“From what I know about this proposal, golfers may just have to learn to dance,” was the Hampton quote that ginned the local interest.
MS. A. Albright Hampton was the zoning committee’s chair. An every-hair-in-place, fetching, middle-aged woman, Ms. Hampton was considered smart, fair and an indefatigable advocate for her city district. And a new city district it was. Part and parcel of the county’s acquiescence to the city’s one-year-ago annexation was the assurance that Ms. Hampton would retain control and work to smooth divergences in city and former-suburban zoning laws.
The question of the day concerned an application by the Caddy Corporation to purchase the Seven Iron Supper Club. Located directly across the street from the Forest Hills Country Club, the Seven Iron Supper Club had been a community fixture for some thirty years, but now many a patron’s honest appraisal would suggest the once staid establishment was beginning to go to seed. Owned and operated from inception by Mr. Vander Stillwater, the day to day operation of Seven Irons was now the responsibility of three of Mr. Stillwater’s four sons.
The fourth and youngest son, Joseph, was a known miscreant, ne’er-do-well and itinerant gambler. Matter of fact, far as anyone could remember, Joseph’s only ever employment had been to caddy at Forest Hills. Joseph Stillwater was no longer welcome in the Stillwater home or family business; his fifteen year estrangement and whereabouts a long-standing tidbit of gossip and close community speculation. Now a more recent Stillwater rumor had the three respectable sons forcing their father to sell Seven Irons. The stories circulating ran the gamut. Some told the tale the brothers were just practicing good business. Others claimed the sons were purposely failing to maintain the establishment, and worse, skimming the take.
So, even the normally unflappable Ms. A. Albright Hampton was taken aback when lawyers representing the Caddy Corporation was accompanied by one Joseph Stillwater. Ms. Hampton banged the gavel to quiet the buzz, but the citizens’ chatter continued. She rose and called for order, and with none forthcoming, she called by name the most egregious babblers. Subsequently, silence ensued.
“how my son has acquired so much of what he can never really see.”
The Caddy Corporation’s presentation was professional, highly polished and hit all the bases. All community concerns were covered. The business model was modest, but addressed all expectations, going so far as to suggest fallbacks if the law of unintended consequences kicked in to queer the proposed intent.
Joseph Stillwater had said nothing. He just sat with his hands folded. Well manicured hands, Ms. A. Albright Hampton noted.
“Mr. Stillwater,” she addressed Joseph, “I take it you are a principal in this venture?”
“The principal, Ms. Hampton.”
“And you have other and like business concerns?”
“Some thirty, ma’am.”
“It says here,” said Ms. Hampton, fingering a file with one hand and an earring with the other, “Says here you have establishments in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, as well as… is this right, Joseph, London, Tel Aviv and Moscow?”
“It is,” replied Joseph.
“Big cities, Mr. Stillwater,” shot back Ms. Hampton, “so why in our little community?”
Joseph unfolded his hands, looked at his watch, audibly cleared his throat and said, “I would like to have lunch with my father.”
That, friends, was, as they say, the deal maker.
Six months later, the newly refurbished Seven Iron Supper Club and Deuteranopic Disco opened for business. It was a hot ticket.
Of course, Ms. A. Albright Hampton had secured reservations. Mr. Stillwater, the senior, looking ten years younger than but months ago, showed her to her table.
While traversing the crowded room, Ms. Albright came right out and asked, “Vander, Joseph is deuteranopic, isn’t he?”
“Yes,” replied Van Stillwater, seating Ms. Albright, “Strange, isn’t it,” Joseph’s father continued, “how my son has acquired so much of what he can never really see.”
All in attendance agreed the food was outstanding and the ambience so, “just so.” Of course, the real topic of the evening was the whereabouts of those three other Stillwater brothers.