Mario is my yard man and handyman, whenever he decides to come to work. Over the years he has become a friend instead of just an employee.
“I can’t come to work today, Mr. Dennis,” he said. “I’m fixing the plumbing at my suegra’s house—my mother-in-law. I’ll be here two or three days.”
“What am I supposed to do in the meantime? The fence is only three-quarters painted and the yard is only half-cleaned.”
“I can send Juney over to help you.”
Mario’s nephew, seventeen-year-old Juney, showed up an hour and a half late just like Mario does. It must be one of his family’s traits. He was also hungry, which is another family trait, so I sent out for some meat pies.
“Time’s is hard, Mr. Dennis,” he said, as we sat on the porch eating.
“How can they be hard for you, Juney? You’re seventeen and still live with your mom.”
“Ma’s mad at me. She wouldn’t fix me any breakfast. She called me stupid, too.”
“Why on earth would she call you stupid?”
“She went to hang clothes on the line and the neighbor’s dog had been in the yard. He pooped under the clothesline and she stepped all up in it. Ma sure can get some cursing done.”
“That’s not your fault,” I said. “Why would she get mad at you about that?”
“I asked if I could help. She said to get the shovel and throw it over the fence into the neighbor’s yard. It didn’t do any good, though. Now we still got dog poop under the clothesline and the neighbor’s got our shovel.”