I live in a neighborhood where home-ownership means lots of upkeep on our houses and yards. Those of us who qualify as aging baby-boomers now find ourselves in the position of hiring someone to help with yard work, mostly lawn mowing. While there are many neighbors with children, not one of those youngsters is even vaguely interested in earning some money by doing the occasional odd job.
All of this brought to mind the different kinds of jobs many of us did as youngsters just to earn a dollar or two for pocket money. Springtime brought the opportunity to clean yards, turn over garden beds, and wash windows. The summer months were perfect for mowing lawns and washing cars, jobs that allowed us to work up a sweat before we headed off for a dip in the Housatonic or, if we were lucky, a neighbor’s pool.
Autumn was a busy time, with raking leaves, helping to clean gutters, and cleaning gardens while winter’s snow storms provided multiple money-earning opportunities. With nothing more than a shovel we could clear the same sidewalks any number of times for our ‘repeat’ customers.
Enterprising youngsters could deliver newspapers; many boys who lived in larger cities also set up shop outside well-known clubs or restaurants where they would shine shoes for the gentlemen. We girls, of course, had the pleasure of baby-sitting younger tots. In addition to our money we also had the extra benefit of watching television or reading when the children were napping or sleeping.
It seems that today’s youngsters are more reluctant to go outside the home to earn spending money. Oh, there are still newspaper routes but with more newspapers available on-line the number of newspapers has dwindled; not many shoes are in need of shine these days; and for yard work there are lawn companies aplenty.
Perhaps I can hire that husky man from the James Bond movies to cut our lawn. After all, his name was Odd Job.