Sam was at the front door of the bank at nine sharp. The guard was unlocking the door just as Sam reached for the handle. The manager saw Sam and motioned for him to come into his office. “Sam, I am going to bend a few rules, and try to get all of your money out to you today. I am only doing this because your Dad and I were friends,” the bank manager explained to Sam. “I have almost all of the cash and I have to tell you it is quite a sum. I am going to give you two hundred fifty thousand in cash and the rest of the money I can give to you in cashier's checks, if that is acceptable to you. If you want to come back in a couple of days, I may be able to swap out cash for the checks.”
“I appreciate the effort you are making, I will be in town for six more days and then I am going to gone for a year,” Sam explained his plans to the manager. “I am going to rent my house and I have arranged for him to make the payments to a rental agency. They in turn will bring the money to the bank and place it in my safe deposit box, less their fee. I hope the bank will be here when I return.”
“Sam, I am going to be straight with you. The bank is on shaky ground. It's not just us, it is the whole industry. You really should put the money in an account, instead of a safe deposit box. The interest will be negligible, but, the account will be insured and should things go bad, you will at least have a chance at recovery,” said the banker.
“That makes sense to me,” said Sam, “Leave the account open and I will give the number to the rental agency and change my instructions to them. I will see you in three days. Do you suppose the guard will walk me out to my jeep?”
“We will both walk out with you,” answered the manager, “A quarter million in cash is a good sized package. Please be careful Sam and write if you need anything.”
Sam's next stop was the dock. He took the packages of bill on board his boat and went down into the bilge area. Taking a screwdriver out of his toolbox, he removed some screws from a board and opened a hidden compartment. Carefully stacking the money into the insulated waterproof compartment he had built while refurbishing the boat, he was able to pack all of the money inside, except for what he would need today. He replaced the screws and took pains to make certain the heads of the screws looked like they had been there forever. A little vinegar will quickly add a little rust to the steel screw and a smudge of dirt here and there will camouflage them.
Sam got back in the jeep and made for the coin shop. The owner acknowledged Sam as he walked in. As soon as the owner finished with the customer he was helping, he told Sam to come on back. They walked into a small office and Sam was shown the gold and silver. “I was able to get quite a bit,” said the owner, “I hope you are going to take it. If you don't I am going to have a lot of money tied up for a long time.”
“I said I would,” said Sam, “How much is it and what is the total?”
“There are two hundred fifty gold eagles and five monster boxes of silver eagles. The Gold is two hundred eighty thousand and the silver comes to forty three thousand five hundred fifty five dollars. Grand total with tax is three hundred thirty three thousand dollars and I always give a standard discount of five percent for cash, so you owe me three hundred sixteen thousand.”
“The bank will have the rest of my money in three days, I am going to leave you three hundred dollars in cashiers checks to hold the metals. When the bank calls me, I will come by and we can go to the bank together and swap the checks for the metals, if you are agreeable,” said Sam.
“That works for me,” agreed the owner.
Sam left the coin shop and drove to the gun shop. He parked in back by a roll up door and pressed the delivery bell button. In a minute or so, an employee raised the door and let him in. The employee loaded all the guns and ammo into Sam's jeep while Sam settled his bill with some of the cash he brought. Leaving the gun shop,, Sam realized it was lunch time, so he headed for the cafe.
Irene gave a wave and a smile as she saw Sam coming in the front door. Sam took his usual seat and noticed for the first time, just how empty the diner was. Irene came over with a glass of tea and the day's special for Sam. She sat down in the booth across from Sam, and said, “Congratulations, you are my very last customer. Tom has decided that he is closing after lunch to give the new owner a little extra time to get things ready. I am going to be off in about 20 minutes and I want to go and get some clothes for the trip.”
“About that,” Sam started, “would you mind a lot if I went with you?”
“Not at all, sweetie, but I never figured you for the shopping type,” she teased.
“I'm not,” said Sam, “but, you have never spent a lot of time on a boat and I don't want you to spend a lot of money on cruise wear, because most of the time we will be working. You need some good work clothes, some gloves, and good serviceable deck shoes, of course, you will need a bikini as well.”
“Am I being shanghaied,” she asked? “I thought this was a pleasure cruise.”
“Oh, it is,” Sam added quickly, “but there is a lot of work to sailing when there is only a two person crew, and you never know what might happen. I would say two or three dress up outfits would be plenty. We will, after all, undoubtedly make a few ports of call.”
Sam dug into the meat loaf and mashed potatoes with gusto. When he finished, he walked up to the counter and shook Tom's hand and thanked him for all the good meals and wished him well with his retirement.
“Take good care of her,” said Tom pointing to Irene, “She is the closest thing to a daughter I have ever had.”
“I will defend her with my life,” promised Sam.
"Southern Gentlemen are not always Gentlemen by nature. They are 'Exposed' to proper behavior and manners early in life, and are smart enough to remember, and to refine them, through a constant practice".
My good friend, Shelby Foote