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Friday, February 8, 2013


"Walter The Glass Guy"
Not the real Walter, a stunt Walter.
When last we left Cranky Old Man, he was worried that the window he contracted for with a giant of a mountain man would cost more than he could afford.

If you need to catch up, go here to PART I 


A week after his visit, Walter called.  He was finished and ready to install our new window.  Walter came the next day.  He took out the old window and replaced it with a stain glass creation more beautiful than either of us ever imagined.  How those giant frying-pan hands could create such a delicate piece of art was beyond me.

“Walter, it’s beautiful…ah we never talked about a price.  How much do you want?”

I was prepared for $500, hoping for $300, and mentally figuring out a payment plan for anything higher.  I was damn sure not going to haggle over the price and piss off a man mountain!

“Oh..ah..I was thinking…do you think $140 is fair?”

“How much?”

“One forty.”

The sigh I let out shook the house.  “Ah yes, that’s fair, that’s very fair.”

I wrote Walter a check for $200 made out to cash per his request, and told him anything less for such beautiful work would be stealing. 

“Thanks Mr. Hagy I appreciate that.  I might not cash this right away, I’m leaving tonight for Baltimore, got a big pool tournament.  When I’m not working with glass, I’m shooting pool.”

That is the last we saw of Walter.  Three days later I got a call.

“Is this Joe Hagy?”


“Mr. Hagy, my name is Jim O’Brian.  I own “Big Jim’s Bar and Pool Hall” in Baltimore.  Do you know someone named Mickey Hasslet?”

“Never heard of him…why?”

“Well this guy Mickey has a check made out to cash and signed by you.  Check is for $200, said he won it from Walter the glass guy.”

“Oh…Walter…yes, I gave him that check for work he did for me.  The check is good.”

“Well OK, thanks Mr. Hagy, I don’t trust that Mickey, dudes a no account drunk.  Only thing he’s good for is he shoots a mean game of pool.  I’m going to hang onto the check.  If I see Walter I’ll give it to him and let him work it out with Mickey.  Hell, Mickey was so drunk when he tried to cash it, he don’t even remember I got it.”

“Oh…OK, sure, give it to Walter, he earned it for sure.  Thanks.”

I called Walter several times before he finally answered.  I told him about the check and Mickey, and I told him the bar was holding the check for him.

“Yeah, Mickey won the money from me fair and square.  Hell he was so drunk I couldn’t believe he could even see the table.  Turns out the little bastard is so good he could beat most anybody even though he could barely stand.  The money is Mickey’s fair and square.”

That is the last I ever heard from Walter. 

Mickey never claimed his $200.  Walter wouldn’t collect it because it was Mickey’s fair and square and "Big Jim" never cashed the check.

I was scared of not being able to pay for a beautiful stain glass window.  I was afraid of pissing off a long haired bearded giant.  I ended up with a beautiful stain glass window. 


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  1. Wow, this story took on twists that I wasn't expecting! A delightful outcome. How refreshing to hear about some folks with integrity... both you and Walter! I love stories about folks that are not at all what they first appear, which is certainly true of Walter... stained glass artist and a pool shark - interesting combination!

  2. You live quite a life Cranky...Loved this story so did you think FREE every time you went by that stained glass

  3. Well, that makes me Happy/Sad. I am happy that Walter is one of those rare people who doesn't try to overcharge anyone (in fact, I am worried that he gets habitually ripped off). He also won't take money that he sees as belonging to someone else "fair and square" even that person doesn't know that it is there because they were so drunk and cannot recall it. Most people would see that as an opportunity to reclaim their check after putting in all of that work. Not Walter. He lost that money "fair and square." He no longer sees it as his.

    The world needs more Walters. We would have a lot less problems. I think I would look at that window and see Integrity and Independence. Maybe even Liberty. All of the ideals this country was founded on...

  4. Walter was obviously a big, gentle bear--& a sweetheart!!

  5. Free is a very good price, especially for a fabulous stained glass window. Walter was obviously a person of high moral standards, probably rare for a giant pool playing glass worker.

  6. Fun little story. I once overpaid for a piece of beautiful underpriced art, wanting to encourage the artists. My check was cashed.

  7. That's one hella story, Joe. Thanks for that.

  8. I'm looking for a Director of Purchasing. You interested? ;)


  9. Now THAT was a turbulent tale of non-betrayal!

  10. This has got to be one of my favourite stories, Joeh! I never would have guessed the ending! And the window is absolutely gorgeous, too!