That evening I balanced my books. My reserves were getting a little too low. Thinking about the possibility of selling one of the gold coins, I called the coin collector, who offered 2000 dollars for the coin. When he answered the phone, I told him who I was and remind him of the gold coin. I told him I was willing to sell it to him for 2000 dollars. The way he was talking, I think I made his day. We arranged to meet on Monday evening.
Sunday, Mom and Dad came over. I told Dad about selling the gold coin to his friend. “He’s a nice guy. Some collectors like to lower the price when they buy and raise the price when they sell. Whatever he pays you, it’ll be a fair price.”
I understood what Dad meant. I heard about these types of collectors. I walked with Dad to the barn, and I pointed out the trees and the paddock. He asked why the pump. I told him that we piped the stream into a tank, now we have water for the horses and chickens. He wondered how the healing system was working. So I showed him the hut where the furnace was installed. “It doesn’t put out enough heat to bring the temperature above 60. The boys said that was high enough for the horses.”
“How are your grapes?”
Waking toward the grapevines, “I think I’ll have a good crop this year. I read about trimming the vines to maximize the production of grapes. So I tried it. I’ll know this fall when I harvest them for wine.”
“You made some wine from last year, didn’t you?”
“Yes, when we go back to the house, I’ll let you taste it. I think it is good.” I felt Pa patting me on my back.
“How many salami and sausages did you make?”
“Uncle Angelo gave me a half of a pig and a half of a calf. I got several salamis, but not as many sausages. I cheated a little and added some veal to the pork for sausage.”
Walking toward the house, “I see your garden looks in good shape.”
“Yes, the boys have fertilized it with horse manure. They said that we would have a good crop, and we should expect a larger crop size. I’m not sure about that, but the plants look healthy.”
“What are those?”
“Potatoes, the boys wanted to try and see what they could harvest. Pa never bothered with many root vegetables. The beans, cucumbers, and potatoes will be new.”
Walking into the kitchen, “Where are the boys?”
“Probably in their apartment.”
“I’ll go and check. It looks like dinner is almost ready.”
Walking up the stairs to the apartment, I could hear them.
“Tom, what are we going to do for spring break. It would be nice to get away by ourselves.”
“Yes, we can’t go home. I still don’t understand why our parents are so pigheaded. We can’t help that we fell in love. It hurts to know they don’t want anything to do with us. I worked hard on our farm knowing that Dad didn’t have to work as hard.”
“You’re not the only one. I’m not sure who is going to run that thresher this year. It’s too big for Dad to handle. Jim is too young, and he’s going to have to hire someone.”
“They will miss us when it comes time for planting and harvesting.”
‘Yes, but they will never admit it.”
I listen to their discussion. It wasn’t right. It seems foolish when you realize their parents will have to pay for the work these boys did. I stomp as I took the last few steps.
“I came to tell you dinner is ready.”
“We’ll come as soon as we wash up.”
“Brad, do you think he heard us?”
“Don’t know. He knows we are gay and in love with each other. I’m sure he supports us. We have a place to live, and he feeds us. I don’t mind doing the work, and it isn’t that hard.”
Entering the kitchen, “The boys will be here as soon as they wash up. Dad, let’s go and taste my wine while we wait for them.”
Walking into the wine cellar, I took an empty bottle and filled it with the wine I made. “Tony, is this Pa’s wine?”
“No, that barrel is Pa’s. This one is mine. Pa’s wine is now vinegar. I think Mom will use it in her salad tonight.”
“Your sausage looks good.”
“I’ll give you some to take home. I guess you want a salami as well.”
“Well, if you insist.”
Walking into the kitchen laughing, Mom looked at us. “That wine must be pretty strong with the way you both are acting.”
“No, we didn’t drink any wine. This bottle has my wine in it. Did you use the wine vinegar?”
“Yes, I tasted it. It has a nice flavor.”
“If you want some, you can have it. I have a whole barrel of it.”
Mom had the tables set. I was pouring the wine into the glasses when the boys came into the kitchen.
Mom gave them a hug and a kiss on their cheeks. I saw the moist eyes of two young men. Remembering what I heard, I’m sure they were thinking about their mother.
Mom is an excellent cook, and I think she could make dry bread taste like cake. The one thing I noticed with the boys, there are never any leftovers.
Dinner conversation revolved around the garden, the horses, and what the boys and I would do for spring break. I told them I’d be staying home and will take care of the horses and chickens. The boys didn’t know what they were going to do.
“Since you are history majors, maybe a historical trip might be nice. You could visit places where history was made, like Gettysburg, Washington D.C., I’m sure if you plan a trip based on history, it’ll be fun.”
You could see the lights going on in their heads. Then the gloom, “That would be nice, but we don’t have that much money.”
“You wouldn’t need much. You could get camping gear and camp out. I’ll buy some camping gear you can use. This summer, I might like to go camping. This way, I’ll have the gear.”
The boys looked at each other, and you could see the gears grinding away. Mom patted me on the head as she passed my chair. Dad just smiled.
From that point on, dinner was great, the food was good, as usual. I had to fill another bottle of wine. I suggested Mom and Dad spend the night. I didn’t want them driving home after drinking several glasses of wine.
The Monday before the start of Spring Break, I went online and bought a camping outfit. Tent, propane stove, an extra tank of propane, air mattress, sleeping bags, cooler, folding chairs, lanterns. The equipment arrived that Friday. I put it in my office.
As I left the University on the last Friday before Spring Break, I was thinking about how surprised the boys will be with the camping equipment. That evening at dinner, “Have you boys decided what you will be doing the next two weeks?”
“We can’t go home, that’s for sure.”
“Where are your friends going?”
“I think most of them said they were going home. A few said they were going to head south and spend time on the beaches.”
“Have you thought about doing that?”
“Tony, we’re farm boys. We have swum in creeks and ponds. We got sunburned in the summer working the fields. We’re not into girls, and we are committed to each other.”
“Surely there must be someplace where you could go and enjoy the change of scenery. Maybe go hiking in the mountains. I heard there are some nice hiking trails in the Allegheny Mountains. You could even camp out.”
Tom looked at Brad, wiggled his eyebrows. “It would have to be day trips. We don’t have camping equipment.”
“If you want to go, I could lend you my equipment.”
“I didn’t know you had any camping equipment. There isn’t any in the storage room.”
Walking into my office, I showed the boys the equipment. They smiled as they examined the equipment. They had to check out the tent. I think they took it to the barn and slept in it that night.
The next morning, after breakfast, I handed them a box that I had packed the night before. Besides the food, there were two bottles of my wine. “There is enough food here to last five days. I have included a book about living in the wild. It will tell you what you can find in the woods that is eatable. Drive carefully, have fun.”
I wasn’t sure I could have accomplished as much as we did without the boys. I was anxious to hear about their adventure.