Six years ago, Chris and I decided that we would finally paint our house. I was pregnant with Haddie, sick everyday, and frankly needed a pick-me-up. A friend referred us to Ned McFeely.
Ned was a retired school teacher and administrator. He and two of his former co-workers/friends started painting houses in their retirement.
They were a joy to be around: professional, always laughing and loved having our kids (then just 6 and 4) buzzing around.
Shortly after we hired them to do the job, Ned asked me for a deposit and said it would be easiest if the deposit was made in cash so that he could easily divide the money among workers, supplies etc. So, I went to the bank and withdrew one thousand dollars in twenty dollar bills. We had such an immediate comfort with Ned and his crew that I thought nothing of throwing the money down on the foyer table and running out.
Hours later, I came home to an ashen looking Ned. “Did you say you left the cash on the table?” he asked. A frantic search ensued. Under the table, in drawers, upstairs downstairs, the money was NOWHERE to be found. Admittedly, I had spent the better part of the morning heaving my guts up so totally blamed myself for being careless.
As I rounded the corner into the family room, revved as can be, I saw Ned sitting on the steps with Maisy (then 6). “Sweetie, did you see the money mommy left on the table? You can tell Uncle Ned.” Maisy was staring at him wide eyed. Slowly but surely she nodded her head. “Don’t worry, you won’t be in trouble, I promise.” Ned reassured her.
Moments later, Maisy emerged from her room clutching her piggy bank. Inside were FIFTY perfectly folded, sqeezed flat from their travels through the tiny opening, twenty dollar bills.
I will never forget the calm, comforting demeanor Ned had. He will forever be more to us than “the man who painted our house once.”
Ned died on December 3, 2012 of ALS.