A few years ago, my wife and I were in Oklahoma to remodel a house we owned on some acreage. Much work needed to be done. There was an enormous room that could be converted into two good sized bedrooms. We needed to remodel one of the bathrooms and completely redo the kitchen – new cabinets, new hot water heater, and on and on.
The house is in a thinly populated area, with few close neighbors. We were quite surprised one day when a man walked into the house and started watching our efforts. He made suggestions on how we might accomplish a task more easily.
After awhile, he asked, “Are you staying here at night?”
It was clear no one was staying in this house at night. There was no furniture, and it was certainly not fit for sleeping. I said, no, we were staying in a nearby motel.
He looked around at our tools and asked, “Do you leave your tools here at night?”
This gave me pause. Why did he want to know about our tools? Finally I said we locked the place up when we left, trying to make it sound like it was secure. It wasn’t all that secure.
He acknowledged my statement, turned around and disappeared.
We didn’t know what to think. We had come from Texas in a small Ranger pickup. Space didn’t allow for many tools, and certainly nothing large. Still, there were several power tools that would be a little expensive to replace.
About thirty minutes later, the man walked in again. “My name is Gary. If you will really lock things up tight, I’ve got some power tools that will make your job easier.” He produced a nail gun with various attachments for heavy work or trim work. He offered other tools to make the installation of door hardware easier, faster, and more professionally done.
He said he wouldn’t always be around to either deliver or take back the tools, so he would leave them in my care.
Over the next few weeks, he popped in frequently, always with some sound advice, usually with other tools. And when we were ready to paint the outside, he provided a professional paint sprayer and hoses.
Now, years later, we are still good friends with Gary.
In m y newest novel, A Silver Medallion, a young Mexican walks into Crystal Moore’s life, as unexpected as Gary was to us. But in my novel, it is the young woman who needs help. She has been a slave in modern day Texas, held, not by chains, but by threats to kill her husband still in Mexico. By accident, she learns her husband has died, so she escapes. She tells Crystal of another woman held slave by threats to kill her two children left in Mexico.
Crystal lost her parents when she was seven. She identifies with the plight of the two young girls in Mexico, held captive, not knowing if their mother was alive or not. Crystal knows the woman will never escape as long as her children are held hostage.
The only way to free the mother is to first rescue the children. Crystal tries to put this out of her mind. It is not her problem. But her conscience will not allow that. After many sleepless nights, Crystal realizes she must travel to Mexico and try to rescue the girls. Only then can she help the mother escape.
When someone walks into your life, you will be affected, one way or another. Expect it. Make the most of it. It is usually easier to ignore the person. But look on it as an opportunity. It could be an important one.
James R. Callan, 2017