“A little nigger boy named Jerry usually cuts my grass, but I haven’t seen him in what seems like ages,” my elderly neighbor who lives the street over from mine told me this afternoon. “My yard is looking pretty bad. It’s growing embarrassing. I was hoping he would show up any day now. He cuts my grass for $10 dollars. I just can’t do it myself at my age. The heat gets to me when I try. I thought I was going to have to hire one of those expensive yard services.”
I was riding around the neighborhood on my raucous riding lawn mower looking for work. That thing is so very loud and obnoxious – the muffler heavily rusted and corroded. I know my neighbors hate me now. My first purchase for my new lawn care business will be a new muffler. I saw her yard which was overgrown and stopped to ask if she would like for me to cut it. It was the only promising looking yard after riding down several streets. Why do my neighbors have to be so fastidious about mowing their lawns? lol I wanted to see train wrecks in need of yard care and mowing. I will head over to the poorer neighborhood a few blocks over tomorrow. They tend to have messier yards, but probably less money. I will give it a good shot and a try, though.
“How much are you asking?” she asked warily as she eyed me carefully at her front door. She kept having to try and keep her cats inside which tried their best to escape through the open door. It was kind of comical. I smiled.
“$15 dollars,” I replied not wanting to push my luck with $20 dollars. I was afraid she would say no and I really needed the money. Jerry had me undercut by 5 bucks. Her yard was pretty small as well. I never was a good business man unlike my brother or father. Dad would’ve gotten $20 dollars for the job with his charm, wit, and people skills. “I just want ten dollars to eat out with tonight at Rodger’s Barbecue and five dollars for the gas I used today looking for work.”
“I’ll pay you when you finish,” she said with a nice, kind smile and shut the front door to escape back into the cool air conditioned confines of her home corralling her cats. I could feel the cold air pouring out of her house as I stood on her front porch from the opened door as she spoke to me. It has been a hot and sultry July day.
I stood there planning my next course of action and watched mesmerized as the four cats sat in the front bay window of her house watching me intently as if I were some strange creature of great interest. I then got busy cutting her grass – my only customer for the day after trying only part of the neighborhood. Most people I tried cut their own grass or they weren’t at home. It was almost a disappointing endeavor if it hadn’t have been for this one kind elderly lady. I should have ridden around longer and further afield, but I was worried about running out of gas and I didn’t have any money on me at the time to buy more. I was pushing my luck gas-wise as each house proved fruitless. I had left my gas tank at home as well. I would never get that riding lawn mower back to my house by pushing it if it ran out of gas. It is extremely heavy and cumbersome.
“Your John’s son!” she exclaimed with bright eyes of acknowledgement when I knocked on the door when I was finished.
“Yes ma’am,” I replied. “He’s my dad.”
“He’s a good man and a good pharmacist. I used to trade with him for years and years. My prescriptions are cheaper now at Wal-Mart, though. I thought I recognized you. You worked down there for years I remember. I would always remember seeing you sweeping the front of the store.”
“Sweeping was one of my primary jobs,” I replied with a warm smile.
I certainly wouldn’t tell dad that about Wal-Mart! lol He grumbles about Wal-Mart’s pharmacy all the time stealing his business. It is a small world and a small town, though. Dad knows everyone in the Valley. He is always well liked by everybody. I wasn’t surprised that she knew him.
“Here’s your fifteen dollars,” the lady told me pulling the bills out of her well worn wallet. “It looks good. You did a good job. It didn’t take you very long either.”
“Thank you,” I replied relieved to have gotten paid at last with money in hand. “I really appreciate your business. And thank you for being so kind. You are treating me to a good meal tonight and gas to continue my business.”
“Well, you earned it dear. Check back with me in a week or two, and if Jerry hasn’t come then I will let you cut it again. I will probably feel more comfortable with you doing it anyway instead of Jerry since you’re John’s son. I might want you to trim my shrubbery for $10 extra dollars as well. It needs shaping up badly.”
