More Money than He Knows What to do With

The farmer, Benton, is 55.  He never married.  His high school sweetheart died two weeks before their wedding day, and then both his parents died the next year, leaving him with the 120 acre farm and a dairy herd.  Benton kept the farm going so his younger brother could go to college, get married, and move a couple of towns away.  Benton keeps Jersey cows.  He’s partial to Jerseys since they have gentle faces, and their milk has a relatively high percentage of cream.  The farm house needs paint, but it’s structurally quite sound.  He stays home a lot, watching all kinds of sports on TV, but he’s not too shy to go for an occasional beer at the AC Tap where no one looks twice at his worn coveralls.  Benton’s dilemma is that over the years he has grown surprisingly rich.  No one knows this.  He drives his parents’ 1952 GMC pickup, has old but well-kept farm equipment, and keeps his money with a financial adviser his father had used who lives three states away.  He’s trying to decide what to do with all his money before he’s too old to spend it.  What does a man who doesn’t want anything do with more money than he knows what to do with?

25 responses to “More Money than He Knows What to do With

  1. A dairy farmer with “more money than he knows what to do with.” Now this IS fiction! LOL

  2. After his years of devotion to the farming lifestyle and his beloved Jersey’s, I’m sure he would be earmarking some of the money to set up a scholarship fund for The Future Farmers of America.

    Or, he’ll sell everything and head to Vegas.
    Bart

  3. Hmmmm. This is a difficult prompt. I’ve never had the problem of too much money.

  4. With more money than he knew what to do with, Benton decided to let the farm lie fallow and live a life of travel and leisure. It was on one of his many trips abroad that he met Juan. Juan was a lively little fellow with a big toothy smile and happy nature. They fell in love instantly, and Benton brought Juan to live a life of leisure together on the farm.
    Early the first morning Benton found Juan out in the field planting beans. He gathered Juan up, sat him down in the kitchen and tried to explain that they would not be working the farm anymore. Juan, whose English was limited to two words, smiled big and bobbed his head up and down and repeated, “OK Benny,” several times.
    The next morning Benton again found Juan out in the field planting beans. The scenario was repeated; Benton Gesturing and struggling to communicate, and Juan smiling his huge smile and bobbing his head and repeating, “OK Benny.”
    This went on every day for two months. In addition to planting beans, Juan attempted to paint the barn, dig a well at the foot of the driveway, and air-out the house by removing the windows. He also cut Benton’s hair and trimmed his toe nails while he was sleeping. Benton decided that the marriage was not working out and brought Juan back to his native land. He left Juan on the beach, smiling, waving, and bobbing his head.
    A few weeks later Benton received a letter from Juan’s attorney. In the subsequent divorce proceedings Benton lost half of his wealth. After the divorce was final, he received another letter from the attorney, accompanied by a bill for all the work Juan had done on the farm; planting beans, painting the barn, digging the well, as well as personal grooming. With some insidious legal wrangling, Benton was forced to pay the bill, which depleted much of his remaining funds. No longer faced with the conundrum of having “more money that he knew what to do with,” Benton took to the field and started planting a bean crop.

    • Gay marriage with a non-English speaker who seems to know a good thing when he sees it. How refreshing to be surprised! It’s very tempting to start thinking of good works with all that money, but I am delighted with your detour.

      • Hi Ann, I guess I zig when I’m supposed to zag. I try not to use my brain too much, and just write with my fingers. May I take your course again? I took two other courses online here and they were junkie. I won’t mention the instructors, but they were junkie too. I need a boost, you inspired me.

    • Jeepers yes. Come back. I could use the fun! Many people have taken the course more than once, and while you lose the surprise value, there is still all that writing practice. We can goof around!

    • Waldo, this story made me giggle and frown. But it was a great surprise!

    • galelikethewind

      That was a real fun trip ! Thx

    • I very much enjoyed Juan’s character. Fun read. Poor Benton.

