I was recently asked why I own so many tools. I sell them to those who need them and I generally like them. I have spent the majority of my life dirt poor. My coin went to purchase cognac and little else. My Mrs. Mina earned and saved much coin during the war. Enough that we were able to easily purchase the homestead my Inn stands upon. A few months of hard labor built a barn and three story building used as a tavern, Inn and rooming house. We are at the junction of two roads that service the area and my failure to grossly water down the drinks I serve and the superb food the lovely Mrs. Mina serves has made us a fairly popular stop.
My attitude towards those I view as worthy has also garnered us much repeat business. I am an honest sort of scum and have been accused of being an honorable sort of thief. I do not steal from those who cannot afford the loss. I do not and have never harmed a woman or child. The neighbors say I have a reputation of being kind to children and those in need. Every once in while my good nature is rewarded with a simple thank you.
A year or so after we got the Inn going a young family moved onto a homestead just up the road. A lovely wife and husband with two very fetching young girls. Their first winter was a hard one and in the spring they decided they would not suffer such a winter again. The two girls traded their cleaning skills for a pair of axes and a couple of good wood saws. I will admit I took a shine to the two girls. They were pretty and eager to help Mina and I in cleaning the place so that they might pay for the tools they traded for.
The younger of the two also had a real interest in learning to shoot with the idea that she might bring food to the table. I sold her a nice squirrel rifle and she asked me to teach her how to use it. She proved to be a rare fine shot taking many a squirrel in the eye at fifty paces with it. She is in fact a far better shot than I.
Now a year ago the two girls chose to allow young men to court them. As their father has been away at the lumber camps I took it upon myself to give the young men that chose to court them the “talk” usually reserved for that of a father to a perspective son in law. I made it very clear to the young suitors that should any harm befall these young ladies that I would be quite put out. I promised that any discomfort inflicted upon those girls would be returned to them ten fold. After all a happy wife leads to a longer life.
At the dual wedding I gave a nice cash gift to help them get set and Mina provided a nicely set blanket for each. I was surprised to receive a gift from them as well. The youngest gave me an ivory folding rule and the oldest a small horned plane. I have only rarely received gifts of thanks in my life and these are indeed precious ones. They shall hold a place of honor in my tool chest.