Getting to Know You

In the days that followed, six foot tall, Quila, became a frequent customer of the Hope Cafe. Her popularity grew also among her male admirers---Josh, Quirky Steve, and Hiram himself---though she remained tight-lipped concerning the Witherspoon property.

There is much more to it, than the sale of a small-town newspaper. Just yesterday, Quila dropped a couple of client names: a Mr. T Boone Pickens and a Mr. Warren Buffet, who were interested in investing.

Also, Witherspoon's land is much more spacious than previously reported. All in all, considering his wife's holdings, the land mass comes to forty square miles, including a couple of abandoned coal mines, suitable for conversion to natural gas.


Hold the Pickles

While her 'take out' hamburger was bought and brought to a sizzle, she inquired as to the Hope Cafe's policy on check cashing.

Faith, the waitress, responded with a polite but firm, "We leave that to the banks."

Just then, Hiram, somewhat winded, caught up to them. "Anything to accomodate the lady," and he reached for her pink check payable to CASH for $65.00. Her name, according to the instrument, was Tranquil Waters. She asked if she needed further ID.

"Not at all," said Hiram. "What do they call you?"

"I'm Quila, rhymes with Godzilla, but I'm not a complete monster, despite being with IRS for three years." She smiled easily.

Josh ran up. "Remember me?" he asked.

"Yes, I do," she responded. "You are the crabby, cabby."

They all laughed.


Meanwhile, quirky Steve had slipped back into the kitchen, where he watched Wolf Blitzer read the news on TV. The NBC/WSJ poll found that among Republican voters, on March 1st, Mike Huckabee led with 25%; Mitt Romney followed with 21%; Newt got 13%and Ms. Palin garnered 12%. Ron Paul came in with 6%. Sadly, Hiram was not counted.

According to quirky Steve, there is a simple solution for Hiram. Like Huckabee, he should author a best-seller and host his own weekly variety show.


Hiram: I'm in charge, here

Hiram also summoned from the kitchen, his quirky brother, Steve.

"One of you guys need to take Ms. CPA out to dinner. Take her to the Snapsville Country Club. She will get to talking, like females do and eureka, the cat will be out of the bag. I'll loan either of you my credt card." He slid the Visa across the table.

Josh and quirky Steve were both single so, no rules were bent or broken. Unless, Ms. CPA turned out to be married, which was unlikely.

Steve pointed to Josh. "He knows her, he should be first to date her."

"Yes, but I'm in negative territory, both with old Witherspoon and Ms. CPA."

Just then, seemingly on cue, Josh turned and looked in the direction of the counter.
He caught a glimpse, yes, now, more than a glimpse. It was HER! Standing under the 'To Go' sign. "Hiram, there she is!"

"Eureka! Eureka! Step aside, Josh, I'll handle this. Give me back my Visa. I'm in charge, here."



What's in a name?

Hiram decided that his campaign name 'Hiram' was old fashioned. He needed a one syllable moniker that conjured up the image of power, potency and pizazz.

Names like Mitt, Newt, Mike, or Jeb, would not do, because they were taken.

He turned to football and thought of great coaches; Bear, Knute and Vince that were also taken, as-well-as stale dated.

He thought of his own given name, the last syllable being 'Ram'.

Presidential candidate, Ram Hope.

Somehow, it just didn't fit. He would stick it out as Hiram.

The gossip at the Diner concerned the mysterious female pilot who identifide herself as a CPA, and was retained by the NY Times. She was stayiing at the guest-house of the Witherspoon estate.

It was not out of character for the NYT to purchase smaller newspapers. The Spartanburg, South Carolina, and the Ocala, Florida, papers are part of their chain.

But a teeny, tiny operation such as the sale of the Postscipt can hardly be worth the time and the trouble, plus the expense of having 'Miss CPA' examining it.

"Send for Josh Rugby", Hiram barked out, "Faith, get Josh."

The cabby arrived within eight minutes.

"Listen up, Josh and pay attention." Hiram was not amused. "Something very strange is going on, and it concerns your former employer---The Postscript---old man Witherspoon, The Times and that flighty girl."



