A Good Model

Debbie Stanton | Stories

A Good Model


Debbie Stanton

Sam was the farmer next door, the one who was famous for his bright, gaudy shirts and elaborate tattoos.

photo by Dave Goudreau on Unsplash

Due to his intelligence, good weather, and overall good luck, he’d become rich. He still had loads of cash crops, but cattle were added to his portfolio. All in all, he thought he was all set. His attitude mirrored the riches he accumulated.

Sam’s friend Tony developed a secret operation and roped Sam into it. Perhaps Sam wasn’t intelligent after all, because he fell right into the trap. Apparently, those who boast of wealth had better be sure they are on the right side of the law.

In addition to Sam hanging out with Tony (against his better judgment), a friendly little poker game developed into a weekly pattern at Sam’s house. Tony pretended to initiate an old friend into the fold to act as dealer, and things were going well. Sam’s poker games were the talk of the town. Since many people now came from miles around just to watch a game, Sam allowed the crowd to watch the poker game in the small, original barn on his property.

Soon, however, justice came calling in the form of the county’s wisest lawyer, Mr. Rich. His name was ironic for the blameless, benevolent, pure-as-the-driven-snow man. He didn’t use his position to put others down, and he didn’t want anyone to revere him just because of his profession.

Mr. Rich, along with Henry Sands, walked into the little barn and made an announcement.

“Excuse us folks, we need to talk with Sam here. Just for a little bit. Hang tight, and we’ll return him to your game,” Mr. Rich said. Sam looked at Tony, who feigned surprise and shrugged his shoulders.

Sam walked outside with Mr. Rich and Mr. Sands, then was startled to see two sheriff’s cars, each holding four officers.

“What is going on? Why did you interrupt our game? We weren’t breaking the law,” Sam said, his demeanor looking scared instead of haughty as usual.

“You’re not breaking the law, Sam, but your friends Tony and his friend doing the dealing, are about to get a jolt.” Mr. Rich and Mr. Sands looked up at the top of the barn. They gave the signal to the eight men who then surrounded all sides of the barn.

Now Tony and his friend and some others tried to escape out the barn windows at the roof line. The deputies tackled each and every one when they fell out of the windows and put them in handcuffs.

Sam listened to Mr. Rich’s amazing story and stared at the ground. Once the swindlers and racketeers were taken to jail, the cash won or played in the games was examined by Mr. Rich. Finding the cash to be valid, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

The remaining poker players, for some reason, didn’t feel like playing poker anymore that night. The players and audience left straight away.


Sam called a girl from town, Heather, so he could talk to someone about what happened. He had just started to be interested in her and hoped she would still talk to him. She invited him to breakfast tomorrow morning after the farm animals were taken care of. He agreed and was able to sleep that night.

Next morning at Heather’s house, he was surprised. The table was set with fine china and a white tablecloth. Even though Sam wasn’t guilty, he felt he deserved a bare, rickety table and burned toast for breakfast.

photo by Mathilde Langevin

Heather came out of the kitchen carrying a plate covered with light, fluffy pancakes. “Here you go, Sam. Let’s have a nice breakfast.” She sat down across from him.

Sam stared at the pancakes. “These sure look good. Why are you being so nice to me?”

“From what you told me last night, you ran into a bit of a problem with Tony and his accomplices. Why should I treat you badly because of them?” Heather said.

“Uh–because I haven’t been very nice to people,” Sam said.

“We don’t operate that way around here, Sam. You should know that by now. What kind of people would love someone else for their money? Not me,” Heather replied.

Relief washed over Sam. He reached for Heather’s hand and held it. “I’m so glad, Heather. I hope I can spend more time with you. I love your attitude. You’re a good model for me.” He kissed her hand and set it gently on the table.

Heather smiled. “If I’m not careful, you’ll soon pass me in good attitude. But that’s a chance I’m willing to take. You’re someone I’m willing to take a chance on.”

Sam was never haughty again, nor did he brag. Word around town now is Sam and his wife Heather help and train new or young farmers. Heather also helps homeschool teachers with curriculums or anything having to do with homeschooling.




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