insisted upon bringing had them shaking their heads in disbelief and strongly suggesting that I wouldn't need them. Things like fans, ceramic tile (I had a boatload left over from different projects), a box and a half of laminate flooring, paint. The list goes on. Turns out I had enough tile, albeit assorted, to do the bath, with some left over. Had to buy tile for the kitchen floor, however. And, the paint? One can was used to paint the foyer. My brother begged for white semi-gloss, so I had to buy that. And the wallpaper? Will be used in the living room. Have just enough.
Back to the Deacon. He showed up the following Monday morning with his "tile man," also named Mike. Mike is tall and spare, with a pony-tail, and has lived a hard life. But the knowledge and skill he has is unbelievable. Says he dropped out of school in the tenth grade, I believe, but he can calculate math like nobody's business. "Don't need pencil or paper." He estimated the amount of tile needed for the bathroom and kitchen almost to the last tile put in place. Blocked out his grid and started to work. Bathroom done in a day. Ready to start on the kitchen the next day. Same routine. Blocked his grid, ripped off the molding. Bam! Floor laid. Now, quiet as it is kept, Mike knows more about tiling and carpentry than the good Deacon. But the Deacon gets the jobs and keeps Mike employed. The Deacon supervises but some of the questions he asks tells me that laying tile is not his forte. They make a good team, however.
They also turned me onto some of the best fried fish I've tasted in some time. And, it comes from the gas station, of all places. What kind is it, missy? Don't have a clue. Boneless fillets, seasoned just right, not greasy; the cook knows what she is doing. I'm hooked. And, they are a great tag-team for getting additional business. With the kitchen and bathroom floors laid, they teamed up to suggest that the area opening off of the kitchen, bath, and foyer needed work. Now, the former owner paid attention to detail but she surely missed the mark in the choice of vinyl flooring for those areas. Beautiful hardwood throughout except there. It may have been top of the line at one time but the years had taken their toll.
I had found marble tile on deep discount at my favorite shopping place, Home Depot, and purchased several cases to be used on the kitchen counters. I WANT marble counter tops. Alas, it won't happen. I used the tile and laminate flooring to do the mini-foyer. The Deacon was highly sceptical of my idea. He had said after seeing the kitchen floor that he might put ceramic tile in his dining room to replace the hardwood floors. I can't see that happening. No more than he could visualize my idea. After it came together, he has decided to purchase marble tile instead and replicate the idea, if his daughter approves. She will and so will you.
After it was completed, I told him that I had seen it done in a casino in AC. I am thrilled. Dare I say it? I had just enough.
I'll handle the woes of the roof, etc., in the next post. Stay tuned.