Mandy’s new computer.

Homer and his wife Mandy stop by our store every other month when they come to town to pick up supplies. They homestead in Montezuma Valley near Ranchita. Homer scratches out a living working as a ranch hand and doing odd jobs. Mandy runs their small ranch and supplements their income by making apple dolls and other crafts for the tourist traps in Julian.

It’s a hard life and they both show it. Homer is wiry, rawboned and tough as leather. Mandy’s thin face has the drawn, careworn look of someone who is accustomed to scrimping and doing without. She almost never smiles and usually follows quietly behind her “I’ll do all the talkin” husband.  

Homer shot a stream of tobacco juice in the outdoor planter before he opened our door and walked in ahead of his wife.  He cradled an ancient computer in his arms.

“Well I reckon its time to upgrade Ole Bessie,” said Homer placing the computer on our evaluation bench. “I paid good money for her back in 98 but she just can’t cut the mustard any more”. Homer’s wife looked nervous. “Mandy’s been savin up her egg money and I figured we could upgrade Ole Bessie to Windows XP and put a new CPU in ‘er. How much will it cost?”

We plugged in Homer’s computer, booted it up and filled out an evaluation sheet. There was absolutely nothing that could but used from their ten year old computer to achieve an upgrade to Windows XP. When we added up the parts and labor it would simply be a new computer.

“Can’t you use anything at all from ole Bessie in the new computer,” pleaded Homer? I thought about it for a minute.

“The old power cord would work but it only saves you a dollar” I said.

Homer rubbed his chin and looked at the ceiling. “That makes it cost about $500 plus tax for the upgrade. “How much would it be for a brand new computer just like it?” I told him it would cost exactly the same amount... Homer thought for a moment, and then he spoke. “Dad gummed computer is just like a woman,” he grinned at Mandy and continued, “you’re better off gittin a new one than tryin to keep the old one up”. Mandy shifted nervously. 

Homer thought for a second and then said “Heck just make me a new computer and I’ll hang on to the old one for a spare”. Homer turned to Mandy “Give the man the money sweetheart”, said Homer to his wife.

I looked at Homer and asked “Would you like to have the files copied over from Ole Bessy to your new computer?” Homer started to say something but Mandy stepped in front of him. “That won’t be necessary,” said Mandy as she pulled a stack of neatly folded bills from her handbag. Her smile lit up the room. “I won’t need Homer’s old files in my new computer” she said sweetly.