Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lifetime Renter

Herkimer and Matilda Bitterman have lived next door since they married fifteen years ago.  Herk and Tildy are good neighbors, keep the place up nicely, and don’t bother me unduly.  Herk will borrow a tool now and again, but he always returns the item by and by.  The Bittermans rent the house from Herk’s father.  Now the elder Mr. Bitterman, “Bitty” to his friends, is married to Herk’s high school classmate, Lyla.

Six years ago when Bitty told his son he was going to marry Lyla, Herk said, “Dad! What are you thinking?” 

“That,” replied his father, “is none of your business.”

And that was so.

I once asked Herk why he rented.  Wouldn’t his dad sell him the house, I wondered.

“Here’s the deal.  Dad has the monthly income from the rent.  Part of his retirement package, you see.  If I bought the house, Lyla would go through the money in a week.  Then where’s his income?”

“Your dad could sell it to you on contract.”

“True.  But it would pay out eventually, income stops.”

“But your father is surely going to pass before Lyla does.  Then she’ll get the house, and you will be out of luck.”

“Not at all.  Dad’s will specifically conveys the house to me and Tildy.  Lyla gets the house where 
 they live and the IRA.”  Works for everyone.”

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