Friday, April 5, 2019

Microstory 1075: Lourdes

Have you ever heard that cliché where parents tell their young child that the family pet is going off to live on a farm? Well, most of the time, that’s a lie, and the pet is actually dead. In this case, however, it’s not a lie, because I live on that farm as well. We currently have four hundred acres of land that we dedicate predominantly to the preservation of animals. We take in dogs, cats, birds, and even fish, whose owners are not able to care for them. People send us animals from all over the country, trying to prevent them from going to kill shelters. We allow them to be adopted, if someone drops by looking for that, but we don’t advertise this aspect of our business exhaustively. Of course, we don’t make any money from doing any of this, and it costs a lot to feed the creatures, and maintain the facilities. That’s why we’ve always also had a revenue-generating component in an attempt to offset our overhead. We sell horse rides, and cow-milking events, and we have a petting zoo. Unfortunately, we’ve been experiencing diminishing returns for years, and by the end of this year, we would have probably had to completely shut down. Everyone in town knew that this was about to happen, so they rallied around us to help, but there wasn’t much they could do. At best, they were able to prolong the inevitable for a month. That is, until Viola died. As you know, she was born into a very wealthy family. They probably had the most money of anyone here. At least they used to. In her will, she stipulated that a huge sum of cash be donated to our farm. I’m not at liberty to discuss the numbers publicly, but it’s enough to keep us open. This wasn’t her money; it was her parents, but they respected her wishes, and it’s been suggested that they enhanced the final amount. We just couldn’t believe it. Because of us, they are now living a lot less comfortably, and our lives have never been better. We just found out about it last week. If you had interviewed me before that, I wouldn’t have anything to tell you, because I didn’t otherwise know Viola. She seemed to know quite a bit about us, though. Not only did she have her parents send the money, but it also came with a pretty detailed business plan that could help us use the donation wisely, and keep the farm afloat indefinitely. I mean, you should see this thing; it’s a real business plan, and it doesn’t even require us to get a loan from the bank. It goes over other businesses we could start, like turning it into a destination venue, and a bed and breakfast. I don’t know how to repay them.

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