    • Ah, Waldo from my last class I suspect? Of all the classes I’ve taken online about writing, Ann’s has been the BEST. So, I agree and one day may take the class again…

  5. Benton sat at the kitchen table drinking from the same coffee cup that his dad used. He, for the first time he could remember, was bored. Having been born on the farm, he hadn’t ventured much farther than the county courthouse to pay his taxes. “That’s it,” he said to himself, “I’m going on a trip.” He dug out a map of Arkansas and blew the dust off of it, it was dated 1973, and was the last map his father had picked up at the then full service gas station. He spread it out over the table and looked in the middle of it, there it was, just south of Little Rock, Benton, Arkansas. “If a town is good enough to have my name, it’s good enough fer a visit from me.”

    Benton made a trip into town and to get a haircut, while he was there he had the barber shave the beard that reached to the middle of his chest. When the barber swung him around and he saw his reflection, he thought he was looking at some movie star instead of himself. He couldn’t pull his eyes from the mirror as he paid the man and walked out. Just as he was about to lose his reflection his eyes dropped to his good “AC Tap” coveralls. That was just wasn’t going to work. Next door was a “Gentleman’s Store” that he never been to, they didn’t carry his favorite brand of coveralls, he busted through the door and looked around at all the colors and silks and cotton.

    “May I help you?” a sweet voice called to him. Benton turned to see a vision, for the first time in his life he was attracted to another human. “I’m Angela, could I help you find something today?”

    Benton swallowed the lump in his throat and told of his up coming trip to Benton, and that he wanted some nice duds to wear there. “Benton is one of my favorite towns,” Angela said, “I grew up there. Billy Bob Thornton and my brother were best friends.”

    “Mmmmm,” Benton said, “Billy Bob turned me on to biscuits and mustard.”

    “He learned to love them sitting at my mom’s kitchen table,” Angela squealed.

    Benton looked deep into her eyes and before he knew it he had kissed her and had a personal guide for his trip to Benton, Arkansas, twenty miles to the north, where Benton bought the biggest ring for Angela’s finger.

    By the way, Benton like the way the silk suit felt Angela sold him as he walked down the street.

  6. “Yeah, they’re goin’ a take his farm. The whole two hunnerd acres an all the cattle.”

    Benton was seated on his favorite stool at the far end of the bar but he could easily hear the two half-deaf farmers at the table on the other side of the room. Their conversation rose above all the others, drowning them out the way the canned music did down at Alma’s Grill. He’d known both men since he was a kid. Bill Bolin was hard to miss. His taught, red brown skin had creases like a bare field after a summer drought. He was doing most of the talking.

    Ted Kerkman shook his head and said as how he’d like to own a couple of those nice Holsteins of Mike’s. If he’d only known Mike was that bad off, he could’ve offered to buy them, maybe kept the bank off his heels awhile longer.

    Silently, Benton put the details together. Holsteins on two hundred acres owned by a guy named Mike. Had to be Mike Wahlberg. Ben and Mike had gone to school together. They both belonged to the Walworth County 4-H. But they never really got on that well. Mike’s folks always bought him the best animals and Ben resented how Mike had won every ribbon at the fair with his dairy cattle. As he got older, Ben realized judging was fickle. Most folks in this area had Holsteins, so most of the judges had them, too. Holsteins were milk factories. They produced nearly two to one on Jerseys and their mammoth udders dwarfed all the other breeds. He didn’t understand it at the time, but he’d never had a chance with his dainty little girls.

    Mike’s life had been much like Ben’s, school, chores, occasional dates on a Saturday night, church on Sunday morning. But he’d found a girl and married her. They moved away and Ben heard he was selling cars over in Elkhorn and doing okay at it, too. Then Mike’s dad had climbed the silo one afternoon to try to un-jam the auger. A careless step, a slip and at the end of a long fall, he lay broken on the ground until his wife found him near dinner time. He lived on for a long time in a home, unable to do much more than lie in a special hospital bed. Ben heard Mike and his wife had moved back to the farm, but on his own by then, he hadn’t had time to socialize. The last time he talked to Mike was at his dad’s funeral and that was barely more than a handshake and a mumbled sorry. When the first drought hit two summers ago, it really tested them all. The second summer threatened to break them. Mike had over a hundred cattle in his herd. Takes a lot of feed to keep a herd that size going. Stories were that some were shipping really good dairy cows to market. Ben knew how Mike cared for his cows. He knew each one like family. He’d starve before he’d do that.

