Blogging from A to Z Challenge — Letter S


Today’s Positive Adjective:
Sedulous: involving or accomplished with careful perseverance

Costas was the black sheep of the family. He didn’t fit the family’s mold. His parents fostered a competitive drive in the children. They encouraged them to take part in every prestigious extra-curricular activity and demanded the highest grades. The goal was to achieve admittance to the most renowned colleges. They applied the same exacting criteria the children’s colleges, their jobs, and their lives.

They pushed Costas disappointed that he didn’t surpass the family’s ideals. Costas didn’t lack intelligence, to the contrary, he scored higher on the standardized test than his brothers and sisters and they, therefore, expected stellar performances from him. He didn’t understand their urgency, their mad dash from one requirement to the next. Costas preferred a less hectic, uncomplicated life.

When his grandmother died, she left her estate to her grandchildren. His brothers and sisters were interested in her cash. Her house and the acreage surrounding it had fallen into disrepair. The old Georgian mansion had been her home for fifty years. She had closed most of the residence after her husband passed and opted to occupy the front parlor, while the adjacent music room became her bedroom. Later, she added a small refrigerator, microwave, and a hot plate to the butler’s pantry, saying the kitchen was too far away.

The family accessed the old home as a tear-down, a building not worth saving. The cost of rehabbing let alone maintaining the site was daunting. It would be a colossal waste of money they said.  But Costas disagreed. He bought out his sibling’s interest, keeping the land and the house, while they fought over the remaining assets.

Costas closed the rusted gate which had once been the grand entrance to the estate and drove his jeep down the overgrown allée. He recognized the design’s magnificence. Long ago, manicured grounds lined the graveled drive as it turned and dipped, providing tantalizing peeks of the stately home. He planned to see it restored. How he would accomplish the feat was a mystery to him.

He wondered at his folly as he unlocked the front door and discovered it was swollen shut. He walked around the mansion, stepping over fallen slate roof tiles and detoured past vast bramble patches. The ancient servants’ entrance granted him access. The mansion’s dark, shuttered rooms overflowed with furniture draped with sheets to protect the pieces from the mile-high accumulation of dust. Cobwebs loomed, formidable sentries who challenged his every step. Costas bravely advanced.

The ensuing months found him working late into the night to devise a plan. He devoted his weekends to inventories, assessments and prioritizing the jobs vital for the home’s preservation and tabled the jobs which would have to wait. Securing the estate had depleted his finances, and he knew he needed to finance the endless work. He turned his attention to his fallow land. A local farmer agreed to lease acreage for crop production which provided funds. Next on his list was restoring the vineyards and orchards and upgrading miles of pasture fencing. He arranged a loan to repair and replace the expansive slate roof and prayed his calculations were accurate so he could repay the loan.

With sedulous planning, Costas made steady progress. He ran into setbacks, but they didn’t stop him. The community supported his efforts and were valuable resources. They provided guidance and supplied him with solutions from historical lore.

The mansion gained national acclaim. Artisans offered their skills with the restoration. Local businesses approached him with novel ideas for partnerships and soon they boasted a first-class restaurant, an art gallery, and became a popular venue for celebrations. As the estate blossomed, Costas’ payroll expanded as he hired people to run the estate’s various activities.

Costas hosted an annual family reunion to mark the anniversary of his grandmother’s death. Initially, they were small gatherings, but each year the event’s importance grew. Costas labored with love to pay homage to his legacy. His dedication and his drive impressed his family. He defined new family values and the once black sheep became a shining example.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

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