Taming the jungle
Mister that lives next door to us is a hard-working oil sands guy, living here to work, and not much else. He's from the east coast, PEI I think, and a lovely fellow, but he has little interest in doing the work outside that requires doing: snow shovelling in the winter and grass trimming in the summer. I'm sure this is a scenario that repeats itself ad infinitum in a community where so many people come here to work, work, work and work some more.
I don't begrudge the fellow's right to earn a living, or his disinclination to do yard work, nor does it cause me any anger or stress. However, being a guy that likes to cut the grass, trim the branches and put the rake to good use, seeing long tall grass in the front and a tropical jungle in the back is like a salivating dog on a leash admiring a juicy bone, just out of reach
I acquiesced to the urge to cut the front lawn almost immediately, as the grass shot up 10 inches in what seemed to be a matter of days. I knew that if I let it grow any longer, it would take a whipper snipper to knock it down. I'm not a big fan of whipper snippering. So, I went at it.
Mister eventually came out.
"I hope nobody's asleep inside," I said.
"Nope," he replied. "Hey, thanks for doing that."
"No problem at all. I like to do it."
"Say, do you know where the rodeo is happening?" he asked.
I told him, happy that he was taking some time to do something fun in the community. That was last weekend.
This weekend, the front yard needed trimming again, and I began making forage visits into the back. With bandsaw, garden sheers, and rake in hand I worked my way down the fence line, started trimming back the trees gone wild, and cut a path to the alley. It took the better part of the day, but about a third of the jungle has been cut, cleared, raked and made to look habitable.
As most of what I did lies adjacent to our fence, with limbs encroaching on our property, I felt no awkwardness taking the proverbial bull by the horns and getting it done. When I next see Mister I'm going to offer to complete the task and transform the rest of his yard from being an impenetrable eyesore to an inviting oasis.
It may seem strange, and in fact, you might wonder what possesses me to take on another man's tasks. Frankly though, if I didn't enjoy the challenge of turning something nasty into something nice, I wouldn't do it. I also wouldn't do it if Mister didn't want me to (obviously). I get the sense that he appreciates the neighbourly help, as he has said previously how much he dislikes the yard work.
I jokingly said that I was pulling a "Charlie Thomas" in taming the jungle. It used to embarrass me that my father did these kinds of things; I couldn't understand what possessed him to go into other persons' yards and do stuff. I wonder if my kids think the same of me?
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