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Rank has its privileges.

"How many other bosses would've paid you for takin' those days off to be with me in the hospital an' when we brought our baby home?

"You didn't hear me say this; I'll deny it if you do, an' call you a liar to boot, but Miss Elizabeth was tellin' me, one time, that Mike an' Mandy pay themselves, together, less than they do anybody else workin' for 'em. Baby, they're doin' that, so they can build up a cash reserve, to keep the company goin' an' get it through a slow down, without havin' to lay people off.

"Think about this, too, how many people, workin' construction, or related fields, get paid holidays? And, didn't you tell me he let Jim have a couple of days off, at Christmas, when his son was in? He might not o' said anything, but I'll bet he paid him for those two days. Larry, Mike's doin' everything he can to keep you in a good payin' job, an' keep you happy to be workin' for him, an' you wanna gripe about not bein' able to kiss me durin' the day, when he kisses Mandy," she declared.

"She's right, Son," Lawrence said. "Y'all were good friends, growin' up, but things are different, now. This is real life. You've obligated yourself to give Mike a fair day's work, in exchange for a fair day's pay. He gives you a fair day's pay and expects a fair day's work in return. He also has to pay the light bill, so you can see how to do your job, buy the materials you use, an' he has to pay the upkeep on the shop an' tools, an' the taxes too. Y'all can still be friends, but you have to remember that he's the man you work for, not pal around with, now."

"I see what you mean, Dad, an' I'll admit, I never thought about it that way. He has a lot of responsibilities I'd never thought about. He's always treated us like family, out at the shop, an' always listens to our ideas. He's even told me I could work in the shop, after hours, to do some personal projects. I never thought about things like that costin' him money, but they do," Larry said, a note of wonder in his voice.

"Dad, he's the same age I am, an' we grew up right across the street from each other. Is there somethin' wrong with me, that I'm not in the same place he is?"

"No, Son," the elder Kelly shook his head solemnly. "There's nothin' wrong with you. You an' Mike might have had similar opportunities, but for the sets o' circumstances that happened to each of you. You really had no need to go to work to help support the family, because I've been here all along. Mike didn't have that luxury. He lost his dad when he was ten years old. He was old enough to understand that losin' his dad also meant losin' his dad's income - so he started in, tryin' to compensate for that with the work that he did, around the neighborhood."

"And he rarely kept any of what he made, Honey," Connie chimed in. "He handed it all over to Patsy. I know, because she always used to talk about the way Mike acted. His daddy had a life insurance policy that paid out enough to take care of the mortgage on their house, an' put some money in the bank for them, above that. Patsy made enough, where she worked, to pay all the regular bills an' taxes, an' buy groceries for them. He just couldn't get it into his head that his help wasn't needed. And, because it was at least teachin' him the sort of responsibility that'd do good for him, later in life, she just let it go. She put every penny he gave her into a special bank account, savin' it up for him, for later on. About the only times he ever kept any money were when he bought that old truck from his uncle, an' when he built that shop o' his, out in the yard - an' when he did some projects on their house."

"An' good deeds don't go unrewarded," his father added.

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