Fortunate Hands

Ted was a retired carpenter. Widowed for more than 6 years, he honored the memory of the only woman he ever loved by going to church each Sunday and sitting in the same pew they always occupied as a couple.

Getting the job done

He was sure she could hear him when he was there. He had many friends, but there would never be another woman for Ted. He had prepared well for retirement, and lived comfortably and quietly. His only son had given him two grandchildren–Henry and Ellie–and little Ellie was practically the exact image of her grandmother. She was an absolute delight.

Two days before Thanksgiving in 2009, Ted was preparing the house for his son’s family to come over for the holiday dinner. He was a capable cook, and truly put out a lovely spread every year for them as well as for a few friends who always seemed to wind up alone on special days.

The driveway of the house was directly opposite the stop sign, so if a driver were to go straight after the stop, he’d pull right up to the house. Ted had asked the city for years to authorize a guardrail with reflectors in his front yard, but it had yet to respond. He had built a set of interior shutters for the front bay window that he closed at night to avoid the constant glare from headlights.

As he was about to close the shutters that evening, he noticed a car coming towards the house at a furious speed. He dove frantically to the left as the 1999 Ford Taurus crashed through the front wall and into his living room with a horrendous sound.

Uninjured, Ted jumped to his feet, ran to the car, and discovered that the girl inside was conscious, but looked to be in shock. He called 911. Within minutes, the ambulance arrived, and the girl was on her way to the hospital. The crew indicated she would be all right, but the car was totaled.

The police took pictures and sent a tow truck, and as quickly as the accident had happened, the car was just as quickly out of sight.

Ted sat on the couch waiting for the insurance man to arrive to evaluate the damage. He had coffee waiting when Alex showed up, and he walked through the “new” front door with a smile. Not surprisingly, he found Ted smiling too.

“Let me take a few pictures, Ted, and we’ll get you all squared away. Can you stay at a hotel for the night?” Ted nodded.

Alex was only 2 years old when Ted first bought insurance from Alex’s father. He was just as honest and supportive as his old man.

“I have some plastic sheets in the garage I’ll set up to keep the critters out; if you come back tomorrow, we can settle the damages,” said Ted.

Alex smiled, took his coffee “to go,” and headed home.

Overnight Project

Ted decided he would not sleep; instead, he went to the basement and retrieved his power vacuum. With leather gloves, he filled three garbage cans with debris, and sawed and stacked all the wood pieces. He bound them tightly and laid them by the curb.

From the garage he brought out two sets of Halogen work lights that he pointed at the house. The foundation had not been damaged, and all the electrical lines were almost perfectly intact. He used electrical tape to reinforce anything looking precarious.

He had rehabilitated hundreds of houses in his career, so his assessment of the damage was professional. Scrap wood and two-by-fours were plentiful in the garage, so within a few hours, Ted had framed out the entire front of the house, and not once when his hammer rang out, did the neighbors complain. He’d helped so many of them over the years with their own projects they knew better than to question his need to get the job completed.

He was a man of his word and a man of action. The neighbors also knew he’d want to do most of it alone. It was just his self-made way.

Scheduling Service

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