October 14, 2008

The nicest person I have met since we have lived here in Arizona is our landscaper, Carmelo. Every Tuesday between 12:30 and 1:30 PM I’ll be slaving away at the laptop when all of a sudden I’ll hear those familiar sounds of leaf blowers and weed trimmers outside, then a couple of minutes later, the sound of the gate being opened and his crew of 2 or 3 workers passing by the window. Most times they’re almost like a circus clown car – the truck pulls up, they all pile out, there’s a whirlwind of activity for 15-20 minutes, and then they’re gone in a flash.

On occasion, if there’s something special I need to have done, like a tree that needs to be trimmed or a bush needing to be planted, I’ll go outside and we’ll talk for a few minutes. No matter what kind of day it is – and more of than not, it’ll be searing heat outside, Carmelo is always friendly, always smiling, always something nice to say about how the property looks, or what his plans are for the next few weeks.

Take today, for instance. The pesky Mesquite tree in our southwest corner had once again spread its branches over the back wall to the point where it was practically reaching across our neighbors’ pool. (A few years ago I spotted the neighbors standing on top of the wall with scissors in their hands trying to cut the branches back while it was still light out. I took the hint, and now try my best to keep the branches trimmed back to my side of the wall.) So today when Carmelo came, I asked him to trim the branches back again.

“Look, I know this will be a little extra, how much do you want?”
Carmelo smiled. “It’s not enough to be extra.”
“OK”, I said, “Since the neighbor next door trimmed his palms last weekend, my leafy tree that was once part of a crowd looks unkept next to his nice, neat trees. How about if I ask you to trim that tree as well?”
“How much you pay?” says Carmelo.
“I’ll give you $40 for both”, says I.
“OK”, he says, and less than five minutes later his guys are on top of the wall and inside the Mesquite tree, and branches are flying everywhere. I didn’t even hear the sound of activity in the front, but 20 minutes later both trees are looking nice and neat. As if they were always that way.

And that’s just the way it goes. Carmelo knows a little about everything. Since we’ve been here we’ve added a whole bunch of bushes and cactus to the place. He’s re-arranged my sprinklers to get better coverage on the back lawn. And I let him be an artist when it comes to trimming the bougainvillea. Sometimes I’ll ask his opinion on something I’d like to do and he’s not afraid to tell me (always in a nice way) that I’m either crazy or what a good idea it is. Mostly the latter.

If it’s a really hot day and I’m asking them to do extra stuff, I’ll offer them a cold can of soda – something I’m sure they appreciate. In return, they always do a great job and go out of their way to make sure my lime tree is picked free of ripe fruit before they leave. So for $30 a week and all the limes they can stuff in their pockets I get a front and back yard that always looks top-notch.

For the longest time, Carmelo only knew me as “Mr. Chip House”, because the guy who owned it before was named Chip. Only in the past year has he started to call me “Richard”. So we’re making progress.

This kind of thing may not be monumental in any kind of way; it’s just a reminder – sometimes, in the heat of a hectic workday, a welcome one – that there are still good, honest, and hard-working people out there who just live their lives, try and do a good job, and make a living as most people do.

I like Carmelo because he helps keeps me grounded.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 17:30 | Comments (3)
  1. This story reminds me of how you and Marcos became friends. I think that is another story that needs to be told. Your kindness to others really does make their world a better place. By the way, both of Marcos’ restaurant are HUGE hits. Both get consistent rave reviews and have 1 1/2 hr waits on the weekends. The tapas restaurant, Mojito, is fabulous. I haven’t seen Marcos in a while but he always asks about you and Tracey.

    Comment by Jana — October 15, 2008 @ 5:17 am

  2. Both of his restaurants? I thought he only had one! Now I really have to get back to KY one of these days to see him. Once the credit cards are paid off, I guess…

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 15, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

  3. He and Fernando opened a second place last year and it is one of the best in town. They are consistent in quality and variety and both places are HOT.

    Comment by Jana — October 15, 2008 @ 6:12 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Search The Site

Recent Items


September 2021
April 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info