Like Sweetened Squash

It ended up being a “Thank goodness it’s Friday” after spending nearly my entire morning working on a closing file that’s grown thicker by the day. Oh how I absolutely hate having to deal with un-released child support judgements which hang on to a person’s life like emotional parasites which bite all the harder when trying to get them released.

After getting my seller calmed down enough to where I could explain the situation, I stood there while he was attempting to get some direction from our State’s Child Support Recovery Unit. Oh how times have changed! Comparing the hoops a person has to jump thru in today’s world when trying get in contact with the right person, is at least three times as cumbersome as it was twenty or more years ago. Before I left, he did manage to get the name and number of the person who’s in charge of his file, but of course his phone call went automatically to an answering machine. It wasn’t until mid-afternoon when he phoned saying he did finally make contact, but the information he’s needing, wouldn’t be emailed to him until Tuesday at the earliest.

You can bet I had my say about how this digitalization of information regarding our lives, having gone too far, and mainly due to the fact that we’re become slaves to the computers. I’m familiar enough with computers to know that when garbage information is fed into them, garbage will be retrieved. There’s no question many of you have lived thru situations where you’ve had to fight like the dickens to get some erroneous piece of information corrected. It’s definitely not fun, and those who’ve gone thru it, know it.

Just to make him feel better, I did share with him the amount of time and investigation I’d already done, just to be able to explain the whole situation clearly. Once again, I had to profusely thank the head abstractor at Cerro Gordo County Abstract for taking the time to make sure it wasn’t something they’d missed, along with her showing me what the exact problem was, and the avenues we could take to get it corrected.

In spite of Iowa being the only “abstract” State in the Union, I’m still convinced our method of maintaining clear title on real estate here in Iowa, is the best because those abstracts are printed and bound histories of title on all the lands in our State, so when a qualified title attorney passes clear title on a given piece of real estate, you know it’ll be good to go when you’re ready to sell. So if there’s a problem with title, it’s almost always something the current owner had done to cause the “cloud”, so at least we don’t have to go back and fix something a previous owner did or didn’t do. Updating a normal abstract in our County, usually runs around $260.00, and if a new one has to be built, you’re looking at $500.00 or more, depending on the number of entries that have to be made.

When a new abstract has to be built, they don’t go all the way back and pick up information that’s say 100 years old, because there’s a cut-off of time which is allowed by law, and if I’m not mistaken, it’s either 30 or 40 years. The “root of title” must always be included, but the rest of those entries are purposely left out.

One idea I had some years ago, would be for a retired abstractor, to start a part-time job of creating full-blown abstracts for homeowners who’re wanting all the courthouse records pertaining to their homes, entered into a new, and easy to read abstract. Many years ago, they would incorporate into abstracts of their day, everything pertaining to ownership including wills, divorces, judgements, mortgages, and everything else that could possibly affect marketable title. As chance would have it, several years ago, I had the opportunity to read pages upon pages of a legal dispute over inheritance. I took the time to check the dates, and to my shock, that tug of war went on for nearly 20 years before it was resolved. From what I gathered in my readings, it appeared the attorney representing the deceased individual, purposely drug it on, just so he’d have an un-deserved stream of income. When I saw his name, I remember hearing stories back when I started selling real estate, being told by the really old Realtors about that particular attorney. Yes, there are bad apples in every professional barrel.

I had some time to kill today, so I decided to call a dear friend whom I’d not seen or heard from in a month. Today’s conversation was even more interesting than normal, and mostly due to each one of us, sharing information about a person, place or thing, that the other didn’t know. Yes, it was quite the revealing session of sharing our scoops.

While talking about various trees, I was delighted to find her most favorite of trees is also Hackberry. I think she’s the first person I know who finds them the most attractive and sustaining. I did forget to tell her that once upon a time, I decided to taste one of the small seeds that drop later in the season from them, and only because of how the birds seem to enjoy eating them. Truth be told, they taste like sweetened squash, which makes me now wonder if our Native American Indians gathered and ate them, and since Hackberry trees are native to our area, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

If you’re wondering what type of trees are in Central Park in our Downtown, the tallest and biggest around, are likely Hackberry. I just love looking at the nubby bark which has a silvery cast at certain times of the year. Another positive feature about them, is that they’re a storm-resistant hardwood. Back in 2018 when we had the Memorial Day straight-line wind from the west, I lost one which had been strong and stately for generations. Oh well, even the “oldies” aren’t capable of resisting those nasty windstorms we’ve had these past seven to ten years.

Tonight’s One-liner is: The more you practice tolerating discomfort, the more confidence you’ll gain in your ability to accept new challenges.

Joe Chodur

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