He remembered the limited feeling of satisfaction after he so closely followed the Nuremberg trials back in 1946, which resulted in nine of Hitler's henchmen swinging from the end of a rope. It was almost an anti‑climax when they were hung. It didn't stop the pain of losing his father and sister or the countless friends who died fighting the cancer of the Nazis. Today's newspaper item only stirred the demons of hatred, bitterness and anger within him. All he wanted to do was forget the past, but the past would not forget him. Every memory brought with it other recollections that carried unbearable pain.
Vance was right. Oil had made Jerry very rich. Money dripped from the affluent fingers of the Adamson family. Everything Jerry touched turned to gold. What's more, everyone liked him. Why wouldn't they? He became a giver of fine gifts‑‑big gifts‑‑cars, boats and money, lots of money. The Royse City authorities also liked him because he was very philanthropic. Generosity was his middle name. Oil made him millions, but he had shrewdly transferred his wealth into stocks and shares, which had greatly increased his fortune. He was a risk‑taker in war and a risk‑taker in peace, and his risk‑taking had paid huge dividends.
Jeremiah P. Adamson was no longer the simple‑living farmer he had been in England. Money does strange things to people, and over the years affluence changed him into a man of the world. He had become a man who optimized Shakespeare's warning to "flee ambition, for by such sin fell the angels."
Amidst the sea of wealth Connie and Jerry had drifted apart and virtually lived two separate lives in their own home. Jerry's life was consumed with running his business and taking care of his money, and Connie's life was devoted to Elizabeth and Johnny.
Although his name was a household word in the district, the public wasn't aware that many of his business dealings had created adversaries. The business world is a hard and steep climb, and often one has to tread on a few fingers to get there. After death‑threats started, bodyguards followed Jerry almost everywhere he went. There were also more than a few large and shady financial dealings with people that the police had been investigating, but the investigations never came too close to Jeremiah P. Adamson, thanks to friends in high places.
To be continued...