Doing Our Sums

All day an old accountant sits on the porch of a lodge in a rocking chair looking out over the lake toward the surrounding mountains. Most of the time his eyes are closed as the routine activities of children playing, adults gossiping, and staff working all go on. When asked what he’s doing he usually answers, “I’m counting my sums.” His answer is interpreted to mean that the old accountant is still counting his client’s money or inventory. Most laugh at his daily routine, joking, “the old man has lived too long.”

One day, a young man sits down by the old accountant and asks, “what do you do all day?”
The man responds, “I’m counting my sums.”
This young man doesn’t leave him alone and follows up, “What sums do you count? I don’t think you count your money?”

The old man smiled. “You ask what I count each evening and each morning. What I counted each day in concentration camp while better men withered and died. Do you want to know the sums I counted?”
The young man looked at him closely and shook his head, yes.
“I count my blessings.”

The old man continued, “We are all blessed and we’re all blighted, young man. Every day each of us does our sums. The question is, what do we count?”

About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

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