Up to this point in my adult life, my whereabouts was orchestrated by my occupation. My vocation has been as a geologist. For the last sixteen years, my job had me prospecting in the wilds of Alaska and the Yukon Territories in Canada. During my tenure, I was responsible for two notable claims; both are being developed. The diamond drilling has confirmed my findings, resulting in shafts being constructed. When both developments offered shares for purchase, I went with my gut feeling and invested heavily in both mines. Based on my experience, and the size of the claims, I calculated what the yields would be per ton, based on the core samples from the diamond drilling and, based on that, I invested heavily. Working in the North, saving money wasn't difficult; my vices didn't cost much, the occasional lottery ticket purchased online and the occasional game of poker, for which I had a natural gift.
Now, I'm at the point of packing it in; my legs, knees and ankles are giving out, not a good thing in my profession. The job requires good footing, considering all the climbing and walking required.
Over time, the appreciation of my investments not only surprised me, but the company's management as well. As more supportive evidence became available, due to underground drift development, the stock value climbed to heights not imagined by the so-called experts. The stock prices climbed steadily, to a point where the stock has split three times. Because of that, combined with my sizable bank account and other investments, I will be leaving the North very comfortably.
As I climb on board my last plane ride from the North, on paper I'm a rich man. Once back in the States I will slowly start divesting my portfolio into cash and blue chip stocks. If my calculations are correct, I can live a very comfortable life without working again. It is a good feeling.
Some forty years ago, I was a glint in my dad's eye. He past the glint to my mom, and I am the result. I had a very loving family who supported me until I was about to graduate; unfortunately, a freak accident took both of their lives. Having no other family, for my parents had no living siblings; it was easy to accept a very lucrative offer from a mining company located in Alaska. That commitment took me away from all the memories of my youth and the memories of losing my parents. It was a new start to a new life; but, now I am back in Cranston.
A bit about me: my name is Grant W. Dow, forty, single, maybe six-one, currently one hundred eighty-two pounds, very lean, the rigors of life in the far North kept me in shape. While in the North, everybody's calorie intake is high; but, with the cold and the physical demands of the job, what you took in was burnt off. Now out of that part of my life, I am going to have to be cautious of my diet.
When my plane touched down at O'Hare, I knew it was a new beginning for me. With my worldly possessions in three suitcases, I would have to start my new life from scratch. Fortunately, I was able to book a ticket on the train that would put me in Cranston about six in the afternoon, enough time to rent a vehicle and find a hotel/motel for the night. Motel Six had a room for the night. My next step was a good meal; then, back to the motel, a shower and bed. It has been a very long gruelling day.
Daybreak is the shits! It is raining and windy. My priorities are: first, a good breakfast; then, a look-see at the local auto dealers. I need reliable transportation; a good sized vehicle or, maybe, one of those large pickups with four doors. And finally, I am going to require permanent digs.
A small family restaurant took care of my breakfast; the day looks better already! The weather is still crappy. The rain has stopped for the time being, but the wind creates a wind chill that seems to penetrate my poor old bones.
Cranston has dealers representing all the major car manufactures; so, finding the right vehicle shouldn't be a problem. When the waitress came with a coffee refill, she also gave me a copy of the morning paper: the 'Cranston Herald.' It provides page after page of possible transport. One that caught my eye was a monster Dodge Ram. It was two years old, but the list of options was endless, and it only had 17,000 miles on it, not bad for being nearly two years old. I am guessing some little old lady drove it to church every Sunday. After paying my bill, and leaving a sizable tip, I head out into the brisk morning air. Hell, it is cold! I should have dressed in my work clothes; they were for warmth and comfort, not fashion. Before I went to look at the advertised Ram, I visited four dealers; all had a great selection, but that Ram was set in my mind. Finally, I rolled into the dealer's, lot. The Ram was their featured vehicle, sitting in front on a raised pedestal. Parking in front of it, I started my inspection. The bed of the truck had very few scratches on it; which had me wondering, maybe a little old lady did own it. Usually, it doesn't matter how careful you are, there are all kinds of scratches and bumps. Then it dawned on me: a bed liner! Perhaps the dealer removed it.
"Howdy, stranger! That Ram represents good value for the price."
My thoughts about that comment? Bullshit! Every vehicle has good value; it is part of the sales pitch. There is sufficient room to walk beside the body of the truck to the doors; opening it, the smell of a "new car" hits me. The interior is spotless. The dash is loaded with dials and a massive sound system, with a C.D. player, fills the center of the dash.
"Can I interest you in a test drive? That is the actual mileage; we have the service records for the vehicle since it was purchased here."
"Who owned it?"
"Mr. Grace, he bought for his wife who had dreams of going camping with her daughter; but, she forgot to ask her daughter about the camping. The answer to sleeping on the ground in a tent with the bugs was a resounding NO! So, the truck's life was driving the daughter back and forth to collage on the weekend; no camping. Mr. Grace has a Charger, and was not interested in driving this monster. He traded this in for a compact for his daughter. Thus, it is here for sale."
The long and the short of the conversation is I bought the Ram. Oliver, the salesman, followed me to the rental depot where I dropped off the rental. It took another three hours to: first, arrange insurance; then, transfer the title and get plates. I am now the proud owner of a 2014 Ram 1500, loaded to the eyeballs. The only thing I don't like is the sun roof.
It is midafternoon, too late for looking at accommodations; my stomach tells me it has been a long time since breakfast. At the same restaurant where I had breakfast, I enjoy a satisfying meal. Now with a fresh coffee, I peruse the real estate/rental section of the Cranston Herald.
My social life has been non-existent. Hell, it was non-existent when I was a youngster, in high school, and nothing changed while attending college. You must remember the stag line at all dances, right? Where all the males stood looking stupid, wondering what to do next? Then, when looking at the available young ladies, some flirted with their eyes. When a young lady looked at me, I became tongue tied. When I did speak, it was embarrassing. I even tried dancing, another disaster. Two left, lead-weighted feet, held together with a not-so-coordinated body. At my graduation, my date was my clone from the female stag line. She couldn't get a date either. I don't think we said five words to each other. When the function ended, we shook hands; that was the only physical contact we had the whole evening!
In the North, it was just as bad as there are very few women stupid enough to live the life I did. One thing I was successful at was poker. I played in some very high stakes games, and always came out ahead. The purchase of the truck didn't put a dent in my winnings. The God of cards be praised!
There are numerous properties for sale in Cranston which, sort of, surprised me. The selection is very diversified: residential and a good selection of rural. My choice is rural; as mentioned, I am not a very social person. Circling a number of prospects in the real estate section, I purchase a map at the counter and decide to take a look at a couple. Three were in town, and two were on the outskirts of town. The three in town were good-looking units, but the lots are so small. I am sure if I pissed out the side windows, I would be watering the neighbor's flowers.
It's late, time to call it a day. Before retiring, I read the rest of the newspaper. It appears Cranston is having an employment boom. There are two pages of 'Help Wanted Ads.' Skimming through them, one tweaks my interest: the position for an assistant in the geology department. Something to put on the back burner of my mind; once I have my housing taken care of, it could be something worth looking into, just to keep busy.
This morning is much better than yesterday; the sun is shining, no wind, so you can feel the warmth of the sun. With another tasty breakfast under my belt, I climb into the truck and check the map for the first rural property on my list.
What a disappointment! The place is a rundown shack. I was sure, if I stayed long enough, that I would see Jed Clampett, Jethro and grannie coming down the driveway. The 'for sale' sign has a banner on it declaring 'Reduced Price.' Whoopee shit! The next property is on the other side of the city. It is a great day for driving.
.... There is more of this story ...