Arriving home, I found my pickup was not going to be available. Sara’s vehicle was beyond repair. While in Atlanta, I noticed quality used cars prices were substantially less than in New England. I figured on picking up another car for Sara there and switching vehicles sometime later. Now my dilemma was getting back to Atlanta on the cheap. I spent a while visiting friends and stocking up on good wishes and embraces. These would be needed to shore me up when I returned to the hard task of being a caregiver. I had yet to develop a support community in Atlanta, so I relied on friends from afar.
Lenny had left to fritter the winter on Saint John, a US Virgin Island. Another friend, Jocko, was planning on spending the winter in South America. He found that flights from Atlanta were considerably cheaper. So much so, it was worth it for him to depart from there. When I offered him a place to park his vehicle in Atlanta, he offered give me a lift. His jeep could also haul many of the tools needed to maintain Joe’s properties and provide me work.
We got to Atlanta shortly before Christmas. Jocko departed for South America and Joe turned over the deed to one of his properties to me. Merry Christmas. I now became a landlord, responsible for a mortgage, and inherited a mountain of maintenance tasks. I went shopping for a car. It took all of an hour to land a good used vehicle. Joe hosted a Christmas party and I departed just prior to midnight. Before hitting the road, I pulled into a gas station up the street from Joe’s house. A man offered to take care of filling up my tank while I went inside to pay and get coffee. On the way out he offered an outstretched palm, obviously looking for a tip. I handed him a five dollar bill and wished him, “Merry Christmas, Sir.” We shook hands and I left. The plan was to meet Sara and Amelia in Washington DC. We would switch vehicles and enjoy New Year celebrations in the capital city.