Leave Racketeers

Two young boys just rang my doorbell. They were probably each about 11 or 12 years old -- I can never tell any more -- and one of them had a rake in hand. They wanted to know if I would hire them to rake my front lawn.

I used to do that when I was a kid growing up in New Jersey. I made a lot of money raking leaves in the fall, as a matter of fact. Often $20 or more per yard, despite living in a neighborhood where most everyone had a simple 50'x100' lot. Fond memories I have of that time.

I told the kids to scram.

You see, I don't live in a neighborhood like the one of my childhood now. I live in what they call a "master planned community". We have a nice moderate-sized house on a relatively small lot (only slightly larger than that of my youth) and the previous owners did a very nice job landscaping the front yard.

But we only have one tree. It's between the curb and sidewalk and is probably about 3 inches in diameter and about 16 feet tall. Most of the leaves it did have long blew away and those still on my yard could be raked up with a single pass of the rake.

Who do these kids think they're kidding? Raking leaves in my neighborhood for money? They might as well try and shovel driveways in Georgia. Sure, the south might get a dusting of snow every now and then, but nothing that won't melt if you breathe on it. I can't believe I'm going to say this but, here goes...

Back in my day... we spent all day raking leaves to earn that $20. Leaves from hundred-year old chestnut trees piled three inches deep and soaking wet. You couldn't even see the ground below. We would need a dozen Hefty sacks to bag them all and then when we were done, we'd have to pay the older kids in the neighborhood half our earnings to move the bags, cause they were too heavy for us to budge. Okay, I made up that last part, but you get my point. Looking out my window, I can probably count the leaves that need to be raked up on two hands.

Nice try kids. Next time throw in a car wash, maybe an offer to mow the lawn, and fetch me a capuccino from the coffee shop and I'll think about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I landscaped with you...

You do remember what we used to do to the people that didn't hire us don't you?

Back in our day we'd go down to the local corner store and invest a dollar or two in ammo. Then we would gather up a small army and blast the shit out of the enemy.

Eggs. Watch out man.