Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Banking in Loonville

I had been in town but briefly when I deemed that establishing a line of credit with the local bank would enhance my reputation as a responsible citizen. So I entered the bank one sunny summer day and told the cashier that I would like to take out a loan. She ushered me to the front corner office where Banker Harley sat behind his mahogany desk. I introduced myself, he laid his seegar in the ashtray on his desk and waved me preemptorily to a chair. "What can I do for you?" I would like to borrow 150 bucks, a number that I only partly drew out of thin air, for I wanted to do a few things. Well, he asked me all the usual: why I wanted the money, how was I going to repay it, how many children did I have, and where did I obtain my livelihood. I don't recall that he asked where I went to church, but I have been asked that in interview settings.

I told him I was a teacher and was employed by the neighboring community. He picked up the stogie, took a long draw, then laid it back down. "Waaal," he drawled, "I can't say that being a teacher is a helluva recommendation." He then related to me about four stories illustrating his thesis that teachers weren't necessarily reliable. Then he picked up his pen, scrawled a note on a yellow pad, ripped it off and handed it to me. "Give this to the girl. She'll fill in when you're going to repay this and you can sign it." I walked out with $150.00, American.

Just outside Banker Harley's office was the desk of the bank veep. Unbeknownst to me, VP Warren had come back from his lunch hour and sat listening to the business being conducted between me and his boss.

Two days later, Saturday morning, I was filling the auto with petrol at the local station when Warren drove up on the other side of the pump. He introduced himself and said that he had heard that I was a teacher at Podunk Elementary School. Yes, indeed. "I", he said, "am vice-president and general flunky over at the bank. Why don't you stop by my house in a few and we'll chew some fat." Since he lived just around the corner and one block off the main drag, I thought, Why not? And thus began a life-long friendship. Warren was two years older than I, but his children were the same ages and in the same number as mine. Later, when our wives were introduced to each other, the foundation for a rewarding friendship was completed.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

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