My dad and grandfathers taught me that if there’s a way to help someone, and you have a skill set that allows you to assist them, you should use it.
There’s an Internet app that’s become quite popular called, “Nextdoor.” It is a way for those who live in a specified, smaller neighborhood area to connect and communicate about everything from where to find toilet paper to sharing information about a military veteran who is struggling.
Recently, a good friend and I had a discussion about how we should all work together to try and get through the virus situation by stepping up and helping others when we are needed. The question was, how do we identify legitimate need and then organize a way to coordinate and complete specific tasks?
On the Neighborhood app, there was much discussion about people starting gardens to compensate for any potential shortages of food due to what may come. My family has gardened for decades, so my wife and I were pleased to see the resurgence of interest in something that is not only personally rewarding, but given the current situation, quite wise.
I posted on the app that I still had my tiller implement on my tractor from tilling our garden areas and would be glad to, within a reasonable area, till someone’s garden for a minimal fee that would basically cover the diesel to do the job. I also mentioned that I have a brush hog and could help with cutting pastures.
I got a couple of responses. None were about tilling gardens, but two were about their needs for mowing. One was from a younger lady with a child. Due to the significant amount of rain we’d had, her yardman had put her at the end of the list in favor of his commercial accounts. She wasn’t sure if or when he’d next show up.
I drove over and discovered that much of what she needed done would have to be completed by hand because of the slopes of the hills, which wasn’t safe for a tractor. So I offered to mow it for her using a large, zero-turn mower to at least get it cut down to the point where it didn’t look like a jungle. I even gave her the number of someone I knew who did hand work to clean up properties.
Another was a private message from someone pointing out that the elderly struggle to find reliable yard help and are often gouged on price. Would I be able to help them with their lawns?
Now, I see no shortage of trucks pulling trailers full of multiple mowers, weed eaters, and other lawn equipment, so I know that there are plenty of folks out there who do this kind of work.
But what I suspect has happened is people are using the virus situation to only cater to the larger jobs that pay well and they’re leaving the regular folks and the elderly to fend for themselves.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone who’s still working to pay for lawn care at a reasonable price. Choosing not to mow your own yard is not uncommon and completely reasonable.
But the elderly? These are people who take great pride in how their lawn should look and are on fixed incomes. Because of age and physical limitations, they can no longer mow their own yard.
So, essentially, they’re at the mercy of those who cut lawns.
The first real job I ever had was mowing yards. I was about 10 years old and would tie a rope from the seat of my bicycle to the push mower, and then steer with one hand as I held the gallon of gas with the other while making my way from one yard to the next.
Almost all of my clients were elderly. My parents and grandparents paired me with the older folks, who were kind people who needed someone who’d do a good job, but would also pay a reasonable amount of money. In the early 1970s, this was anywhere from $1 to $3 per yard.
Understandably, costs rise and a lawn company can no longer charge $1 to $3 to mow a yard. But, when I found out how much some of the elderly are paying today for a small yard to be cut, I was dumbfounded.
Which leads me to my main point. I’m going to try and help as many of the elderly in my neighborhood as I can, when time allows, by mowing their yards at enough to cover fuel, and maintenance of the equipment. My plan is to do this until the virus issue is over.
I’m challenging everyone who is reading this and is able to do the same. Identify the elderly in your neighborhood who have been put off or put at the back of the line to get their lawns done, and step up to the plate and help them.
I’ve heard a number of people say that they’d be willing to do what they can to help others during this time of crisis. Well, here’s something you can do.
If you’re like me and are fortunate enough to have some decent lawn equipment, make the time to cut someone’s lawn. It won’t take long, and they’ll appreciate it more than you know.
©2020 John Moore
John’s book, Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now, and his new book, Write of Passage Volume II, are available on Amazon and on John’s website at www.TheCountryWriter.com.