Mentor Profile #2: Dale and Dave

Since I tackled a huge one with number 1, I thought I would do an easier mentoring moment I had a few years ago for the second post.

When I first moved to STL I rented a little house in South Webster Groves, and it had a nice corner lot. As the Spring rolled around I let the grass get a bit long and was instructed by my landlord to mow it (it was in the lease that he could charge me 40/week if I didn’t mow it). So, I mowed it, didn’t bag it, and shot a lot of the grass into the street.

Across the street from me lived two older men – both retired, Dave and Dale, next door to one another. They came over to talk with me about the grass in the street. They began with firmness, and then were gentle – I have no idea if I had anything to do with this, or if is just ‘how they are’. Dave and Dale explained that it was unacceptable to have grass in the street. This is not how you mow, keep up your yard, or be a neighbor. But, if I wanted to borrow Dave’s blower to put the grass back in my yard I was welcome to it. Dave was clear that he was not offering to blow it for me (Dave was probably 70)! They seemed to figure out that I did not understand these things – either instinctively or through previous mentoring.

I remember being annoyed. I had better things to do, I was trying to build a youth ministry, etc. But, I also remember using his blower. Then, going over to borrow some clamps for a table I was making; then having a Nat Light with him in his yard one day (Dave drank Nat Light; he was an old painter and that was just fine with him to get his beer at Aldi’s). I only lived there for about a year and a half, but I still see Dave’s old work van tooling around sometimes. He had an annoying little dog (really his wife’s dog); I don’t miss the dog.

It was a good, light lesson – on being a man, taking care of one’s yard, listening to older men, and general neighborliness.

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