Friday, the boys and I went to check on The Peter Charles. Tony had the vents installed, that was probably the easiest of my list. I could see the longing in the boys eyes, they wanted to sail again.
The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was spent shopping for Christmas gifts. Glen and I with Father Damian, saw that the orphanage not only had a Thanksgiving dinner but also had a Christmas dinner. Glen and I had bought teddy bears for the girls and around the bear necks was a gold necklace. Father Damian made sure they got these gifts. There was one condition, Father Damian could not tell them where these gifts came from. Dinner was supplied by us and that we couldn’t hide. We had to work with the cooks to be sure we bought enough.
We had one more project, a trip to Scotland. I got Terry to cover for me, we left the day after Christmas and flew to Scotland. I arranged a bus to take us from the airport to the home of Shawn’s friend. We stayed in a castle, that was converted to a hotel.
Shawn stayed with his friend. It was fun, Shawn took us all over, telling us about this and that. We even made a trip to see the Loch Ness monster. When the village found out Shawn was back, he and his friend, Callum, where urged to put on a show. It didn’t take much for them to agree to do it. My boys watched and clapped when they were finished.
“Callum, I want to get Shawn a new pipe. Who is the best maker of pipes here.”
“Aye, that’d be Angus Campbell. He lives about six miles from here, you’ll need a car.”
I rented a car, Callum and I drove to the village where Mr. Campbell lived to get a new set of pipes for Shawn. “These are the best pipes you can find. Shawn will be surprised with these. We always wanted one of these, just never could afford it.”
I bought two, when Callum realized I bought one for him as well, he cried. “I thought that this would be a wish list item that I’d never afford. I don’t know how to thank you.”
“That’s easy, just say thank you.” Mr. Campbell smiled as he looked at Callum.
“Let’s have a tune, laddie.”
Callum took a deep breathe and played a tune. Some people who were walking by the shop, began to dance. We said goodbye, and headed back to Callum’s home.
When we got there, Callum began to play. There was a difference. His mom and dad came out to see who was playing. They were surprised to see Callum playing. “Where did you get the pipes lad?”
“Shawn’s dad bought these for me. The sound is beautiful Dad.”
Shawn came out, “Callum, when did you go and see Mr. Campbell. Those are his pipes.”
“We just got back, your dad bought them for me, cause I’m the best.” The look on Shawn’s face was such that I had to hand him his pipes. Yep a hug, and then two boys began to pipe. Soon the pub was full of people listening to the pipes as a few girls started dancing. A party full on.
The following day I met with Shawn’s financial custodians. I had the court documents that made Shawn my son. In order to avoid taxes, we agreed that the profit from these investments would be transferred to his accounts in the States but the principal would remain with them. We agreed on quarterly reports of all of his investments. “Shawn, are you okay with what we agreed upon?”
“Yes, Dad, they were trusted by Dad and Mom so I trust them as well.”
Sadly all good things come to an end. We did make arrangements for Callum to visit during the summer. Shawn was happy, he had renewed his friendship and knew they would see each other again, in a few months. He had a new set of pipes, what more could a Scottish lad ask for, friends and pipes. There was one thing he didn’t know, Callum helped me to pick out a set of plaids for him. That he would get in March on hisbirthday.
The holidays over, the boys retuned to school. The night before going back to school, we gave each boy ten dollars for lunch and snacks, as they had snack machines at this school. Not that I approved of the snacks and I suspected the boys saved their money instead of buying snacks. That was never discussed.
“Kev, we need a bigger car.”
“No, we need a bus.”
On our lunch time, we went to see George. “George, we need a vehicle short of a bus, what do you have?”
“How about this conversion van, it has three rows of seats, plus the driver seats. I can give you a good price on it. The previous owner, decided he preferred a pick-up truck that could carry a camper.”
We took it for a drive, “Glen, I like this.” We bought it, George was going to go over everything to be sure it was in good shape and fill the tank with gas.
The next day, we picked it up and drove it home. The kids saw it and where all over it. The television with the tape player was a big hit.
Friday, we picked them up at school. Paul and Rusty had to check it out as well.
