A Visit with The Judge
"I have about one hundred and fifty acres with water but some of it won't grow weeds worth diddly. It's hard for a woman to get good help. The Negroes are scared to work for a single woman and the whites keep tryin' to catch me in the barn. Mostly I'm just makin' it even. I pay a little every year on the debt to the bank, but it wants me to sell the best part."
"How much do you owe, Mrs. Langdon?"
"The note is for $5,120 but I've got it down to $2,700 but I just don't know if I can make the payment this year."
"What do they want the land for, Mrs. Langdon?"
"The part they want grows good but is up close to where the government says they are going to build a big something or other and...."
"It seems to me, Mrs. Langdon, that you ought to hold the land and sell it to the government yourself and pay off the debt. If you need a short term loan there shouldn't be any problem with that because I know.."
She jumped up and hit his desk with a fist. "Damn, Damn, Damn! People told me you'd understand and you don't see it at all. I don't want to sell the land! I want to live there and farm it the best I can."
-- The memory of that moment moved his leg. He swung it over the edge of the sofa and capped the bottle.
"I don't think I understand, Mrs. Langdon."
"Of course you don't. I don't think you are very smart at all, Mr. Harland. By myself I can't grow dandelions, but that land has been in my family for five generations and I'll be goddamned if I am going to give it to people who don't feel for the land."
-- Old Tennessee Granddaddy's love of the land. Somethin' here I don't know but got to know.
"Be patient with me, Mrs. Langdon. This land is in your name and not owned by your husband?"
She looked at him and smiled. Looked down and creased a pleat in her skirt between two fingernails. "You really don't know, do you, Mr. -"
"Mrs. Langdon, I have been dumb, but not quite dumb like I am dumb right now."
"I have always owned the land, Mr. Harland. My husband used it for credit and when he died five years ago left me with some good memories and no crops and the debt. The memories are gone but the bank keeps reminding me of the debt."
Time for a fatuous remark. "You need some help."
"Maybe what I heard about you was right after all, Mr. Harland. How much would that kind of help cost me?"
They both laughed.
"Let me worry on this. Maybe I could get some of my friends to put you in a crop this year."
"How much would that cost me? Including your help, of course."
"One thing at a time, Mrs. Langdon. You let me wander a bit on this and you come back a week today."
"Thank you, Mr. Harland." She arose without swirling her skirt and left as directly as she had arrived.
The secretary peeped around the door. "What's all that?"
"Damned if I know, Marlene. But make her an appointment down a week, and if I find out maybe I'll buy you a drink."
Marsh was fully aware that Marlene was smiling bad and appreciated that she was an enticing bundle, but he had his mind on being a good lawyer. Screwing your secretary was not the best way to get the sympathy of the court, let alone the barber or the farmers.
Table of Contents
- Maggie and Mr. Hank
- The Reverend
- Squalls Along the Flight Line
- Flying Home to Church
- A Visit with The Judge
- Monday Morning With The Admiral
- Into the Dining Room
- On Toward Walking the Streets
- Glimpses of An Election
- The Dream and The Reality of Violence
- The Admiral Loses More Than a Few Good Men
- Down That Lonesome Road