Harry and Wanda Jean Wonkelmyer had never ridden in a limousine until last Tuesday. That was just one of many new experiences on the amazing road out of poverty’s hopelessness.
“Hey, Hare,” Smitty had yelled that unbelievable day when he saw the two come into the shelter for breakfast.
“Some suit’s been looking to find you - says it’s real important.”
Wanda Jean locked eyes with her affable but honest husband, wondering if some part of their hapless past was revisiting them for one more futile stab. All they owned were two sleeping bags, a few ill-fitting clothes, and one comb between them. There was nothing else to lose.
Sure enough, an executive type man was sitting at a table mulling over a briefcase full of papers. Smitty, ever the nosy soul, rushed over to announce the Wonkelmyer’s arrival. He just knew in his bones something interesting was about to transpire.
There was no escape; so unsuspecting Harry and Wanda meandered over to face the music, whatever it might be.
John Asbury stood as they approached, ready to offer his most polite greeting.
“Mr. and Mrs. Wonkelmyer?”
Harry wiped his work-worn right hand on the side of his frayed overalls before responding. He wished he had access to a good shower. Wanda Jean merely nodded her head, leery of the nice-smelling man’s intentions toward them. She hoped this wouldn’t take long. The scrambled eggs would be cold and there wouldn’t be any toast left.
“Sit, please,” Mr. Asbury instructed in his kind and confidant manner.
“Excuse me, Mr. Smith,” he said turning to address Smitty who was hovering near,” please bring these good people some coffee.”
Wanda and Harry looked at each other in shock. Nobody waited on you in this place. You got your own or you didn’t get any. They scooted closer to each other for moral support.
After they were fortified with a few slugs of the watered-down, tepid brown brew, the stranger began.
“You know folks, it has taken a long time to find you.”
Harry flinched, hoping the guy wasn’t from the FBI or something.”
“I represent the estate of your late uncle, a Mister Wallace D. Wonkelmeyer, most recently deceased.”
“I hadn’t never heard of nobody by that name, Sir.”
Mr. Asbury continued shuffling papers.
“Was your father one George J. Wonkelmeyer, married to Velba LaRue, Ethel Berlone, Lucinda Katlowe, and finally, Starlight Simone?”
Harry frowned. He was having trouble processing the question.
“Well, my father was one George Wonkelmeyer, but I don’t rightly know who those other people are.”
“Do you know your mother’s name?”
“Well, sure. It’s Nadine Jones. She lives out to the county farm where they take in a poor body who can’t make do like me and Wanda does.”
“That answers my question, Mr. Wonkelmeyer. I already know Mrs. Jones. I have met the lovely lady.”
This was getting more bizarre by the second. Harry could not keep up. Then, no non-sense, Wanda Jean stepped in.
“Say, what’s this about? How do you know his momma? Get to the point if you don’t mind."
They were finally convinced Harry had an uncle. That’s how they came to be riding in the limousine on the way to see the mysterious inheritance.
The driver pulled up to a long, funny looking building with a sign whose first letter had come unhinged and flopped upside down.
Wanda said, “What’s a Wotel?”
John Asbury suppressed a chuckle. “This nice little mom and pop motel is part of your estate.”
Neither spouse blinked. They just stared.
“Your uncle wanted you to work to support yourselves, just the way he started. The rest of your entitlement depends on the way you handle the first part.”
The Wonkelmeyers remained speechless.
The executor continued, “ There is an adequate amount of money in your new bank account and a serviceable van out back with good tires. Here are the keys and papers of ownership. I will see you in one year. Now I bid you good day.”
He left a bewildered and stunned couple standing in the parking lot of their new home.
The good news is, Wanda Jean and Harry were so thankful for this chance, in one year they became well respected and successful small business owners. Nadine came to live with them. They hired good old Smitty.
The shiny eye-catching sign read:
~ WAHA WOTEL~
Clean Bed-Hot Water-FreeCoffee-Security
(After all, what else does a weary traveler need?)
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