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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

THE RACER Chapter 3

Young Widow Consoling Widower
Over the last few months Millie's mother would bring over some food for Abel and would hold a one sided conversation with him.  She did all the talking, and him just sitting there.  

She didn't know if he heard anything she said or not but she acted as if he did and was answering her.  
She though to herself, “Just sitting and being with someone should help heal their broken heart.”

Many people had lost love ones, had buried them and moved on, but Abel seemed to be sinking deeper into a state of hopelessness.  Only now and then did a glimmer of light seem to appear when visitor would show up.

Once the word got out that Abel might be making some improvement other people began to come by and leave some food for him.

As it happened there were some new young widows available due to the influenza sickness that went through the area. 
However if Abel saw the young widows coming, and he had time, he would retreat back into the woods behind his house and stay there until they had left.

The younger widows finally gave up on him and quit coming for it was plain that he wasn't interested in getting a new wife.  But several of the older ones shall we say - - kept their options open somewhat longer.

Finally the only widows who came by were what was referred to as being, “A Mother in Israel.”  These women were pious faithful women who ministered to the needs of hurting people out of kindness.

The man, John who had the place next to Abel came by one day and spoke to him saying, "I need some work done on my car.  I don't have any money but will give you one of my small pigs in exchange for fixing it.”

Abel didn't answer but raised the hood, and after staring at the motor he asked, “What won't it do?”  

John said, “It won’t start."

Abel got in the car and after some time he said, “It is the switch that needs replacing.”  

Abel went out back and found an old switch that he thought would work and soon had the car up and running.”

While working on the car he noticed a small boy about three years old in the back seat watching him.

It surprised Abel, when the boy spoke up and said, “I'm a racer.”

Abel just stared at the boy when the father said, “Don't pay him, no mind for he says that to everyone.”  He went on to say, “My boy, Lucas saw some cars racing down at the picture show and ever since then, he says he wants to be a race car driver.

As Abel looked at the young boy he had a wave of emotion come over him as he thought back to the time when he and Millie had talked about having children, and the reality once again set in that it would never happen.

Able started the car and went back into his house without answering John.

courtesy free clip art
That evening John and Lucas (his boy) brought the pig over and put it the pen out back.  They gave it some water, a little food and went home.

The next morning Abel saw the pig and it reminded him of last year when he and Millie had filled their smoke house with the hogs they had raised and killed.  The hams were still hanging for he had not used them.

Abel had run out of money and by now people quit coming by leaving him food and things so he had to do something to earn some money.

Going back to work at the mill was not an option he wanted to consider, at least not yet so he began to work on more cars when people would come by.

The boy, Lucas would come over when there was a car being worked on and watch.

He would always introduce himself as being, Lucas, the racer.

Since Abel didn't have a regular garage to work on the cars, people began to call him "Shade tree" for he worked on the cars under a large tree out back.

As the year wore on Abel began to get a collection of old cars that he parked in the rear.  
Either people didn't have the money to fix them or it was cheaper to buy another car and they would just give it to Abel.
Every so often Abel would have enough odd parts to put together a car, and he would sell the car for some extra cash.

Just about every day now Lucas would come over and spend time with Abel. His mother always knew where to find him and as time went by he became a lot of company for Abel.

Lucas liked to get in the old cars and pretend he was racing them.  Abel would tease him by saying, “Watch out for snakes,” and Lucas would say back to him, “Watch for snakes,” and they would laugh.

Actually they had only found one snake in the field back there and it was a Gopher snake which they left alone to catch small varmints.

Over the next couple of years Abel had made some new friends as well as renewing relationships with old people he knew.  
While he was getting back to his old self he still couldn't get pass the point where he lost Millie and it appeared he was what was called, “A one woman man for life.”  

His former mother-in-law talked to him about that and tried to get him to seek out a new wife and even went so far as to suggest some available girls

But Abel still felt bonded to Millie, and it seemed that was the way it was going to continue.

Able and his Mother- in law had remained the best of friends.  She considered him to be her boy for she always wanted a son.  He had been around so much with Millie as they grew up it was hard not to feel he was hers.

People were always dropping off unwanted possessions for Abel; furniture that needed fixing, some canned goods they had made extra for him, chickens and about anything else you could mention.

Then one day there showed up a hound dog pup that the boy Lucas took a liking to.

If it hadn't been for little Lucas, Abel would of found another home for it but it looked like the hound was there to stay.
It had been a long trip out of the depression Abel had sank into, and if it hadn't been for the way things turned out, he might never have recovered.

Who could stay in that depressed mental state with the boy Lucas around and his optimistic outlook on life at his tender age?

One welcome piece of equipment that showed up one day, was a truck that had been replaced with a new one, by a local company and they had no use for the old one.

Abel had done the owner a favor and they never forgot it and that was the reason he gave it to Abel.

Time had passed and Lucas was almost six years old now. In the fall he would go to school.

Racer for Lucas
Meanwhile Lucas had found out about kids racing un-powered cars, and that was all he could think of.

He urged his dad to find out all the particulars and was sure if he could enter, he would win.  
As it turned out it was called “The soap box derby.”

In order to stop his whining, his dad John and Abel said they would try to build him a "Race Car" for the event if he would shut up the belly aching.

The last Christmas Lucas got a set of wrenches of his own and was bound and determined to take everything on Abel's place apart.

They gave him a list of things to strip off the cars, and that kept him out of Abel's way as he worked during the day.

By using the sheet metal and other parts they gleaned from the old autos they finally built a poor representation of what a soap box racer should be.

To be Continued

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