Fitting into a new community
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So, you wanna know about the guy who crashed his truck through the church doors. Well, you come to the right place. I'll tell you like it is, without all the 'xaggeration you get from some folks. See, that newcomer Isak, he was a strange one long afore he drove into the church.
He first come to town after buying Higgens General Store when the old man passed and his boy decides to run off to the city. Nobody here figures the old store's worth having – we mostly do our shopping at the Walmart and Piggly Wiggly over to Grover's Corner now, 'lessen we need something real quick.
Isak seen the Higgens boy's ad in the city paper and buys the place sight-unseen, lock, stock, and barrel. Then it's like he can't wait to change things. First, he puts a lot'a weird stuff on the shelves with the real food, things nobody ever heard'a with foreign writing on 'em, like round, flat bread that opens up into pockets when you cut it in half. All kinds'a crazy stuff nobody needs.
Next, the old man barely a year in his grave, Isak takes down the Higgens sign and puts up one with his own name that nobody can say. That don't change nothing: store was Higgens when the old man's pappy ran it, it was Higgens the forty years the old man ran it, it's still Higgens twenty years after Isak put up his damn sign, and it'll stay Higgens no nevermind who buys it now – 'lessen they tear it down.
When Reverend Wilson, doing his Christian duty, goes by to welcome Isak and his wife to town, invite them to Sunday services, Isak just says they ain't'a his faith without saying what they are. Mable Winters never seen them at the Catholic church in the city and Mike Donnely looks around their front door when he delivers the mail and don't see that Jew thing like the Silvermans and Steins have, so nobody can figure what the hell they are.
Seems like some folks who should know better do go for weird stuff and the store does pretty good, better'n anybody figured, specially after Isak buys the space next door when Betty Hansen moves her beauty parlor to that new strip mall. He connects the two places and sets up a little eating area with an old timey soda fountain and a jukebox and all. The kids used'a go there after school and dates to spend their money. Didn't seem right to me, but my wife said at least they wasn't out getting drunk or in trouble.
Then Isak starts renting videos and later CD's and game things and like that. He sells computers and innernet stuff, and them cell phones, and his oldest boy fixes 'em, too, till he goes off to college.
About ten years back, Isak buys the old Conley place and dudes it up something fierce. Causes the rest'a us a bunch'a grief after our womenfolk seen what he done and won't leave off pestering us to fix up our homes, too. Like I said, the man can't never leave well enough alone.
So I guess it shouldn't'a been no surprise he's the one drives his fancy damn truck up the front steps and right through the church doors when it catches fire and the volunteer firemen can't get to the kids inside at the fellowship meeting. The fire started back by the side door and nobody can find Reverend Wilson to get the keys to the front doors, them big old solid oak doors that the firemen was hacking at with their axes. Crazy damn thing for Isak to do; just lucky he don't hit no firemen or kids and the truck makes a opening so's they can all run out, even though the last ones has to crawl after the roof collapses.
The kids breath smoke and get some burns; my grandsons and most'a the others get out'a the urgent care next morning but my granddaughter and a couple other girls at the back has to stay a few days.
The county fire marshal says the roof would'a collapsed anyway but I think it was 'cause'a the truck knocking down the doors. The truck’s jammed in there and by the time they get Isak out he's burned some; spends more'n four months in the county hospital. He's pretty lucky: only a few scars and the pinky on his left hand stuck to the ring finger, but otherwise he's OK now.
His wife has to close down part’a the store while he's laid up, and I guess he don't have no insurance so the county's taking his store and house for the bill. Don't know who'll want the store – Billy Jenkins says he might buy it to put in a car wash and a couple more bays for his auto repair, but he talks a lot and don't hardly never do nothing.
My wife's making noises like she wants me to buy the house, figures we can get a good deal when they put it for sale. My daughter-in-law says that ain't right, but it's not like we're taking it from him: county's doing that. She and a few folks trying to raise money to pay off the county, but they ain't doing so good. Can't hardly expect folks to donate when nobody asked him to do nothing like he done and everybody giving whatever they can spare to rebuilding the church.
I can unnerstand why they feel sorry for him, but they're making too big a deal out'a it. Weren't no need to pull a damnfool stunt like that – somebody would'a done something; we wasn't just gonna stand around and let our kids and grandkids get burned up. Hell, none'a his kids was even in there! 'Sides, I mean, it ain't like he's really one'a us.