God walks these dark hills.
Aiden Palmer is a man of strong opinions and beliefs. While he didn't believe in religion as his family do; he was not firmly opposed to it as some people are. All he needed is something to guide his way. The Palmer's are staunch Christians and the cornerstone of life in Manderton. It wasn't that he didn't believe, Aiden's doubts stemmed from a lack of proof, the faith his family had was never strong in Aiden. He preferred to believe in what he can see, feel and smell.
Though not wealthy, Aiden had made a name for himself selling antiques. His friends would tease him about his shabby appearance considering how much he earned with his reputation for hard sales in the antique world. The most common remark is "Aiden, why don't you dress better, that way you can get the ladies you deserve with your reputation."
Aiden's standard comeback is "If I need to dress well to get a nice young lady, then she is not after me as a person. If a lady wants to be with me, then she'll need to accept me as I am, not as a showpiece for her arm. If all she is after is a smart man, what happens when my looks fade, or I lose my job? If looks and wealth vanish, all that remains is the inner person, and that is who I wish to be known as, not the wealthy dealer of antiques.”
More often than not, you could find him tinkering about in old clothes and covered in oil, not the clothes you would expect an antique expert to wear. But Aiden was not a man to whom appearance meant a lot.
Aiden's passion is classic motorcycles, and he is never happier than when he went to an auto-jumble show. He has the money to afford anything he liked, but he is wise enough to realize one day his fortunes will run out. So want the parable of the fatted calves. The more he earns, the more he can save for the days when his charms run out, and he needs to fall back on his savings.
Aiden spends most of his spare time in his garage. If he isn’t tinkering with the engines, he is ringing the local motorcycle clubs to see if any meetings are going on that he could compete in over the weekend.
Racing never brings the money in. If Aiden gets placed in the top five of the races, he can cover his costs. The money was not the draw as the business is running well. The passion that drives Aiden is being on the bike and feeling free to ride.
Aiden’s friend, Johnathon Carter, came to see him one day. Knowing Aiden for many years, he knew where to look for him first, as he walked into the garage, Johnathon called:” Aiden, are you here?”
From the back of the garage, Aiden called back: “I’ll be with you in a minute, Johnathon, I need to fix the throttle on the Greeves, she’s twitching when I change gears. I need to fix it for the races next month.”
“Can I ask a question?”
“Sure, you know me, you may not get the answer you want, but it will be the truth.”
“Are you going to the ball next week? All the eligible young ladies will be there, and I know several have been asking about you.”
“Let’s see, next week you say. Sorry, I have a big meeting at Mont St. Joseph on Sunday, and then I’m going to the church to say a prayer for some friends who are in trouble.”
“You? Going to church, that’s a new image, Aiden, I never had you down as one to pray.”
“I do, often, not for myself but to try to help others. I may not believe in the Lord, but if they do that is their choice, and I respect their choices. The same way I hope people respect mine.”
Johnathon saw Aiden smile to himself, and he said, "Are you going to let me in on the joke, or is it one of your private jokes?"
Aiden wiped the oils off his hand, then commented:" There's nothing private, I was thinking about all of you fine young people dancing the night away and sipping champagne, while I will be sat at home with a coffee watching TV. Besides, you know that isn't my scene, all those false attitudes, other than you, I doubt one sincere person is going to the ball next week."
"WOW! I knew you didn't like the balls, but don't you think that harsh? After all, you are not poor yourself."
"Yes, but at least I kept my integrity and common sense approach. You know me as well as anyone, do you think having money has changed me?"
Johnathon had to think for a short while, and then he said:" To be honest, it has. You have become more insular as the years have gone by; look at your life today. You have few friends, you hardly go out and spend your time working on old motorcycles. That wouldn't be so bad if you were ten to fifteen years older, but now is the time you should be enjoying yourself."
"Who says I'm not enjoying my life? It's true that I don't get out a lot, but I don't like the scenes you go to; I'd prefer to go to the local pub and have a pie and a pint than to a ball and sip champagne. I feel like a fish out of water in your social circle, Johnathon."
"So, I can't get you to change your mind!"
"Sorry, but I have my life to lead, my way. You like your lifestyle, but it' doesn't suit me."
"I really can't understand you, Aiden."
"There isn't a lot to understand, Johnathon. I am a person of few needs, and I enjoy my life of peace. Other than that, I am what you see; I have few desires, and the need to be seen at the local galas comes not far from the bottom of my list. If I am to meet a young lady, it will come in time, and not by being forced to meet at a ball each month. If the ball were for a charity, then I would go, but all this is for, as far as I can see is to uphold the old way of meeting upper-class young ladies; most will have no interest in me, other than for my status."
"My, you do have a low opinion of us, don't you."
"Well, I got where I am through working, not because daddy's money bought my success; so I won't apologize for not liking my contemporaries."
"So, where are you off to next weekend?"
"There's a national championship meeting at Mont St. Michael that I have entered. The meeting will be a weekend trip as it's too far to get back in a day, but I am sure I can find a room at the local, and enjoy the company of the riders as we discuss the rounds to come."