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The realtors had listed the house at a large price, something that made Harold optimistic since it put a move out of state within their new possibilities.  Unfortunately every time the real estate company had an open house in the shiny and suitable four square, the nice man or lady in a nice suit would also explain why a buyer was unsuitable, listing perfectly good reasons.  After three months of waiting, each man was on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but it bonded them together even closer than before.  They were forced to clean house and redecorate in a militant fashion, shifting their personal schedules to the whims of a broker or potential new homeowner.  Most often, they were forced to trundle themselves into the station wagon and go for a long ride at the parking lot near the baseball park.  Hare managed to avoid hitting anything after that first time.  Harry and Rold would often perch on the formerly offensive log, watching the station wagon dip, wheel and surge back and forth across the poorly maintained lawn.
Finally, a young realtor admitted that there was one person who wanted to see the house once more, but the requested time was at an inopportune time for any of the other real estate personnel at the company.  Harold admitted that he and the boys could easily show the buyer in and around and answer any questions up front.  Harry, Rold and Hare jumped at the chance to really show off their living space.  They cooked up a plan that would involve all of them.
When Marjorie Turner arrived the next afternoon, they knew as much about her as Rold could find off of the internet as well as what the one realtor who had met her had reported.  She was married with two children and the reason she was looking for property was space.  Living in a three bedroom apartment had become unbearable.
Harold ran and greeted her as she parked on the curb in front of the house.  “Hi!  My name is Harold Smith.  I’m the owner of the house you’ll be looking at today.”  He reached to shake her hand as Harry had mentioned the previous night.
Harry had schooled Harold in how to speak to her:  lots of eye contact, a good deal of smiling and no, absolutely no lingering over the numbers.  Truthfully, for all of them to sell this house to her, she would have to be crazily enamoured with it over all of the other houses  she could have seen already.
“Marjorie, you can call me Marge.”  She shook his hand with a firm grip, then released it and gazed at the house.  “I’ve seen this before, but I’m here to see it again.  Lead on.”  
Her serious tone and frank manner took him aback, but he had hope that she did want this house, after all she was still here, in front of him, taking the time to introduce herself. He guided her to the porch, pointing out the nice vantage point and the pleasant view of the street.  First he walked to her to the right side of the porch, then to the left.  Though there was little landscaping, the clipped lawn around the house at least bespoke of an effort at maintenance.
Through the front door and the foyer, they ambled to the living room.  He sat at the pretty bay window seat, pointing out how one could view the street, the garage and the neighbors, well, as long as no one was blocking the view by standing on the porch in front of it.  Encouraging her to sit beside him, he turned away from the window.
“That is the dining room.”  He indicated the room.
“A very simple room,”  She said, the first few words she had said since they had entered.
“Yes.  Everything’s original to when I bought the house, though.”  
“That explains the weird chandelier.”
Harold did not know how to reply.  Luckily, Rold tromped down the stairs as they had agreed on.  There was only so much conversation with a stranger that Harold could pull off successfully, or really that any of them could do without seeming generally strange.
“Yo, Gramps.”  Rold smirked at Harold.  “You want me to show her the yard?”
“Oh, yes please.”  Harold faked a smile.  “I have to go lie down.  Because I’m . . . old.”
Rold marched her through the kitchen.  She remarked on the kitchen island and whether it was within period and also an original.
“I’m pretty sure the real estate lady used all that fancy language on you.  Generally, though, I don’t know.”  Rold shrugged nonchalantly.  “I’ve never had a problem.”  Quickly glancing around, Rold mentioned a little louder than was normal, “It sure smells good in here, yum-yum.  I wonder if someone’s baking.”  Noticing her lack of reaction, he pointed to the kitchen door.  “Come on, to the back yard.”
Once through the kitchen door, Rold began narrating.  “As you can see, this is the back yard.  Its covered in grass.  Isn’t it lovely?  The delightful dark green color really brings out the grey in the garage and the house, which, by the way is a lovely shade known as vair-day-gree or grey green.  Note how great the health of the grass is.   Its quite a healthy lawn.  Stop me any time, lady.”
“Why is there no fence around the house?”  Marge frowned.
“That is the great thing about living here,”  He stated  in a monotone.  “Nothing ever happens in this suburb besides having amazing neighbors.  Seriously.  Trust me, I’m a teen, if something was happening, I’d know about it.  I hope we move into the city after we sell this house.”
