S & S Mowing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
#horsepowermatters

Submitted: July 09, 2015

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Submitted: July 09, 2015

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Anyone wondering how young Serge and his pal Sammy financed their Estes rocket habit, read on.

Back then, gas was 30 cents a gallon.  Everyone in our neighborhood had a lawn that was a half-acre or larger.  Most folks mowed their own.  For the rest, there was S & S Mowing.

Sammy had a 6 horsepower Sears riding mower.  I had a 3.5 horsepower Toro pusher.  Together, we could mow any yard in 30 minutes or less.  Faster than you can get a pizza delivered.

Sammy would always leave an edge at the curb and around trees that was less than a push mower wide.  We competed to see who could get their part done first.  If I finished first, I’d help with the big parts.  When Sammy finished first, he’d head down the street to the next yard.  We were as good as any of those fellows you see today, with their equipment laden trailers and double cab pickups.

There was one yard we never mowed.  Mr. Sweeney’s house.  He had to be eighty, but he was often on his riding mower as Sammy and I made our rounds. 

Sammy and I were professionals, but we had a lot of respect for the skilled amateurs in our neighborhood.  We knew Mr. Sweeney was one of us.

We’d always wave to him as we passed by.  He’d give us a grin and wave back.  Members of the mowing brotherhood have that unspoken bond.

Eventually Sammy discovered girls, and I discovered golf.  The mowing business tapered off and was forgotten by the time college rolled in.

After a decade of farting around and screwing off, I moved back to the old hometown.  My parents still lived in the same house.  I heard the sound of a mower coming from the Sweeney residence, and walked down the street. 

Not the old man, some kid I did not recognize.  He stopped.  I introduced myself and asked about Mr. Sweeney.  He said he was Charlie, the grandson, spending his summer off from college here.  Living rent free, mowing, and painting the house, among other things.

He asked, “Are you Serge from Sammy and Serge’s Mowing?”  I laughed and said, “How do you know about that?”

“Because every time I tell Grandpa I’m going to mow the yard, he says, ‘Do a better job than those punks Sammy and Serge used to do.  Neither of those boys could mow in a straight line.’”

“He’s blind as a bat now, but his mind works like a steel trap.  Why don’t you go in and see him.  He’s probably listening to the radio, yelling at the umpire in a baseball game.”

When I entered the den I said, “Hello, Mr. Sweeney.”  An elderly hand clicked the mute button on a remote.  A wheelchair turned toward me.

“Hello, Serge.  I can tell by your voice you finally grew up.  I was worried you were going to be a wimp your whole life.”

Ouch.  “Well, I’m still working on it.  By the way, Charlie is doing a great job of keeping your lawn mowed.  It looks as good as it ever did.”

He said, “Thanks, that means a lot coming from you.  I’m just kidding when I cheese you and Sammy to my grandson.  It’s my way of paying you a compliment.  So, do you still mow?”

“I mow my own yard.  But I make a lot more money running computer systems than I could pushing a mower.”

“Well, I had higher hopes for you than being an overpaid typist.  But if that is what has worked for you, I’m happy.”

That was thirty years ago.  None of the old timers are still around.  Charlie owns the house now.  Last time I visited, he was showing his granddaughter how to mow, with a 20 horsepower John Deere.  Some things change, some things stay the same.


© Copyright 2017 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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