ACROSS THE STREET from where Sheryl used to live is a crazy old man named Wes who fixes lawnmowers. He has a bunch of them for sale neatly lined up in his backyard hooked to a chain, and he uses his garage and shed when he fixes them.
Many a time when Sheryl lived by him she'd hear him cuss and moan when a mower wouldn't start or a part wouldn't fit. He became part of the neighborhood lore known as the eccentric guy who can hook you up when your mower goes bad.
We chop a lot of weeds in our backyard and the mower got kinda nasty last summer. Last Sunday the pull chord finally snapped and it was time to visit Wes, who lives just a few blocks away.
Only in Calftown will you see a couple walking their dogs and pushing a lawnmower. The girls were excited about visiting their old haunts and it was a lovely evening for canine and mower to bond.
In my prior life I used to take the lawnmower to a local dealer in town. It would usually take two weeks for them to get around to it, and cost us a bundle for yearly maintenance.
Wes came out and took a look and said no problem, he'd fix us right up.
Our mower is a Toro and about five years old, and a little love will probably keep it running just fine for a few more years, so spending a few bucks is no big deal.
"Oh," Wes said. "It will be ready tomorrow night."
Wow. Wes doesn't mess around.
So we came back the next night and sure enough, we could tell for the first time in several years that the mower was red and the tires were still black, not gray-green from years of crusted grass all over them.
It's like having a brand new lawnmower.
"The blade was bad," Wes said. "And the oil was terrible. This is what it should like like. And never let the filter get that bad again."
He gave us a long list of all the stuff he fixed. I'm happy, Sheryl is happy, the dogs got an extra walk and Wes has cash in his pocket.
I was thinking about mowing this afternoon, but Sheryl reminded me to wait until she's home.
"That blade," she said, "is extra sharp. Maybe you should have somebody with you."
True. A new lawnmower is nothing to trifle with.