March 6th, 2018
I had originally told Bobby that I would walk as long as I could. I really thought my time with the group would exceed two weeks. It didn’t. I was only on the walk for twelve days.
Hans, our redneck Texan son, texted me on the eighth day of the journey. He wrote that he was going through a really hard time, and that he wanted me to call him. I found this disturbing. First, Hans never sends me a text. He always calls. If I am not available, he never leaves a message. He just calls again later. Second, Hans never admits that he is struggling. He has that macho, military, I-can-do-it-all-on-my-own thing going. I have that too. It doesn’t usually work out well.
So, I called him back.
Hans sounded beat. He was frustrated and angry. Apparently, the company that sold the house to Hans and his friend had a clause in the contract that allowed them to sell it to somebody else if the the mortgage was not completely paid off. Hans told me that the company intentionally left a page out of the contract. I would have thought that Hans, or his friend, or a lawyer, or somebody, would have noticed that sort of thing. Basically, Hans didn’t read the fine print. He sometimes gets burned because of that sort of thing, and this time he really got burned. Hans and his fiancee have to move out of the house by the end of March.
I asked Hans if he needed some help from Karin and me. Hans kind of hemmed and hawwed.
“Well, maybe before the end of the month…you could help me out a little.”
“How much?”, I asked him.
“I don’t know. Maybe $800. We’ll have to see how much work I get. It’s been raining all the time, so I haven’t had many concrete jobs. It’s only because I run the pump truck with the long boom that I worked at all this week.”
“What if Mom and I send you a thousand?”
Hans voice cracked. He sounded utterly despondent. “Dad, I really hate to ask you. You know I don’t like to bother you and Mom like this…”
That hurt. I told him, “Hans, don’t ever feel bad about asking us for help. We want to help you out when you need us. It’s okay.”
“Yeah, I know. I just don’t like doing that. You always taught us to do things on our own and not ask for help.”
I was felt like crying. “Yeah, I know. I wish to God I had never taught you that.”
Hans replied, “Well, you did. It’s okay.”
“Hans, I’ll talk to Mom. We will send you some money, maybe a grand. That should help a bit.”
“Dad, I’m really sorry about asking you…”
“All right, all right. Well, I’ll talk to you later.”
We ended the call.
I got hold of Karin. We talked. I told her that we really ought to go down to Texas and be with Hans for a while. She agreed. The conversation with Hans scared me. Hans has gone into deep depressions in the past, and he has done things that were dangerous. He’s a combat vet, and vets sometimes do stuff that is not healthy.
I called Hans again.
“Hey, you want Mom and me to come and visit you?”
There was a pause. “Well, I don’t want to put you folks on the spot…”
“Hans, this a yes or no question. Do you want us to come?”
Hans sighed and said, “Yeah. I just don’t want you to go to a lot of trouble.”
“I’ll go back home, and then Mom and I will drive to Bryan.”
Hans seemed to relax. “Okay, I just don’t want you all to…”
“We will come on down. I need to spend some time with you.”
“We’ll see you soon.”
We hung up. I put my head in my hands.
I looked for Bobby. I had to tell him that I needed an early out.