    Ben stopped by the Piggly Wiggly on his way home to pick up a loaf of bread and some peanut butter for lunches. He recognized Mike’s pretty wife right away when he stepped up to the check-out counter. Her smile was a weak mask for the story her eyes told him.

    “Hey Mary Jean,” he said.

    “Hey Ben. How are you today?”

    Ben handed her the money and took his small purchase to the truck. He sat thinking for a long time before he turned the key in the ignition. He pulled out onto the highway and headed north, toward the Wahlberg farm.

  7. NOTE: Someone commented that I worry too much about length. So I through caution to the wind with this challenge. This is about 1500 words, but I hope you enjoy it.

    Benton’s deep affection for Jersey cows was quite profound. He had always been very careful to keep the breed pure. If he had a single unfulfilled dream, it was to enter the annual Royal Jersey
    Agricultural and Horticultural Society’s Jersey Cattle Competition on the Isle of Jersey in the middle of the English Channel. His herd was composed of 20 of the finest specimens in the U.S., and he was very proud of each and every one of them.
    After a few rounds at the AC Tap one night, Benton got the ear of the local veterinarian, and told him of his dream.
    “Well, it would involve a lot of paperwork, Benton.” said the vet,”Do you even have a U.S. Passport? And there would be the matter of moving the stock across the Atlantic Ocean. Quarantine paperwork would be required. Are you sure you are up to it?”
    “No, got no Passport. Ain’t even ever been out of Kentucky.” said Benton. And suddenly his thoughts turned to his dad’s financial adviser. He figured that guy would know how to help him with this.

    “Well hello stranger.” laughed Arthur Banks, “To what do I owe this honor, Benton? You never call me unless you need something.”
    “I think I have found a way for me to spend a little of that money I have been piling up.” said Benton into the phone. He outlined his plan briefly, and waited anxiously for Arthur’s answer.
    “Well my old friend, with your fortune, you can do anything you wish. I’ll tell you what, I have a smart young manager in my firm who could handle all the details for you..for a fee of course.”
    “Money is no object at the moment.” said Benton, “What happens next?”
    “His name is Donald Macneil, and I will have him arrange to come to your place next week, if that is OK with you.”

    Don Macneil was impressed with how neat the Benton property was. Even the barns looked freshly painted. The yard around the main house was immaculately maintained with an expansive emerald green lawn, edged by brightly colored flowers of all types. He parked his Mercedes in the drive, and walked up onto the wide porch. Before he could knock, Benton opened the door and said,”You must be Mr. Macneil?”
    “Don, please.” he replied and then experienced Benton’s vice grip of a handshake. “I am really looking forward to this project. Fortunately, I have a couple of weeks free from work, so my time is your time.”
    After Benton outlined his idea, Macneil smiled and said, “I need you to fill out these forms for a a Passport, and get a photo for me as soon as possible. I already did some research online, and the Royal Competition takes place in three months, so we should be just fine. I’d like to meet with you again in two days so I can outline the details for you.”
    “Sounds good.” said Benton, utterly amazed at this fellow and his enthusiasm for helping him with his dream.

    Don showed up again right at the agreed upon time.
    “So, I have found that UPS has their major air facility at Louisville Airport, just a few miles up the road. They routinely lease out their 747 Aircraft over the weekends, when they aren’t full of packages. So we could move the entire herd to Jersey and back that way. I have chartered a private jet to fly you from Louisville to Jersey Airport. Have you ever flown on a private aircraft?”he said.
    “I have never flown on any aircraft,” laughed Benton, “but I always wanted to.” Macneil also informed Benton that he had filed all the necessary paperwork with the Royal Jersey Society, and they were most pleased to have an American competitor in their event for the first time. He mentioned to Benton that the cost of entry was just over $15,000, and that he had arranged with Arthur to transfer funds to Jersey on his behalf.

