That's my oldest grandchild, Arick. There was a time that I could truthfully say NOBODY ever loved me as much as Arick, in his way. That, of course, was in his toddler and pre-school years, the time when all children think their grandparents walk on water.
Then, around the time he was ten and his family returned from three years in Germany, he became his grandpa's boy. Together they restored a Farmall H tractor, and it has a name-plate with "Arick" on it now.
As happens with all children, Arick grew up, and his interests changed. He attended an alternative school so he could graduate ahead of most of his peers, and at age seventeen, was ready to start his adult life. Of course, it's hard to get a job (not to mention a date) if you have no car; and Arick wanted, and needed, a car.
One day while I was at work, he came out and approached Cliff about co-signing a note at the bank for him, so he could get his wheels. Cliff agreed, and tried to help Arick make the right choice from the cars at which he was looking. When they went to the bank, Cliff was told that he'd have to put the loan strictly in his name, since Arick wasn't yet eighteen. To my dismay, Cliff signed on the dotted line.
I have to say there was some tension around here on account of this loan. We live pretty much hand to mouth (good credit sometimes means lots of payments) and I couldn't imagine a kid with no roots, a boy who has done pretty much whatever he pleased all his life, paying off $3,000. If we ended up making the payments, it would be difficult.
That was two years ago, and with one exception (when Arick says he simply forgot) the payments were made on time. This week I received, in the mail, the original note... paid off two months early.
I'm sorry I didn't believe in you the way your grandpa did, Arick. Cliff was right. I'm proud of you.
Oh, yesterday I asked Cliff, "If Arick came out asking you to sign for another loan, would you do it?"
"No," he answered. "But he had to get a start somewhere."