Guest editorial: Guys and gals
I have arrived, I guess. I have a guy who cuts my lawn and rakes my leaves. Colin, a great kid, a ski racer. His parents drive him here and wait for him to finish. Great parents. And when he is in training in Italy or Argentina, his mother or a friend comes over and cuts my lawn. I wonder if they shovel snow.
Colin started at $20 a cut. This year he wanted $40. We settled at $30 and a $5 tip.He’s a good negotiator but it’s not about the money, it’s about responsibility and accountability and he is reliable. I’ve been looking for a kid to cut my lawn for years and could not find one willing or able. Colin is a lifesaver. So, I can dawdle at my own little token projects, go for a bike ride or hit the hammock. I’m free.
Our lawns are our tangible symbol of Americana. I can’t grasp the sum total of the reality of the real world, but if my lawn is neat and trim then all must be right in the universe. It is our membership card in our neighborhood, keeping up with the Joneses and maintaining our property values. It is our grounding in the middle class where all the real work happens, and the fun is. It’s the visual instant gratification few of us get from our butto- pressing employment anymore. It’s like our meticulously shoveled driveways in the winter, neat and clean.
The point is I don’t have to do it and I love that. I was getting tired of it, dreading it. Brown lawn is currently fashionable but now I just say, let it grow. I know my dad taught us to cut our own lawn, rake our own leaves and shovel our own snow, but I am sick of yard maintenance. It never stops, you are never done. The lawn keeps growing, even with minimal expensive water — it takes hundreds of dollars of water a month to sustain my lawn, water that could be put to good use somewhere else, but brown is not beautiful here yet, so we feed it and weed it and water it and cultivate it so it grows well and has to be cut more — and the leaves and snow keep falling. But I’ve got a guy now.
That is the best thing about living in this small town for many years. You have a guy (or gal) for everything. No matter if you are fixing or building something, painting the house or cutting the lawn, you have a guy, local or immigrant, who takes care of you. He doesn’t overcharge you or blow smoke up your butt, he just does the job at a good price. And if they have questions on hydrology or engineering, water, rivers or dams, I help them out. I’m their guy.
It’s a specialized society we live in, particularly in a small town. I’ve got a guy who tunes my bike and skis, a guy that designed my house and one who built it, an electrician and a plumber, a dentist and a doctor. It takes a town. I love those guys. Maybe it’s my old stockbroker friend from high school who lives down the block or my lifelong real estate ski buddy, my old dentist’s dentist-son, or my eye doctor gal who grew up as a friend with a friend. Then there are my urologist, neurologist, pulmonologist and physical therapy gals or our Gold Medalist and Trophy Doc orthopedists. We are all friends.
And that’s what makes small towns so attractive and this town so exceptional; the real people who live there. We cherish and respect each other and our specialties because the total value gained is greater than the sum of our individual expertise and efforts. We collectively make this town the number one ski town. That’s why I still walk down the street and say “hey” to everyone. They are my guys.
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