I won't give his real name here because I don't know if he'd like being talked about, although I don't suppose he's still alive. When I was living in Los Fresnos, one of our ambulance board members was a wealthy farmer. Howard owned land everywhere, including a lot of farms that other people farmed, as well as interest in the bank, the hardware store, and several other businesses, because when someone had a good idea and needed help getting something started, he'd invest in it. Several people told me he was the wealthiest person in the county. The ambulance company was a volunteer service, separate from the city, so when I needed to do something big, like buy a new ambulance or bid on an emergency contract for a new area, I needed to have the support of the board. At first, I thought that the power behind the board was in the board president, who was also president of the bank. Later, I learned that, while the board president did have influence, the key to getting something done was to persuade Howard. Howard drove a pickup truck that was more than ten years old, wore coveralls, and although I didn't attend the same church that he did, I was told that he wore new coveralls to church, but I expect that was an exaggeration. You couldn't imagine a more humble person. He treated pretty much everyone as if they were just as important as anyone else, and himself as if he didn't have much to say about anything. Nevertheless, I learned that if I could persuade Howard that I needed something, I'd have it. He ran his business from a restaurant. Some days, he would come in for breakfast, hang around drinking coffee until it was lunch time, and then drink coffee until suppertime. Between his cellphone, at a time when cellular phones were huge, and a mobile radio, he kept up with his farming operations and other things. Plus people knew where they could find him, so those who were in town would drop by for a cup of coffee. He was talking about how much work farming was once, and another farmer asked him just when he did all of that work. "I come in here for breakfast and you're here. If I stop in sometime in the afternoon, you're still here, and I know you close the place down at night." He didn't give deference to anyone, nor did he expect it. He wasn't one of those people who would be nice to you as long as you agreed with him. If you disagreed with him, he expected you to let him know it and make your case, and he didn't seem particular about how that was done. He told me, early on, that he didn't want me agreeing with him unless I really agreed with him, and that if I agreed with everything he said, then I must not be doing my job. He had a great sense of humor and never seemed to take offense at anything other than being lied to. He wasn't too respectful of laziness, either. But he'd sit down with a guy who worked at a gas station and carry on as much of a conversation as with anyone else. He did, however, have a huge house, which he apologized for, and blamed his wife. As it was being added onto, he complained that his only son was about to go away to college and probably wouldn't be returning home, yet his wife thought she needed a bigger house. "There's parts of that house that I haven't even been in," he said.