    Exactly two and one half months later, Benton took his first ride on an airplane. Don had picked him up at his home and driven him to the Executive Terminal at Louisville airport.
    “Your cattle were boarded yesterday just across the runway there.” said Don. “The trucking company we used said everything went off without a hitch.” Benton watched from the plush terminal waiting room, as several UPS aircraft roared down the runway just yards away. He thought about his herd and their first plane rides. Don said good-bye as he walked Benton to the small stairway leading up to the cabin of the Falcon 50 Jet.
    “Who else is traveling with me?” asked Benton.
    “Just you, that pretty flight attendant and a couple of the best pilots around.” said Don,” Good luck at the competition.” A uniformed young girl in her mid-twenties took Benton’s small garment bag, and asked him which of the six seats he would prefer to use. He took the first one he came to. It had a nice table in front of it, and was close to the window on the right side of the aircraft. The attendant explained a few quick safety rules and made sure Benton was firmly buckled in for take-off.
    “Would you like anything to drink while we are taxiing?” she asked politely.
    “Uh, water’s fine.” he said in amazement, and thought this is just like being in a nice restaurant. That is until the plane’s engines began to whine at a very high pitch, and it turned sharply toward the runway.
    “Welcome aboard sir!” came the pilot’s voice from an overhead speaker.” We are first for take off after that Delta flight, so lean back and relax. Our flying time to Jersey will be seven hours and thirty minutes.” Benton held on to the arms of his seat with such force that he must have left some DNA. The take off in a small aircraft is surprisingly fast compared with commercial airliners, and in seconds, Benton found himself gaping down at the Louisville Airport from what seemed like ten thousand feet. It literally receded away as he watched, the huge commercial aircraft on the ground suddenly looked like fancy toys. Being the only passenger had its advantages. He was offered appetizers, then a full meal and finally he was offered a selection of beautiful desserts. Benton even enjoyed a couple of beers before leaning back in his flying recliner and dropping off to sleep.

    He was awakened by an announcement from the cockpit that they were on final approach to Jersey Airport. The attendant helped him bring his recliner up to normal position again, and offered him a warm washcloth to wipe his tired face.
    “I could get used to this.” he grinned to the shapely young woman. She grinned back. The landing was just as exciting for Benton as the take off. It seem like they sort of screamed in from the sky and were suddenly rocketing along on the bumpy runway. A couple of quick swerving turns, and they bounced to an abrupt stop beside a small terminal.

    He was greeted at the base of the aircraft stairs by a man who could have passed for a butler in one of the old Hollywood classics.
    “Hello sir. Welcome to Jersey.” he said, offering his hand, “I am Mr. Greg Watson, chairman of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society. We are quite excited to welcome our first American-bred herd into the Competition.” Benton felt quite out of place in his overalls, but Mr. Watson made no notice.”We have you booked in to the Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa. Mr. Macneil made all the arrangements for you. Your herd arrived yesterday, and created quite a stir at the airport, I must say. They are beautiful animals, and you will be pleased to note that they survived the lengthy flight with no ill effects. We took the liberty of moving them directly to a private barn near the Competition Site.

    Five long days later, Benton found himself sitting the front row at the Gala Awards Banquet in the Grand Jersey Hotel ballroom. He was thankful to Macneil for making him purchase a nice pair of slacks and a sport coat for the event. The judging had been taking place for the past three full days. It was a blind competition, so the judges had no idea which herd belonged to which competitor. The herds had been given letter designations, A through J for the ten competing dairymen. Benton and the others didn’t even know which letter represented their respective herds.
    Cattle had been judged on Butterfat and Protein Percentages of their cream, body weight to size, purity of breed based on DNA testing, and finally on demeanor. Mr. Watson took the podium, and called the group to order.
    “Ladies and Gentlemen,” he said, “the moment had come. It is time to reveal the judges decision and announce this year’s winning herd for the Royal Society Competition, and the prize of fifty-thousand Pounds!” He picked up a sealed gold envelope from the lectern, and slowly opened it and pulled out a piece of fine stationery. The winning herd is herd F. “ reading on, he gasped as he spoke “Herd F is owned by Mr. Benton Davis, from America.” Light applause turned stronger as the locals got over the fact that they had lost to someone from the colonies.
    Benton thought to himself, ‘What in the hell am I going to do with all that money?’

  8. I had to chuckle at your ending. It takes a good writer to make us feel sorry for a guy with too much money! Bravo Benton. Nice job, Gale.

    • Galelikethewind

      Thanks for the kind words, Ann. (Good writer, nice job) music to my ears. Now if I can just create something without relying on one of your excellent “set ups”.

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