Wednesday, June 08, 2005

When Will You Mow the Grass?

" When" Will You Mow the Grass ?

by Jay Hudson

My grandson had been pestering me to let him mow the grass all spring. He wanted money to take with him on a beach trip he and his friend were planning.

I had been planning on giving him that job for several years, but I had to wait until he matured enough, and wanted spending money bad enough to actually sweat for it.

We finally reached an understanding. He would mow the grass for twenty dollars. We made the same deal last year, but he mowed about thirty minutes and said he was finished. I made the mistake of paying him before he cut the grass.

I knew I was in for a lot of mental strain trying to convince him that he had not finished the job. I decided to just forget it and count it as part of my education.

I had visions of the same thing happening this time too.

This year he seemed to be serious. When the deal was concluded, he started the mower and went to work. I was shocked. He worked a couple of hours before he stopped to get a sip of Pepsi. He actually worked up a sweat.

I was beginning to think there was hope after all. After drinking his cola, he went right back to mowing. He worked at least three hours that afternoon. He did a very nice job on my yard.
When I paid him the twenty dollars, I don't know which one of us was the proudest.

The thought crossed my mind to go buy a new riding mower and trailer, and start a lawn care business so he would have a job all summer.

I had already decided on a name, Town and Country Lawn Care, with grandpa providing the know-how, and him providing the sweat.

I am glad I only had two dollars cash money left in my wallet.

The planned beach trip was a few weeks away.

The day after he mowed he came over and said, " grandpa, are you going to town anytime soon?"

I said I was going in a few minutes.

" Can I go with you?" He said. " I have my own money."

And the trickle started. A few days later he was broke.

He started watching the grass real careful then to see when it would need cutting again. After two weeks, I said, "ok, time to cut it again.

You would have thought I said, "gentlmen, start your engines." He grabbed the mower and started cutting. He cut the half of the yard between the house and the street, and then quit. He said since it was so hot, he would finish the next day.

He was tired from the mowing, so he wanted me to take him to the video store and advance him enough money to rent videos.

"Deduct the cost of the video rental from the $20.00 you owe me."

I said, "ok."

He had worked pretty hard and I wanted to show him I appreciated it.

The videos came to $3.00. That would leave me owing him a balance of $17.00.

Everything was fine until the next evening. He told me he didn't want to mow that day. He wanted to play the video games he rented.

The next day he came over about dark. I asked him why he didn't finish mowing. He said he was playing video games and just forgot about mowing. He reminded me that we had to return the video games before ten o'clock that night.

As we were driving in to the video store parking lot, he said, "grandpa can I get an advance on what you owe me so I can get a new Nintendo game that just came out? I need $2.00 for it."

Things were not working out the way I planned. I just wanted the grass mowed.

After deducting the $2.00 from the $17.00 I would owe after he finished mowing, I would owe him a balance of $15.00.

It's good that I know how to do math.

The next day he was playing video games again and didn't want to mow.

I decided it was time to stir up some trouble.

" If you don't mow the rest of the yard by tomorrow," I said, "I am going to let your sister's start mowing it. They will mow it all summer."

That did it.

" I'll finish it tomorrow grandpa," he promised. " But, we have to return the video game tonight."

I was caught in a trap and I knew it.

When we got to the video store, I just asked him, " How much do I need to advance this time?"

" I want a movie this time. It's just $1.75," he said.

Deducting the $1.75 from the $15.00 balance would leave me owing him $13.25 , if he ever finished mowing.

The next day he was the first to mention mowing.

" Grandpa, just finish paying me for mowing, and take me to the video store to return the movie, and I will finish mowing when we get back."

" Oh no," I said.

I thought I was beginning to see a way to motivate him.

" We' ll take the movie back, and then if you finish mowing after we get home, then, we will go back to the video store," I said.

" Ok, that's a deal," he said.

When we got home he jumped out of the car and grabbed the mower. He mowed for two hours without stopping. He was pouring sweat when he finished the yard.

I was beginning to feel bad about all his sweating until I remembered how many times I sweated when I was a kid.

It was a lesson he needed to learn.

When he finished mowing he came in the house to get a drink. While he was drinking his cola and cooling, I asked him if he wanted what I owed him in cash, or could I just give him a piece of paper called an I.O.U. It would say, " I owe you $15.00." And then I would sign my name to it.

He didn't think that was such a great idea.

" Nooooo grandpa, I want cash."

I paid him $15.00 for finishing. I was just glad to it over with by then.

He had a big grin on his face as he folded the money and put it in his pocket.

"Can we go to the video store now so I can rent a new game?"

"What about money for your trip to the beach?" I asked.

" Oh, I am not going to spend it all tonight grandpa," he said.

The founders of our country knew exactly what they were doing when they chose capitalism for our economic system.

If you don't think so just check your pocket and see how much cash you have.

I really have a problem now. The grass at the front of my yard is a lot taller than the back half. The front needs mowing now, but the back won't need mowing for a couple of weeks.

Well, as the lady said, maybe it won't rain tomorrow, and the grass won't grow so fast

Published in The Post, June7, 2005.

Copyright-2005-Jay Hudson- All rights reserved. No reproduction or transmission without expressed written permission of Jay Hudson.


Blogger R.S. Louvierre said...

I love you so much, papa.
I'm sorry I tried to trick you about the grass back then hehe. I was young.
But as I've gotten older, I realized about 9 years ago that you taught me the meaning behind every dollar. I've become a hard working man now. I always finish my work, and make my boss proud. I've been a manager, retail clerk, Mitigation Tech, construction worker, a plumber, painter, roofer. You'd be really proud of me, papa.
I've absolutely loved reading your blog over the weekend. It's brought back a lot of fond memories.
I love you, forever and 3 days. Because forever just isn't long enough.


6:16 AM  

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