Sam and I are truly blessed to have fantastic neighbors. We love our neighborhood. We all really watch out for each other, and help each other when we can. Granted, I don’t know all of our neighbors by name, but I talk to many of them on my afternoon walks with Ella.
When I first moved in with Sam, our neighbor two doors down was cutting the yard (almost an acre) for her. It wasn’t long after that he came down on his lawnmower and showed me how to use it. He told me I could use it whenever I wanted to. To return the favor, when I used it, I often mowed his grass and the grass of the neighbor in between us. Recently, when he mower was down for repairs, he used my mower and cut his lawn, my lawn and the lawns of two other neighbors! That’s the kind of neighbors we have!
I write all that, to tell you about something cool that happened to me this morning.
Three years ago, Sam bought me a zero turn mower. I absolutely love it. One of the things I love to do is mow the grass. I always do my neighbor next door’s grass when I can because all they have is a push mower and their yard is about as big as ours. Anyway, Sam sent me this picture of Ella watching the baseball players at the school behind our house this week.
You can tell that the yard was in need of mowing (and that I had to get out with the weed whacker!). When I got home this morning, I told Sam I was going to cut the grass. I purposely waited until it was 8am to do it. I didn’t want to be out at 7:30am waking up the neighbors, even though they wake us up when they mow at 3 in the afternoon (the life of a midnight shift worker!).
I got out and got about a third of the yard done, and all of a sudden the blades stopped engaging. I looked around to be sure that the belt hadn’t broken, but didn’t see it. The grass was very long, so I thought maybe the wet grass was caught up in the belt or something. I pulled it up into the driveway and began pulling clumps of grass out from where the belts are. It was obvious that I had never done this before, because there was a LOAD of grass packed in there.
The belt/pulley system of these mowers is a little daunting:
As I was digging the clumps out, I saw that the belt had come off the pulley. I was able to get it back on and the blades began to work. I was able to finish the rest of the lawn. Now, had I not been able to figure it out (which is always possible), I wouldn’t have been able to share what Paul Harvey would call “the rest of the story”…
As I was making my final couple passes in the front yard, I noticed a car driving by slowly. The driver was a little Asian woman, who looked like she was lost or looking for a house number. As I did my final pass, she had parked her car and was standing at the end of my driveway. It was quite a sight. She was in pajamas and a robe and wearing her face mask. She had her index finger up in the air as if she were saying to me, “Hold up for one minute.”
My first thought was that I had woke her up. I had even mentioned to Sam that I knew it was early and joked that the neighbors would be yelling at me for mowing the grass so early. I drove the mower to the driveway and shut it off. She began to speak to me in broken English. She said “I heard working.” I thought, “Here it comes, She’s mad that I woke her up.”
She began to point down the street and said, “Do my yard?” I asked if she wanted to borrow the mower or if she wanted me to come down and cut it. She said, “You cut. I pay you.” I shook my head and said that I would be glad to cut her grass and she didn’t need to pay me anything. She shook her head and told me that she is always busy working and that she was unable to do it. I told her I was going to put some more gas in the mower and I’d be right down. She gave me her address (it was about 4 doors down) and I met her down there.
As I pulled up, she was in the front yard picking up some sticks, and I went to work. Her front yard was not that big. If it took me more than 6 minutes to cut it, I’d be surprised. As I finished, she ran up to me and I asked how to get to the back yard. She told me the back yard was fine and grabbed my hand and shook it, saying “thank you so much!” over and over. While shaking my hand, she was stuffing money in it. I again told her that she did not need to pay me, but she insisted. She went as far as to say to me, very matter of factly, “When you cut your grass – you come and cut mine.”
I was just happy to be a good neighbor, but it looks like my “lawn care business” has its first client!