When Rita searched Craigslist for someone who could cut up the fallen trees in her yard, her first impression of Cliff was that he was a rough-looking character. His tweed cap looked frayed, the face under it tanned and leathery, his flannel shirt thin in places, his jeans a watery blue where the threading was visible, and his boot leather was darkened to a dull oily appearance.
The moment Cliff spoke, Rita’s first impression vanished, as Cliff had the most gentle-sounding voice she’d ever heard from such a masculine-appearing man. She was also taken aback by his kindly smile as she described how the trees had fallen, how relieved she would be when they were cut and stacked, and where she wanted him to put the brush and the cut pieces.
Cliff explained to her that he lived about a mile down the road and had been a farmer all of his life. Since his children had moved away and his wife of 30 years had passed on last year, he’d scaled his planting down and had some time to spare. Cliff had decided to put the Craigslist ad up to not only earn a few dollars but to give back to his community. He told her that most of the calls were from women who lived alone. He smiled as he said he enjoyed feeling needed again. He said helping someone besides his family and being paid felt different, but the appreciation he received was the same.
She watched him from the window as he lifted the topper door on his beat-up Ford and meticulously retrieved each item he needed for the job. His chainsaw looked spotlessly clean. His gloves were worn but still serviceable. He pulled out an old Stanley thermos.
Cliff worked the rest of the morning and through the afternoon. He took just a few breaks, and he put a good dent in cutting brush from the limbs and hauling it to the brush pile in his trailer. By 5pm, all fallen trees were cleared and ready to be cut. Cliff returned the next day and finished cutting and stacking all of the wood. She was amazed that a man of Cliff’s age was so productive.
She walked outside as Cliff approached the house.
“You are one hard-working man, Cliff. And a godsend!”
“Thank you so much, Miss. Happy to be of help.”
“How much do I owe you? I know the ad said $20 per hour.”
“Miss, what the ad didn’t say is that the first job is half price. I worked 15 hours between yesterday and today. One fifty sounds about right.”
Rita knew she had found the perfect handyman.
(This is considered in the fantasy genre.)
Sarah Weejars is the host of Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Saturday Mix. Sarah says:
This week we are dipping our toes into the pool of OPPOSITES. Our challenge is all about “opposing forces” and the use of antithesis in our writing. You will need to use the two opposing words in your response – which can be poetry or prose.
Our words this week are:
– rough and gentle
– same and different