“Howdy maam, my name is Andy Dray, I do yard work. I am good, I am less costly than all of these young kids, and I take pride in my work. I noticed you live alone, could I interest you in retaining my services to do your yard and any other work you may have?” Pat had just gotten up from her nap, her usual two hour nap after she returned from the fitness center. She enjoyed doing her yard work but the mowing and trimming was getting too much for this athletic 70 year old.
“Do you have references, where do you live, what is your telephone number,” she quickly asked the man standing at her back door with an old beat up straw Stetson in his hand. He had thinning white hair, a short trimmed white beard, wore clean but well worn Dockers and a blue chambray shirt and his feet were shod with brown high top work shoes, clodhoppers. His hands were not dirty and gnarled, but there were a few calluses. This man had not done this type work all of his life.
He reached into his shirt pocket and handed Pat a business card, “I think that will give you enough to check up on me, unless you want a DD686 a personal history application for advanced security clearances, and Maam, I do not think I would want to work for you if I required that much scrutiny.” He smiled, his brown eyes twinkling, “I only do yard work and general handyman work.” She looked at him. “No maam, I do not have any references from this town, it is do this type work or work at WallyMart and I like to be outside where I can watch the clouds, hear the birds and see any littler critters that happen to be scampering about.”
“Are you working for any of my neighbors,” Pat asked.
“No maam, you are the first place I have tried, you are my first potential customer. As I said I take pride in my work and once I determine what you like and dislike I know you will be happy with my work.” He could tell she was thinking. “Tell you what maam, I will mow and trim, if you like it you pay me what you think I earned. Then next week or when it needs it again, I will do it and if you are happy we will settle on a price either by the job or by the hour. But by the hour you run the risk of getting in trouble if you are appointed to a high Federal position and they determine you did not pay my Social Security, even though I am not a minority.”
“Me appointed to a high federal position, not hardly I am only a retired school teacher.” Pat was laughing. “Andy Dray you wait until I get my hat and glasses, then I will give you a try. I love to do yard work and gardening but a lot of it is getting too much for me.” Pat got her old shoes on, found her dark glasses and her big straw gardening hat, “Lets tour the grounds,” she said.
Five minutes turned to ten, ten to twenty and an hour later they had covered the small front area, large backyard and flower garden. “I should have brought a recorder so I can keep all of this straight, shucks, I thought I would mow trim, rake, and go.” Andy liked this attractive older lady with the straight stance and long brown hair.
“You go ahead, I have some errands to run and when I get back we will check your work,” Pat said as she went into the house, thinking about this odd yardman.
Andy went to his little blue Datsun pickup, took out his tools after getting a good drink of water and a new stick of gum. Soon he was busy and barely noticed the Toyota Camry back out of the drive and go West. He did exactly what she wanted, plus did a little trimming that was needed. When he was finished he looked and her car was still gone. “Aw well, lunch time he said as he went to his truck, got his lunch bag and a spiral binder. He went into the backyard, sat down under her large maple tree and began to eat his lunch and write in the spiral notebook. He finished his lunch and began to write, becoming oblivious to the world around him. “Is that what you do when the boss is gone, sit down and write notes? What is that how to break in, how to burglarize my house?”
Andy jumped up, “Sorry maam, you said to wait until you returned, so I had my lunch and was doodling, awaiting your return.” He was looking her in the eye, “Check it out and tell me how I did,” he said.
Pat went inside, got her old shoes, her dark glasses and her big hat came back and started looking. Andy followed a few steps behind, saying nothing as she looked, stopped, looked and walked on, her eyes taking in each and everything. “I see you trimmed those three forsythia limbs that were too long, and you changed the curvature of the rose bed, yada, yada, yada.” She walked back to the house, “Just a minute,” she said as she went inside and got her purse. She only had seven dollars, so she got her checkbook and went back outside. “How much do I owe you,” she asked.
Andy laughed, “If you remember I said I would do the work and you should pay me what you thought it was worth, as a job or to you not having to do it yourself.”
“I do not know, how long did it take, I know what the neighbors pay those kids who fly in their radios blaring, jump out cut the grass, do a little trimming and are gone. You did a good job, you tell me.”
He looked at her, “Obviously I pleased you, it took me a little over two hours, but if you do not know then obviously it was worth nothing for you could have and would have done an equal or superior job. I will come back when the grass needs mowing again, if you wish, otherwise I will be gone, to see if I can find a few more customers.” With that, Andy turned and headed for his little blue Datsun, leaving Mrs. Patricia Skidmore standing at her back door. He got into his truck and went down the street.
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