The personal property I'm referring to was a tall windmill, a large pop-out trailer, a dozen non-running cars and trucks in various stages of repair (this was Bob's hobby), and 6-8 Catepillar tractors and bulldozers. Who would ever think anyone would be able to make off with such large, heavy items? Also, 5 acres of chain link fencing already installed in the ground.
I was in an altered state after Bob's passing, my world upended. The only time I thought about the desert, a place I never cared about anyway, was when two of Bob's sons wanted the machinery their father had left to me. I produced the will, they saw what it said. But I offered them each something they thought they could use because I felt it only right.
Bob had been estranged from them for years because of their shitty attitudes, we'd tried to have a relationship with each, but they weren't interested. They never gave either of us the right time, why I don't know, they hardly knew me! They were solidly Mama's boys. They were grown men already at the time of Bob's divorce, 6 years before he met me! Whatever had gone on between Bob and their mother was way before my time. She was a gorgeous woman who knew how to wrap men around her little finger, an old-school, man-dependant simpering flirt, and her four sons protected her. By the way, she married five times!
Bob told me not to tell his sons when he passed because they'd only make trouble for me, but coming from my own very different perspective, I couldn't do that. I let them know, and offered them each something of their father's, even though he had left everything to me. I should have listened to him, he knew them better than I did.
They came up to the property and looked around. Told me there was nothing there they wanted. And then, one of them who had a boat-building business 200 miles away, installed one of his men up there as his rep, to cut apart much of the vehicles and equipment and sell it off for parts. They also sold off my windmill. The son introduced himself to all the neighbors, said his father had left everything to him. Nobody thought it unusual.
It wasn't until many months later that I went up there and found out what was going on. I went to the Police, they came to the property, questioned the son's employee in my presence. He broke down, said he never knew it was MY property, was told it was his boss's. The Police called Bob's son, who said he thought his father had left everything to him. They asked me if I wanted to press charges, but I thought it best not to. There was nothing to get back. No proof of what they'd sold off. There are no pink slips for tractors, cranes, bulldozers or junked cars. Only matchbook covers with vague references to purchases I'd never seen. This was not Bob's official business, it was his retirement hobby to keep busy when he could no longer work.
I ended up with three intact dozers, which I sold some years later to a very nice man. The windmill, the cars, and the trucks were gone. So were 3 big earth moving machines. A few years after that, 5 acres of chain-link fencing got ripped out of the ground. According to my neighbor, by a bunch of Mexicans. Who knows? Another neighbor across the street had stolen some batteries out of the cars while Bob was still alive! I have no idea who might have done what up there, with me 100 miles away.
And by the way, the police up there were not really helpful. They said they're shorthanded, not enough of them to patrol properly, and said that's what happens when you're an absentee owner.
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