The next morning Tom gave me a drawing and a bill of materials for the shed. “We need to see what kind of furnace we can buy. From that, we’ll know what size shed will need,” Tom left.
That evening, Tom had photos of several types of propane furnaces. “Brad and I think this size would be big enough. You won’t need to keep the barn as warm as a house. You just need to keep the chill out. The horse blankets will provide the additional warmth the horses need. You will need a bigger feed box with the other two horses, or you’ll have to replenish it more often. I’ll make a list of what we will need.”
I watched Tom and Brad as Tom showed me what they discussed. I was getting the feeling that the boys were beginning to think of this place as home. And surprisingly, I was okay with that.
I agreed to Tom’s design, ordered the wood, agreed to where they wanted to build the shed. I suggested one more addition, “When we dig the hole to bury the propane tank, we need to make it large enough to bury a water tank. Mom said that spring runs all year. We could put a pump in there and pump the water to the tank.” I didn’t need to say anymore. By the look on the boys’ faces, they understood.
Dad brought his tractor over, and the boys started to dig the holes for the propane tank and water tank. After the first day of digging, it was obvious that we wouldn’t have that done before they had to leave for their Christmas break. I called a local contractor, told him what I wanted. By the end of the week, he had the holes finished and a dirt road to the barn. I didn’t want the gardens destroyed, so we agreed to have the road just to the left of the garages. I bought a shed, and the boys set it in place. I purchased a propane furnace, and Charlie helped them to install it.
By the time the boys were ready to leave, the other two horses had arrived, the barn was heated, and the water tank was filled with water, an old fashion water pump was installed on the water tank.
On the day before they were to leave, we took a carriage ride through town. The horses acted like they were on parade. I guess they thought we were part of the circus. We rode past the University, and the boys waved at them, some they knew from class.
Back home, we backed the carriage into the garage. The horses were taken to the barn, brushed, oat, and water buckets filled. With four horses and Charlie helping, we finished quickly. I was becoming quite fond of these animals.
In the morning, after breakfast, everyone left. The house seemed empty. I went to visit Mom and Dad.
Over dinner, I told Mom and Dad about the gold coins in the safe. Dad said he knew a coin collector, and if I wanted, he would pass the word. I wanted to know the value of those coins, so I agreed to meet with this man. I suggested meeting this coming Saturday or Sunday. Dad felt Sunday would be best.
That evening at home, I took out one gold coin from the safe, placed it in an envelope, and put the envelope in the desk’s secret drawer. Sitting at the desk, I could open that drawer without anyone knowing about that particular drawer. My grandfathers were clever men.
The following Sunday, I had two surprises. Mom and Dad came for dinner. As usual, they brought a friend, who Dad said was a coin collector. We went to my office, where after opening the drawer, I showed him the coin. I watched as he took the coin, hefted in his hand, I assumed judging the weight. Look at it through a magnifying glass, “May I ask how you were able to obtain such a coin?”
“I inherited the coin from my great-grandfather. That’s his picture on that painting. That coin has been in my family for several generations.”
Looking at the picture, I made sure he saw my ring as well. “If you decide to sell this coin, I’ll offer you 2000 dollars.”
I must have looked shocked. What he didn’t know I had several more of those coins in the safe. Roughly at that value, I had almost a million dollars. “If I decide to sell that coin, I’ll give you the first option.”
He smiled. I invited him to stay for dinner, he politely refused, giving me his card, he left. When I walked into the kitchen, Dad asked me how it went.
“He offered to buy the coin for 2000 dollars.”
“Did you sell it?”
“No, but if I do, I told him I would give him the first option to purchase the coin.”
We had just sat down to eat when the boys walked in. “What happened?”
Mom, being mom, immediately set two plates on the table. The boys sat down. I noticed tears in their eyes. “Tell me”
“There was a party for all of the kids that graduated with us who were home for the holidays. The evening before, Tom and I exchanged rings. At the party, one of our close friends knew that Tom and I were boyfriends came up to us. He was feeling no pain, loudly said, ‘Well, it’s about time you two got married.’ We hadn’t got married. These are friendship rings, being drunk and knowing about us, he just made the assumption we got married. The word got back to my dad. We packed and left.”
“You’re home now, the eggs need to be collected, and the horses need a brushing. You can do that after eating.” That wasn’t true, Dad had collected the eggs, and we brushed the horses this morning. I wanted to convey that they are home and everything is okay.
Tom gets up, collects a bowl. Mom looks, “Where are you going?”
We all started to laugh, and the boys were home. Tom sat back down, and it was dinner as usual.
Dad asked about the wine, “We can go and test it, but I doubt it is finished fermenting.”
After dinner, Dad and I went to check. He wasn’t interested in the wine, “What happened?”
I knew what he meant, “Dad, the boys are gay. They have been together since high school. Brad’s father is what we call homophobic, and he hates gays. Someone must have told him. He probably accused the boys and threw Brad out of the house. Those boys are okay, they work hard, and I don’t think I could have accomplished as much as I have if it wasn’t for their help.”
“How long have you known?”
“From the first day, they showed up to repair the barn. They are good boys. What they do in their bedroom is their business. They pitch in here, they’ll do anything I ask. In my class, they are doing well. I have come to accept them as friends. I have no problems with people who are gay, I’m not, and I’m comfortable around them.”
I looked into Dad’s eyes as I said that. I saw the shine, and I relished the hug I got. I knew how he felt; I smiled. “Do you want to taste the wine?”
Laughing, “No, but show me how you know it isn’t ready.” I did.
The rest of the evening, Dad, the boys, and I talked about the garden. Well, they talked, I listened.