“Thank you! I will check back in a week!” I told her excitedly and got on my mower and drove down the street to home. I felt I had done enough for the day and didn’t want to push my luck as far as my anxiety is concerned.
I had the biggest, goofiest grin on my face as I drove down the street over the raucous din of my mower. I looked like I had just won the lottery. Persistence had paid off. I had my first customer and I was going to get that barbeque plate at Rodger’s after all.
I don’t know when Charlie is arriving tonight. He works for a government agency in Dadeville and I am not sure if the government worked today or not. If they did, then I probably won’t see him till eight or so. I am looking forward to my peace inducing Klonopin after a very busy day. I want to take my medications and just meld into this Lazy Boy while I watch Bones in a medication induced stupor. My medications can make me feel so out of it at times for which I love feeling abnormal in a good way. I will probably need to get my barbeque plate to-go just in case Charlie does come earlier. Rodger’s closes at nine. I plan on being there well before that.
***** UPDATE *****
“Your uncle Charlie’s here!” Charlie said exuberantly after knocking on my door as he pushed what few hairs he has left on his head across his scalp as is his nervous habit to help cover his baldness. “I’ve brought you gifts! Walk out to your dad’s truck and help me carry these boxes of magazines in.”
Charlie is constantly going to yard sales and estate sales. He had been off work today after all. At an estate sale, he had bought a complete collection of Model Railroader magazines from the 70’s and 80’s – all the magazines I had read in my youth. I was overjoyed and so pleasantly surprised. Charlie is such a kind and thoughtful soul. I love him dearly.
“How much did this cost?” I asked worried. “Dad will pay you back out of my account.”
“I got them all for only $100 dollars,” Charlie said proud of his wheeling and dealing. “I saw them and just knew you would love them and had to have them. They had more, but this was all I bought. The elderly man who had owned the house had trains in his attic. I love trains as well when I don’t have to wait for them at crossings.”
Charlie burst out laughing at what he last said. I chuckled as well although I love to wait at crossings to watch a train. I consider it the only “sport” I care to watch.
“I will be reading for weeks!” I replied excitedly. “I already recognize some of these covers. I wore these magazines out reading them when I was a kid. I lost them all over the years or they just fell apart and mom threw them away.”
There must have been about ten boxes of magazines and we finally got them all inside my computer room on the floor. My heart rate got increased from the heavy boxes and I told Charlie I had to take a break at one moment. He brought me a cold diet Coke to calm me and I weakly laughed. The last thing I needed when anxiety was at bay. Charlie just doesn’t understand how my anxiety works sometimes. He means well, though.
“We’re going to go get something to eat now,” Charlie said hugging me and urging me to the door. “Then we will take your medications when we get home and you can drink your diet Cokes for the night. I know you have to have those diet Cokes. That’s your favorite ritual. You mother said to be sure you got them every night. She about drove me crazy about them.”
Charlie and I drove to Arby’s and got our usual and favored #19 special. We are both hooked on that meal. The sandwiches tonight were just packed with turkey and I could only eat half ever mindful of my bulimia. Charlie and I laughed and laughed as we talked and ate our meals. Charlie has such a dry, but good sense of humor. His laughter was so contagious. I will just have to save my Roger’s plate for tomorrow.
“Are you going to watch Bones tonight?” I asked hoping he would. I told him the times and the channel. He has gotten hooked on the show along with dad.
“I will if you will,” he said.
“Then you are going to have to watch because I don’t miss an episode!”
We took my medications and now I have to wait about thirty minutes to an hour for them to take effect. Charlie has left to go take care of a few things such as getting Horsefly’s nightly KFC chicken finger plate, then he is coming back over to watch Bones with me at eight. We have three episodes tonight and it will be a joy! Charlie said he is only going to watch one episode, though, much to my chagrin. He needs to go home before it gets too late. He really worries about Horsefly. I would really like the companionship tonight. I don’t want him to go home.