“Mornin’,” Wes said as he pulled the pantry door shut behind him and greeted Griffin with a scratch behind the ears.
“Good morning,” I called back from the kitchen where I was scrambling eggs.
“You don’t want me to run that thing on the tennis court, do ya?” he asked, referring to the lawn aerator we had rented in Plattsburgh the day before.
Wesley Hackett had been working for us since the spring of 2005. He’d been a member of the contracting team that renovated the Lapine House, and then we rolled him over to work on Rosslyn. When our historic rehabilitation was complete (Is it ever complete? Rehab ad infinitum…) he stayed on as caretaker, quickly a becoming a jack of all trades who we relied upon heavily.
I’d wanted to revitalize our lawns, especially the front lawn where contractors had parked and pallets of material have been offloaded and stored throughout our endless renovation project. I was especially concerned about the compacted soil beneath the old ginkgo tree, the maple trees and the basswood.
But projects lead on to other projects, and it was the autumn of 2011 before we finally managed to rent an aerator to fill our lawns with small holes. The first step toward healthier grass and healthier trees.
“Good question, Wes. I didn’t think about that.”
The clay tennis court probably dated back to Sherwood Inn days. It was located northwest of the ice house and had long since been converted into a perfectly level lawn suitable for crocket and volleyball when the weather was nice and a grassy pond when rainy days stacked up.
“I was just thinking about the clay, you know?”
“You’re probably right. You don’t want to get bogged down in clay. Let’s skip the tennis court and focus on whatever else remains around the carriage barn and back around the gardens.”
“That’s what I figured. Just thought I’d check.”
“Thanks for asking.”
“Oh, and by the way… Do you think you could advance me $300? I mean, you’ll probably be paying me tomorrow anyway, so I could pay you back.”
I’d finished cooking and plating my eggs and was headed into the morning room to eat.
“It’s just the simple fact that Elvin wants to sell me his rifle ’cause he needs the money quick. It’s worth $1,500 easy, but, like I say, he needs the money, so…”
“Planning to get back into the woods?”
“A little bit. You know, some.” When Wes first started working for us he hunted for deer each fall, but several times over the last couple of years he’d mentioned that he really didn’t do it anymore.
“I’ll talk with Susan, but seems to me that it might just make sense to pay you early since we won’t be here Friday.”
“That’d be perfect. Maybe before lunch? I told Elvin I’d come by during lunch if I could do it.”
“Okay. See you at noon.”