Curtis and Miriam hadn’t actually frozen to death throughout the winter, but they were never warm, never cosy. The wood burner in the house worked well enough, but they had to ration the firewood to make it last throughout the winter. The next winter they wouldn’t be caught out. They lived on the edge of a pine forest, so the coming summer would be a time to collect, chop and stack firewood.
Come summer, and Curtis and Miriam put several hours a day into the firewood. By autumn, they had enough firewood to keep the fire going all day every day throughout the winter.
That was when they received a notice from their landlord to vacate the house in several weeks. It was needed. It would no longer be rented.
Curtis and Miriam looked everywhere for another house to rent. The only suitable one didn’t have a wood burner. It had a heat pump. They moved in. They sold their firewood.
Come winter, on the proceeds from the firewood, they had a wonderful two weeks basking in the sun on a tropical island.
Julia and Blair were having the time of their lives. They had been blessed with a more than comfortable life and had visited most places around the world. Of course, they had always been generous. Frequently they had been privileged to make rather large donations to the lesser privileged places they had visited.
It was a silly thing, but they had never visited a tropical island! So off they went to some golden-sanded beach on an island somewhere near Rarotonga. It was glorious! One evening they attended a traditional concert. Young men and women performed wearing traditional grass skirts and garlands. What a wonderful event! And the young man who served the cocktails at their table! Well! What a delightful native fellow! And so fluent in English as well as in Cook Island Maori!
It was such a shame that he was stuck on the island wearing all that grass and having to serve cocktails to tourists. Julia and Blair discussed the matter quietly between themselves and decided to surprise him. They would pay for his education!
The young man was thrilled! Utterly thrilled! He’d been working his fingers to the bone all summer so he could finish off his degree this coming semester. He was at Cambridge University and doing his doctorate on the influence of Euripides on the plays of Racine.