The Summer of '62; Episode 9


Miss Driver was a fifty year old school teacher whose mother lived with her. She lived across the road from us and Rich thought she would be and excellent candidate for a summer lawn mowing job. His hope was that by mowing a lawn he might be able to turn down some jobs bailing hey; something he didn't like.
Rich dressed in a clean change of cloths, whetted his hair, and combed it neatly with a little wave in the front - sort of an Andy Hardy look.
A paved driveway led to Miss Driver's plain ranch style home. As a staunch member of the Church of the Brethren she had little time or inclination for fancy trappings around the house.
Miss Drive was thin and tall. Her hair was always in a sensible perm plastered tight against her head. She always wore a dress and the color was always drab.
Miss Driver came to the door after Rich rang the doorbell.
Miss Driver, could I mow your grass for you this summer?” Rich said politely.
Looking over the tops of her wire rim glasses she said, “I haven’t thought much about having someone do it. I’ve always done it myself.”
I thought you might want someone to do it,” Rich said, “and I would like to do it.”
How much would you charge?” She said with a coy sideways glance.
How much will you pay?” Rich said with the same glance.
Will you use your lawn mower or mine?” She said.
Yours,” Rich said.
Your gas or mine?” She said.
I can bring my gas,” Rich said
Why not use your mower?” She said as though looking for a hidden motive.
I suppose I could, but we mow all our grass with ours and they say that it’s not good to leave a mower just sit around,” Rich said
She paused and said, “How can I be sure you will take good care of my mower?”
What do you mean?” Rich said.
Will you clean it down each time after you use it and clean underneath where the blades are so there is no grass build up,” she said. “Will you check the oil and clean the air filter if needed?”
I can do that,” Rich assured.
Will you trim around the trees and up next to the house with the clippers?” She said motioning over Rich's shoulder toward the lawn.
Sure,” Rich replied confidently.
Will you agree to do it on a specific day and if it should grow fast do it before that day?” She said punctuating her index finger of her right hand into the palm of her left.
I can do that,” Rich said but by this time he sensed she was trying to discourage him.
The mowing must be done before noon,” she said. “Mother takes a nap in the afternoon.”
That’s no problem,” Rich said.
I’ll make it a dollar and if you use my mower it’s seventy-five cents,” she said.
Tugging his lips, quickly Rich calculated the size of her yard in comparison with his yard. He thought, “It would take me an hour and a half to do her yard and that was non-stop and the same amount of time to work on my hands and knees doing the trim.”
And I will inspect your work,” she added.
After that painful negotiation Rich replied, “Let me think about it.”
I must have your answer now,” she said.
No,” Rich smiled and said, “Thanks for your time, Miss Driver. You and your mother have a nice day. Perhaps if the time comes you really need me I‘ll be happy to help.”

They parted amicably. Baling hay seemed not so bad after all.