Caleb was a good citizen and a good farmer. He planted his corn in straight rows, kept his fences in repair, paid his bills on time. He expected the same of his neighbors.
A fiercely independent person, Caleb went his own way and avoided asking favors. Unlike some in the neighborhood he never borrowed machinery or called on his neighbors for help to get the hay in the stack before a rainstorm. And, although he never voiced it, Caleb felt a certain disdain for those who lacked one or more such virtues.
Alas, while driving his Dodge coupe to town one hot August day, Caleb failed to see a sharp rock in the roadway. Alas, the right front tire deflated with a bang. Now some of us, in such a circumstance, would erupt with a sting of oaths or at the very least complain about such bad luck. Not Caleb. Caleb, in his careful and methodical way, shut off the engine, pulled the hand brake tight, blocked both rear wheels with stones. Then he proceeded to open the trunk of the car to get out the spare tire and jack. But no jack was to be found. Alas, he remembered removing it the day before when propping up the wagon axle.
What to do? To walk the five miles home to get the jack would use up half a day. A delay of half a day in harvesting the barley would increase the risk of losing the crop to a hail storm. Just out of the question.
Down the road a half mile was the farm of Pete Ruder. Although Caleb knew Ruder by sight, he had never had any social or business contacts with him. Still, there was little choice but to walk over to the Ruder farm and ask to borrow a jack. So Caleb started walking toward the Ruder farm. As he plodded along, doubts continued to enter his mind. I wish I didn't have to do this. I don"t know Ruder that well. I've heard tell that he is kind of a standoffish fellow. What if he won't loan me a jack? Maybe he will demand a deposit on the jack? Or even charge me for using it? People say that he
is pretty close with things. The ways of some people! ----
With each step Caleb became more agitated. By the time he reached the farmyard he was in a lather. He charged up the porch steps and pounded on the door. When Ruder opened the door Caleb shouted, "You can keep your damn jack,"
"- turned on his heel and headed back up the road tbward his farm.