Monday, before the kids left for school, David wanted to talk to us. “Dad, Pop I need more money for lunch. There’s a boy who sits with us, he’s on the free lunch program, and it isn’t good. They give him a sandwich of cheese and a carton of milk. We have been sharing our lunch with him.” I looked at Glen, he gave David a hug and slipped a ten dollar bill in his pocket.
“I still think David might be following Father Damian. I wonder how many children at their school is on this free lunch program. A cheese sandwich and a cartoon of milk doesn’t sound like much.”
“Let’s pick the kids up today and I’ll go ask the principal how many kids are on the free lunch program.”
The boys were glad to see us, they piled into the van as Glen went into the school. “Dad, that’s the boy who had a good lunch today.” The boy had hand-me-down clothes but they were clean, he had a smile on his face when he saw David. He came over and David introduced him to me. “Dad, this is Len.”
“Hi Len, would you like a ride home.” He would be on our fish delivery and I needed to find out where he lived. Glen came back and we were off. Len told us how to get to his home. I looked at Glen, his home was neat, but it needed a lot of repairs, painting be one of them. I noticed several homes in the area much like his.
That evening, “David, how did your project go?”
He looked confuse, for a second, then he smiled. “Dad, it was good.”
Later that evening, “I spoke to the principal, she said in the lower grades, there are eleven children on thefree lunch program. I asked how much does a lunch cost for a student. She said that the lunch ticket costs twenty-five dollars a week. I thought that was high, I asked if the lunch program was subsidized by the government. She said it wasn’t but I think she was lying. I’ll bet the staff takes food home. My project”
“Okay, your project. If you need help call Stewart.”After we had finished our project, we cuddled into a deep sleep.
Saturday we went to the Wharf for lunch. Steve was working, so the boys decided he needed help, as well as Mary. I just sat with the younger boys as we had our beers while waiting for lunch. The Captain’s table was missing Gus. “Uncle, you're short one today, where’s Gus?”
“He decided he was going to go out and fish today. I told him the water was pretty choppy, but he went anyway.”
“He must need the money. I thought he was financially secure, he has been fishing a long time, even longer than you.”
“I’m not sure, I know he has a family back east, maybe something happened there.”
“It’s just strange to not see him sitting here.”
David was wheeling the cart out, Mary came and sat down. “The boys threw me out of my kitchen.” Lunch was soup and fish sandwiches. I knew the Captains liked it, they asked for more soup.
“Mary, how is the inn concept coming?”
“We have booked the three empty rooms for next week-end. Some of the University students parents are booking. Seems they like the small town inn to the big hotels in the city.”
“Could you rent more if you had the rooms?”
“Yes, I think so. But I’ll need someone to clean the rooms.”
“I have someone who might be interested,Robby’s mother cleans in the city, she is close and I’m sure she would rather work here than in the city. Want to talk to her?”
“We can talk but I’m not sure I need her now. We have only three rooms.”
“I think before long you’ll have four more rooms.”
“I think Uncle is going to move, and I’ll bet the rest will follow.”
Life continues, we miss the week-end fishing but the time now allows us to concentrate on school and for me, my accounting. The office provided the quiet and peace I needed to focus.One thing I needed to do was to let the boys know their account balances and if they wanted to maintain it in a bank or invest some or part of it. I’ll start with Scott and worked my way down to Adam, being the last.
Scott was concerned about his college expenses. He didn’t know that his family had to contribute seven hundred dollars a month for his upkeep till he reached the age of eighteen. This money was deposited in his account plus what he made as a share of The Peter Charles. I had made certificate of shares, and each boy had one share in the boat. That accounted for the hundred-fifty dollars they got each time we went fishing.
I assure Scott his tuition and books are covered by Glen and I, “So Scott, you need to make a decision, do we leave this all in a bank account or do we invest some. What do you think?”
“Dad, I don’t really know, that’s a lot of money. What do you think?”
“My advice would be to invest twenty-five percent and leave the other seventy-five percent in the bank. We can always change the percentages later. How doesthat sound?”
