The lawn mower is not new. It first made its debut as a reel mower back in the 1820’s. Some 150 years later there are still people who prefer to use a type of reel mower to cut their small patch of grass. They are relatively quiet and can be unobtrusively used without waking the neighborhood, but they do require a little physical effort to push them. Their power source is you, which makes them high on the list of environmentally friendly lawn mowers.
Trent Knuckles article on negotiating the cost of getting his yard mowed brought an amusing memory to mind. But as it turned out, I got the best end of the deal.
It happened this way:
I had just moved into the house where I presently live. I chose the house primarily because it had a small yard and the upkeep would be minimal. One of my friends who had helped me with the rigors of getting settled in, suggested that his 12-year-old son was available if I needed the yard mowed. I gladly took him up on it.
"I’ll talk to him about it," my friend said. "He needs to start learning how to negotiate a price and how to deal with the public so that the experience will prepare him for when he’s older and gets into the business world."
In a couple of hours, his son, Nathan, showed up at the door prepared to work out a deal. We walked around the yard which didn’t take too long, considering the fact that it was only a little bigger than a postage stamp.
"So whatta ya think? Nathan," I asked. "How much do you think you need to charge?" Wearing his best grown-up face, I could see that he was wrestling with the numbers going through his head.
"What do you think Mrs. Seivers?" he answered, throwing the ball back in my corner. I could see his mind working, trying to remember what his dad had told him to say.
"Well, since it’s such a small yard and it will only take about fifteen minutes to mow, how about twelve dollars?"
Nathan looked down at the ground, then up to the sky.
Then in his most business-like voice, he said, "How about Ten?" His dad had taught him well.
This all happened about fifteen years ago. Since then, Nathan has grown up, married, has a young son and has recently been hired as the Youth Minister of my church. But memories of a twelve year-olds first entrance into the world of high finance will always be special to me. And just as special is the memory of our drinking a cold Dr. Pepper at my kitchen table each time he finished mowing. Ten dollars and a cold Dr. Pepper. And meaningful conversations with a young boy who turned out to be a fine young man. Quite a bargain.
This is a basic cobbler recipe that is no fail but always turns out good.
4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Ground cinnamon, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.
Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.