Ever and Always
Chapter 17: Lets Make a Deal June 2022

Copyright© 2015 by Banadin

"Sorry we took so long, we would like to make an offer," Rick said.

Hope asked, "On which property?"

"Oh, the both of them," Rick replied, "a million four fifty on the King Creek land, and a million and a quarter on the north lot." Thus the two northern-most farms off of East Valley Road were renamed.

Hope shook herself and told them she thought that would work. As they were driving back to Hope's home office, they had to ask her to slow down three times.

She had a hard time keeping her mind on the road. She had obtained both listings and was now selling them. That calculated out as her share to be over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, more than she had made in the last five years. It was not even lunch time yet!

They got to Hope's home in Pikeville in less than half the time it took to get to the farms. Now that they had made their decision to proceed, Rick and Marsha were almost as excited as Hope. Almost was the key word as they kept asking her to slow down.

This was ironic as in her younger days Marsha had been known to drive over ninety miles an hour on road rallies on regular highways that weren't limited access.

They shared with Hope that their plan was to build a new house near the property line of the north lot and King Creek farm. They intended to file with the county commissioners to re-deed the land as one plat for tax purposes. This would save them some money and of course the name would be King Creek Ranch.

When Hope asked why Ranch and not Farm, Rick told her that Ranch just sounded cooler than Farm.

Hope thought, "For old people they sure are lively." Hope's home was a nice three-bedroom brick house. She had an office set up in one of the bedrooms. When they went into the office, they were both distracted by a whirring sound. Looking in the corner, they saw a cage with two Guinea pigs, one of the pigs was using the wheel at a furious rate.

Hope laughed, "That is Cookie; she gets very active when someone comes into the room. I think she is trying to get away."

"They are cute," said Marsha.

"I have had them for a long time now; they are very old for Guinea pigs."

While Hope was fond of her Guinea pigs, she also remembered why they were here. It took over an hour to fill out the paperwork. Along the way, she was thrilled to hear that these were to be cash sales.

She said, "The hunting club will be glad to get this wound up as they have not used King Creek for several years. The Johnsons will be ecstatic to sell their property; they have wanted to move to North Carolina to be nearer their grandchildren.

Your building a new house will be a boost for us locally. I don't know how much money it will bring to the area, but we have been going downhill for so long that any building will be taken as a positive sign. The only new people who have moved here in years are that survivalist group south of town."

This last statement caught Rick's attention.

What is this about a survivalist group," he asked?

Hope realized she may have put her foot in it, so she immediately downplayed the group.

"We call them that, it's actually a group of families that have bought a farm. They use it mostly during the summer as a vacation spot for their families. They have set up a shooting range for the guys, and seem to haul in a lot of goods, including food. I guess they would be more preppers than survivalists."

"They might be worth getting to know," mused Rick.

They tend to keep to themselves, but then since they are only here during the summer their kids don't go to the local schools, and they aren't church goers, so they don't have many opportunities to meet people," replied Hope.

The conversation turned to the logistics of closing and transfer of funds if their offers were accepted. Hope felt that she had seen a clue as to why Rick and Marsha wanted to move to this area. They were nice people and had the money so why not?

Besides for this amount of commission, she would probably broker a deal for the devil if he showed up. They signed the last papers. Hope started with her phone calls to let the Johnsons and her contact at the gun club know there were offers on the properties. She let both parties know that the buyers had two properties in mind, to push them along.

The Johnsons were joyous to hear from Hope and told her they would be glad to look at any offer she had. The gun club representative had to present it to their Board of Directors, but he felt they probably would accept the offer.

Hope made an appointment with the Johnsons for later that day for them to review the offer. She scanned and emailed the gun clubs paperwork to them.

Her contact told her he would call a special meeting of the Board as soon as possible as they did not want to miss this opportunity to sell.

Rick and Marsha returned to the hotel while Hope drove out to the Johnsons to deliver their offer. Rick called their bank in Baltimore to see what they had to do to transfer funds or to obtain certified checks.

It turned out to be a lot easier than he thought it would be, BB&T; their bank had branches in Chattanooga. It looked like the one on Broad Street was the closest.

They also had a branch in Athens, TN which was technically closer but when Rick and Marsha reviewed the map on Mapquest, they realized they wanted no part of the hairpins on Route 30. It may be closer, but they would get seasick on the drive.

They went down to the diner for an early dinner. Mary was on duty again. Apparently Hope had been on the phone because Mary was completely up to date on events.

Rick was at first concerned about their business being shared, but Marsha let him know that this was a small town. Very little was secret and get over it!

Rick knew this was a losing battle, but it was a lesson learned on conducting business in a small town. He really was not upset with Hope; he could understand why she was so excited.

As they were ordering some chicken-fried steak; Rick's cell phone rang. It really rang. He had no fancy tunes; his went ring, ring, ring. As he explained to the young lady at the phone store, phones are black, they go ring, and they weigh about five pounds. She could not change the weight, but she did give him a black phone with a traditional ring. At the time, Rick ignored the muttered, "Old fart."

"Rick King here," he answered.

"Mr. King this is Hope Popule. The Johnsons have accepted your offer. They felt like God had answered their prayers."

"I am not certain about me and God, but I am glad that they are happy."

"Ecstatic is more like it," she replied. From the excitement in her voice, Hope was not far from that condition herself.

"How long will it be before we can close," Rick asked?

It should be a quick closing. The land has no debt. It has been in their family since before the Civil War; or as Mr. Johnson called it, the War of Northern Aggression," Hope told him.

"Hmm if I meet him, I had better not tell him one of my ancestors Rufus King was a Union General, and that his son Rufus Jr. won the medal of honor at the battle of White Oak Swamp in Virginia."

"Good thinking, I am not sure how serious he is but some of these old families around here have not forgotten. The important thing is the title search should be easy, but I just hope the boundaries aren't described by this Oak tree near that Cherry tree next to the Creek.

Those deeds were mostly from the Revolution or before, but they are a real pain to clear up. Sometimes miles of land have to be surveyed from a known point to straighten things out."

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