I watched as he smiled, I think the amount of money he had in his account plus knowing he couldn’t lose, gave him a feeling of security. I gave him his share of The Peter Charles, he smiled, the background picture on the share was his painting of The Peter Charles that hung over our fireplace in the living room.
I went down the list, Sammy had quite a bit of wealth that he was unaware of, the money from the government that resulted in him losing three years of his life. I had invested forty percent, so I went over that with him and gave him his share of The Peter Charles.
It took me two days, the week-end, to go through each boy’s account. Even though the adoption of Steve, and Frankie wasn’t finalized it was close enough. Shawn was a special case in that he wasn’t an American citizen, even though he lived with his uncle for a short period of time. Papers were being processed to grant him citizenship, they weren’t finalized.
“Dad, when my father was alive, he and I use to discuss investments. I learn a lot from him and I’d like to control my investment portfolio.”
“Would you allow me to review it and make suggestions?”
“Sure, maybe I can help you with your investments.”
I chuckled to myself, this boy had confidence. “How are we going to resolve the issue, if you choose a high risk stock or a stock that is essentially not going anywhere, and I don’t want you to invest in it?”
“I was thinking, you’d do like my dad did, we sit and talk about the stock that I picked, if you didn’t agree, you would state your reasons and I’d take it from there.”
“What happens if I forbid you from investing in that stock?”
“I don’t think we’d get that far. I never did with my father and there were many times he didn’t think my choices weren’t good choices. I’d hope you had a strong reason and as such there would be no issue.”
I gave him a hug. His dad must have been a terrific man, I wasn’t sure I could live up to his reputation in the eyes of Shawn. My goal wasn’t to replace his parents in his eyes and heart, but to squeeze a little room for Glen and I. “Shawn, I think we couldgive it a go. Have you picked any stocks yet, I noticed you looking at the paper?”
“Yes, I like this one, it’s on a slow but steady climbing curve.”
I started to laugh, “Ithink that’s a good stock and you’re right, it’s on a slow climbing curve.”
“You know this company?”
“Yes, I have also invested in it. Shawn, I think I’m going to like having you around. Glen isn’t one for talking investments, so it looks like it will be you and me.”
“Dad, I need a space for everything, tracking stocks and doing some investigating.”
“Are you eyeing that space as you enter my office?”
“Yes, it would be perfect.”
“Okay, when we go to the city on Monday morning, you can come with us and we’ll pick out your furniture.”
With Charles and Peter it was little different because they had their money in the banks I bought. Charles and I talked about moving his money to a bank so he could earn interest on it. He wanted to discuss that with Gram, I thought that was a good idea. “Charles, when you do discuss this with Gram, be sure to include Peter.”
With the number of boys, it seemed like we were always having a birthday party.
Shawn’s birthday in March was special in that he got his plaids. He couldn’t wait to wear them, he took off to his room and came back dressed in his plaids with his pipes. The boys were dancing, I didn’t know this but Shawn taught them a few steps.
For the boys birthday, we went to the Wharf for their birthday dinner. So, Shawn played the pipes and the boys danced at the Wharf. Glen looked at me, “You know you’ll have to buy a set of plaids for all of the boys.”
“How about you?”
“No, they don’t wear any underwear under them. I’d be in terrible trouble with you around.”I laughed as we enter the Wharf. The boys put on a show for the people there. Steve came out and joined in the dance. It was decided that from now on, any birthday would be celebrated with the pipes and dancing.
April the weather seemed to break, I was thinking on starting to fish again at least while the kids were in school. I discussed it with Glen and he agreed we could start about mid-April. He said we should just make sure because April weather can turn nasty fairly quickly. I ordered the plaids for the boys with the help of Shawn. Callum was going to have them sent over, I gave my credit card information to his dad to cover the costs.
Easter, we colored eggs, how many I don’t know, it seemed like that was all we did for a week. Scott and Travis had to get fancy, smart artists. We made several eggs for the orphanage along with Easter baskets. We included a small gift in each basket andthe food for their Easter dinner that Glen had arranged with the cooks.