“You’d say it was boring?”
“Yeah.  No excitement.  No crime.  Lots of space.  Convenient to the city, my Gramps used to work in the city, easy commute.  Stuff like that.”  He glanced at the kitchen door.  “Oh, hey, its my dad.”
Hare waved from the stoop.  Wearing a navy apron, he beckoned to Rold and Marge.  “Would you like a cookie?”  He served them both an adorable grin.
“Well, I think I shouldn’t, its nearly dinner time soon.”  Marge tittered.
“They’re delicious!”  Hare made eye contact with Marge.
“Oh, maybe just one.”  Marge demurred.
Pleased that Hare was having the desired affect on Marge, Rold gave Hare a thumbs-up behind her back.  “I’ll be in the garage.”
“Come on in, Marge.”  Hare opened the kitchen door for her.  “That’s a lovely sounding name.  Is it short for something?”
Skirting the edge of propriety, Hare flirted shamelessly with Mrs Turner.  He gave her chocolate chip cookies and, “of course milk, because it goes with milk best.”  The sound of her giggling could be heard upstairs.  They both ate a few cookies together.
“I really love this kitchen.”  Hare swelled with pride.  “We’ve made a lot of great meals here, you know, great memories.”
“Is the storage space adequate inthis kitchen?  Seems a bit small to me, not that I’m insinuating that its too small, you know, because obviously the three of you make do with it.”
“Ah, you mean the four of us.”  Hare brushed a stray hair away from Marge’s face.  “I guess you haven’t met all of us yet.”
“Your wife?”
“No, my dad.”  Hare noticed the time on the big clock.  “You haven’t seen upstairs yet.  My dad’s up there, so he can show you the upstairs.”  He held his hand out to her.  Clasping her hand, he led her back to the front door foyer and up the stairs to the second floor  
With bedroom slippers on, Harry puttered over to them.  “Oh, hello, you must be looking around our house.”   He tapped Hare on the shoulder.  “Thanks for handling dinner tonight Hare.”
“And on that note, you think you’ll be okay with my dad, Marge?”  Hare pointed to Harry.
“Oh, of course of course.”  Marge did a little hand wave.  “See you soon, um, later!”
Harry showed her around the second floor, the three upper bedrooms two bathrooms and storage area over the kitchen.  “There’s a fourth bedroom on the lower floor, and we do use it.”  He indicated the access to the attic.  “I’d climb up with you there myself if you want, I’m right chipper.”
Glancing at his frail form, Marge decided against it.  “No, no, that’s all right.”
“It’s something you should bloody check out, really.”  Harry rubbed his stubbly chin with a wrinkled hand.  “Yessir, not a finished basement, but lots of other storage.  Why, I’d be shocked if we get this much space once we leave this place.”  At her unspoken question, he continued, “After retirement, I’m hoping for some place tropical myself.”  
Humoring his ramblings, Marge nodded.
“Guess you’ll be wanting to see the garage then, huh?”
“Oh, yes.”  
He walked her over to the stairs.  “Hare!  Rold! Where are those boys?”
“Coming dad!” Rold’s head peeked around the rail on the first floor.  “I’m here.”
“Come and get her, she hasn’t seen the garage yet.”
“Okay.  Coming down, Mrs Turner?”  
“You come up and get her, show some respect.”
“She can walk down the stairs herself, Pops.”
“I can walk.”  As she reached the landing en route to Rold, she turned to bid Harry adieu.  “It was nice to meet you sir.”
“Cheerio lassie.”  Harry puttered off into one of the upstairs bedrooms, mumbling nonsense to himself.
“Is your grandfather British?”  
“No. He’s my dad.  He’s a bit . . . different.”  Rold explained.  “Harold’s my grandfather.”
“Oh.”  Marge was at a loss for words.  
“I’m adopted.” Clapping his hands together, Rold indicated the front door.  “To the garage, then.”
Their feet tapped along the regular asphalt driveway.  Rold halted in front of the single car garage.  “Its the perfect kind of garage and driveway for basketball.  You know, if we had a net.  If the other guys let me have a net.”
“This is really, a very nice house.”
“Its the house I grew up in.”  Rold shook his head as if he wasn’t very impressed.  “Between you and me, I liked it fine.”


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November 2010

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