Crime Inspirational

                                  VALLEY OF DECISION 

  Winding through the mountainous region I drew closer to my destination. Murmurs grew in tight quarters as the conductor collected tickets from passengers. Wheels swiftly rolling toward the beautiful Shenandoah Valley my beloved childhood home. Scenic pastoral views eventually taking over crowded city school and county districts. Upon entering the small Amish town in West Virginia, I started to relax for the first time in quite a long time. Arriving at the train station, a bit late, an hour past the 5:00 p.m. posted arrival I was met by my grandfather’s foreman. He introduced himself as Caleb Jenkins, knowing it was indeed Rachel Kelly he was escorting to Morning Glory Farm.

  The explanation for the lateness was a valid reason. In this month of May, lambing season is extremely busy. Grandfather’s sheep farm of more than 200 ewes and nearly 50 rams required a lot of attention and care. As a child, I spent almost every summer with my grandparents enjoying the sunshine and watching leaping lambs in the green pasture fields. My life in the city satisfied me for a number of years, I achieved junior partner at 30 years of age. All of this changed with the observance and participation of an acquaintance.

  Personally, I was a single girl that had worked hard for a measure of success in jewelry store I was employed by. Habit compelled me to write notes to self and refer to them quite often. After a meeting, I returned to my office, picked up a note on brown paper that gave statistics for advancement of likely women candidates. I ripped the note in half, returned to work that began early in the morning until the last to depart at night. It seemed no one even noticed me until I saw a card on my desk early one morning. This message asked me to meet at a movie theatre at 12 noon on the coming Saturday. 

  Surprised by an acquaintance I spoke to on a daily basis, I asked Mr. Rhodes, the janitor why he would wish to meet me outside of the work place. He replied that we had something in common. He handed me the ripped note repaired. He went on to explain that he knew I had been looked over six times for promotion. He explained that his wife had been diagnosed at a early stage with breast cancer and insurance on the job refused to aid them until the cancer had worsened. We spoke of the extravagant wealth of this corporation and only two executives had the code for the great vault. We spoke of the amount in a coffee canister wouldn’t even be missed.

  Plans were made for neither of us could complete this hijack of gems without the other. When I provided Mr. Rhodes with the code number from the executive’s office for I had easy access to it, I was reluctant and wanted to back out. Mr. Rhodes had access to all the building space which was watched by monitor. I tried to talk him out of it, he said I was still a part of it, an accomplice. I made phone calls at strategic times when the camera would lose a minute every hour. Mr. Rhodes walked out of the business calmly as I entered the morning after the robbery. We agreed to not see each other again or speak of this happening. 

  Instead of the amount of a coffee thermos cup, it was hundreds of plastic tubs emptied most probably in a janitors cart. There is only speculation afterward how this amount of gems was transported secretly. I received a letter from the city telling me that there was money held in trust for me. In my name the bank held 150 million dollars, given notice when I turned 30 years of age. I have spent 40 years trying to distance myself from this lavish wealth.

  Worthy causes have become a passion  I searched for worthy causes to donate to. I resolved that none of this money would go toward any of my personal expenses. When I was 35 years old my grandfather passed away and I paid for all the funeral expenses. This was the first use of that account, and I considered carefully how to use the rest of it. One worthy cause that I have given time and money to is therapeutic horseback riding. There is certified training for children with special needs and veterans. Benefits aid the individual emotionally, physically, and mentally while increasing self-confidence. Anxieties are calmed, focus on core training and balance with head up and chin up. Mentally learning how to care for and feed an animal forms a lasting bond.

  My grandmother died at an early age with breast cancer as well as my mother and other relatives. Some of the money has been donated toward cancer research. New drugs are being introduced to prolong lives. Support groups are provided so that cancer survivors not only survive but thrive in their own environment.

  Famine food relief is one tremendous concern for prenatal care and a nutritious healthy diet for children. Programs offering schools of education and vocational trade schools. Industrial growth for communities and towns. Offers of mentoring young adults in skills and mature wisdom. Investing years in training and faithful service.

  Morning Glory Farms may not continue with our family name although I have my eyes on some of the younger folk that I have taken in through the years. Young people not sure of future dreams or the kind of life they would choose to live. Currently, there is a young woman Sarah from a nearby Amish community seeking a life independent of what she has always known. She gardens with me and is in courtship with a young Caleb Jenkins Jr. Caleb and Lydia Jenkins have been here since my return home many years ago. This couple and their son have been my companions, leaving Amish tradition for lives of independence. 

   I have found peace with myself, and the greatest lesson I have learned is revenge is self-destructive. Long ago, myself and Mr. Rhodes we discovered no amount of money or accumulated wealth will bring happiness. Emotions are healthy, actions may not be.

April 23, 2021 23:56

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