A sick puppy

Meanwhile, back at the diner, Hiram had agreed, to give a class in political science to the interested parties. That would be Faith, Reverend Ross, Steve, the quirky brother, as well as Foster, the nephew. Just accidentally dropping by were Stormy, Clair Voyant, and Fern and Deana.

Hiram tapped a glass with a fork, cleared his throat and began:

"My friends, I've been asked numerous times about how serious I am in seeking the US Presidency.

"The answer is 'passionately' serious.

"Presidents are not elected according to the popular vote but by the terms and conditions of the Electoral College.

"And if, when the electoral votes are counted no candidate has a majority, the US House of Representatives chooses the President from the top three electoral vote-getters.

"So, the task before us is to hang on and in. To see that no candidate garners a majority of the electoral votes but that we are also in the top three."


Back to Snapsville International:

She was about 35, and nicely dressed. Josh was unaware whether she was pretty. He was more inclined to be sick at his stomach.

He inquired, "Are you a relative of Mr Witherspoon?"

"Heavens, no. I'm just a little old CPA. My client is the Times, the New York Times.
Seeing that they get their money's worth."

"Ah-ha, now this is beginning to make sense."

She had a key to the guest-house, whereupon Josh unloaded the luggage, collected his fee and excused himself, without incident, while the old man napped.



Snapsville International Airport

It may have been misnamed, but Snapsville does have an airport. And with a 6,000 foot runway. It is actually referred to as 'Snapsville International' and is left over from World War II, but there are no flights to or from foreign soil and never have been.

The last touch up with asphalt was 20 years ago and the runway potholes are worse than the roads in Pennsylvania. The airport is bleak. There is no hanger but only a 10' x 20' quonset hut that serves as an office and security.

Josh Rugby, former sports editor of the local paper, in his new position as a cab driver, periodically checks the airport for paying fares. On this day though he received a special request to meet a red and white Cessna at 2:00 PM, and to allow for considerable baggage. Although Josh was not late he found his customer cooling her heels at the plane.

Hi, I'm Josh. Let me help you with that luggage."

She smiled and nodded, "Witherspoon residence, please."

"Did you say um, Witherspoon? That is, Walter Witherspoon?"

How humiliating thought Josh. To be fired by Witherspoon and to be driving a cab to his home delivering luggage and the girl. Who is she, anyway---Amelia Earhart?


A chicken in your pot

At Tuesday's breakfast meeting, Josh Rugby, the formerly proud sports editor of the Snapsville Postscipt, was first to arrive, and with some significant news.

In a, so called, cost cutting move, Josh had been asked by the newspaper's management to clean out his desk, as well as two closets and three filing cabinets that he had inherited. A hold was also placed on his faithful Apple computer and his camera. Yes, in the words of the infamous 'Donald' he was indeed, fired.

The notification had occurred this past Friday after 4:30 PM. and was not entirely unexpected.

On Saturday, he hired Fern and Deana to organize and tidy his stuff and transport it to his small apartment.

Hiram was surprised at the news but not awed. He knew eccentric 'Ole Man Witherspoon' the 95-year old owner of the Postscript. In fact, the Hope Cafe was the venue for Mr. Walter Witherspoon's 88th birthday gala.

Back then, after a heaping bowl of Stormy's Rainy Days and Mondays banana pudding, it was nap time and Snapsville's most renowned journalist slept in a booth, on the premises for an hour.

As a young cub reporter, Witherspoon, had covered the Hoover inauguration, in January, 1929. Yes, that's Herbert Clark Hoover, the 31st President.

Widely attributed to Hoover was the slogan, "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." This was to show an image of prosperity. Unfortunately, the image was short-lived as the stock market crashed in October, 1929.

Yet, Hiram and Josh admired Hoover. Hoover attempted to refuse his Presidential salary and wound up donating it to charity. Also, the Inauguration was based on a Bible verse from Proverbs:

Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law,
happy is he.

What about Josh? For now, he would drive a cab.