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  • The Debt


    The Debt.

    The homestead farm Bill Mackie worked sunk deeper into debt;
    His animals and crops produced, he took cash in and yet,
    Bill's carefree ways of spending gain meant bills he couldn't pay;
    His creditors closed in like wolves, Bill's farm their lawful prey.

    Shocked into action by the threat Bill came to me in tears,
    “My father and his father too worked this old farm for years.”
    “I knew them both, I owe them both,” I said. “They both helped me.
    I'll loan you what you need — But, Bill, your creditor I'll be.”

    “You're bound to repay every month whatever we agree.
    If you default, our contract states, the land will fall to me.
    I'm your last chance, your only hope and I mean you no harm.
    But one missed payment and you're out. I will possess your farm.”

    I knew that no one else would help. I had Bill in a bind.
    I told him this was business, don't reckon I'd be kind.
    Although I'm just a bachelor without a son and heir,
    “I like your farm,” I said to Bill. “I'd like to move in there.”

    In tears, Bill tried to tell me that the interest was too high.
    “You're stuck! The banks won't touch you, the interest stays,” said I.
    “Work hard and make the payments, every month the full amount.
    Or you'll be out and I'll be in, my friendship doesn't count.”

    Bill never spoke to me again for five long bitter years.
    Without a word, at each month's end, he paid without arrears.
    He spoke to others, saying of me, “He'll never get my land.
    This is my family's homestead. He doesn't understand.”

    Five of the seven years went by. I thought that I would win.
    Bill's farm machines no more were changed each Spring at Bill's mere whim.
    The fancy spending? That all stopped; the needless wastage ceased.
    And Bill himself seemed taller, as his profit line increased.

    The contract read that each year end the balance could be paid.
    Bill came, two years before the time, and on my table laid
    The full amount to clear the debt, to set his homestead free.
    I had to sign the farm's release. Then Bill lit into me.

    “You call yourself my father's friend? Thank God my Dad can't see
    What kind of friend you really are, who'd take his farm from me.
    I've worked! I've said 'No' to myself; I've watched my spending, too.
    These past five years, I've had one goal - to keep the farm from you.

    “Aye, Bill, it seems you've won,” said I. “You've changed, that's clear to me
    I wish your Dad could see you now. How proud of you he'd be.”
    I gave back all Bill's interest. He hugged me as he cried,
    “I understand! You've led me back to self-respect and pride.”

    We talked about the old days then; of folks and days gone by,
    We reminisced, drank home-made wine and let the hours fly
    We're best of friends now, Bill and me. He treats me like a Dad,
    And I consider Bill to be the son I never had.
    Last edited by Ed Hughes Inverness; 01-18-2015, 03:54 PM. Reason: Sloppy reading missed sloppy cadence.

  • #2
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