Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Green Grass Blues

This was a sign that was posted at the height of World War II. A shameful time period in our country's history when we carted off people of Japanese ancestry to internment camps, including Heart Mountain in Wyoming.

That's where my gardener, Fred, was interned as a young man.

That wasn't the only wartime action Fred saw however. He told me in the 60's he was shipped to Viet Nam for Black Ops in the jungles of Cambodia. Turned out Fred could speak the native dialect and so he was sent behind enemy lines to scout out tunnel traps dug out by Charlie.

Fred had lots of fascinating stories of his military conquests in Indochina. At one time I thought he would make a perfect subject for a documentary. Former Japanese internee who took on some of the most dangerous missions in the Viet Nam War. Now reduced to a Mow/Blow/Go guy.

Unfortunately, the vim and vigor of his colorful past was long gone and by the time he reached his early 80's he was having a hard time operating a weed wacker.

I didn't want to but I had to fire Fred.
That was 6 years ago.

In the 20 years we've been in this house, we've had about 20 different gardeners.

I mention this because this week I had to fire another one, let's call him Jose. A hard working immigrant with kids, run-ins with the Immigration Department and now, an electronic bracelet strapped to his ankle.

Unlike Mr. Romney, I take no joy in relieving people of their employment. Thankfully, Jose made it easier and told me I had better get a new guy.

And so the pattern begins all over again.

For 8-9 months the grass will get cut regularly, the bushes will be neatly trimmed and the weeds will be dutifully wacked. Then the honeymoon will wear off. The ficus trees will start overflowing. The weekly Saturday morning visits will become bi-weekly. And the crabgrass will do to the backyard what the Nazis did to Czechoslovakia.

Then I will once agin find myself in the parking lot of the local Home Depot breaking out my 10th grade version of Espanol:

"Quierres un trabajo cutting mi grasso?"

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