Several weeks after the rage of getting conned by a con man faded from the front of my brain, I met Mr. Roy. He was a nice, white-haired gentleman who worked the sign-in table at my voting precinct. I’d heard Martin say on many occasions he had to go see Mr. Roy to get paid for some task he’d helped him with or that Mr. Roy was letting him store his tools in his shop or some other guano. When my wife nudged me and told me who it was, I struck up a brief conversation with him about Martin. He responded with a blasé attitude and wasn’t too interested in getting involved with anything Martin related. So, I voted and left feeling let-down. I couldn’t understand why anyone who knew Martin wouldn’t want to gab about what a road apple he was.
Shortly after the blessing of the balls and Martin’s mother’s funeral, he showed up and started working off the money I’d given him by mowing my grass that he’d been neglecting. Being the resourceful chap that he was, he also started using my lawnmower to cut other yards up and down the street. A few days after starting his new business, he even asked me if it was OK that he was using my lawn equipment. Even though it was a little out of sequence, I had no problem with the deal. I figured it was a way that I could help him out without it costing me more than a gallon of gas every so often.
Over the next few days, Martin’s attitude seemed to improve in spite of his mother’s death, and we assumed that someone must have put up the money to get his mother’s body released to the funeral home. He didn`t come by to attempt to chip away at the pile of work we`d paid him to do that he hadn’t done, but he called regularly to give us updates of his whereabouts and daily activities. However, we didn’t mind his scarcity because a tornado of restless energy tagged along with him whenever he came around, and I think we were exhausted just from his awareness that we were alive.
Over the next few days, Martin’s work product decreased as his personal problems increased. He showed up daily asking for advanced payments for work he promised to complete the next day. He told my wife and me stories of his hardships and we both felt really bad for him.
One night in late spring 2015, my buddy John and I were sitting on my front porch talking while the womenfolk were inside probably swapping recipes and churning butter or drinking wine. Who knows… Anyway, John and I were solving some social injustice or reliving his glory days on the gridiron as we were prone to do when he and his sweeter than sorghum wife Robyn came for a visit. Then, a man who would greatly affect my outlook on charity emerged from the darkness.