When the summer people return, the spiders must move outside.

A little town meeting humor. In a town that shall not be named, the head table (so to speak)—select persons, town clerk, tax collector, and other dignitaries—got an attack of the giggles when they noticed a typo on the town budget. In the category of “Public Works” the “l” had been omitted. File under: We all revert to age twelve sometimes.

Jenn at the conference for the New England Agricultural Teachers Association aka NEAT tickled my funny bone with tales of living and working in a tourist-intense town on one of our big lakes. Every summer locals host TGTG parties. (Thank God They’re Gone.) Partly in jest. She said that for years Bill was the go-to guy for opening up camps, villas, cottages, mansions for the summer people. Putting in the water, making sure stuff worked the way it should, chasing away the spiders, etc. But after many years he decided to retire and pass some of his customers on to Jenn’s handy husband John. Jenn said there were three letters sent to Bill’s customers announcing his retirement. One said, “Here’s your keys. Good luck.” The other — for the nicer customers — said “Here’s John’s number. He’ll take care of you from now on.” And the other, Jenn couldn’t remember what it said, maybe something like: “I think just as highly of you as you always have of me all these years.”

Reminds me of the story of the housekeeper who took care of the cranky old yankee’s place for twenty-five years give or take. Finally she decided to say something. “All these years and you never said, ‘Bea, you’re doing a good job.’” The cranky old yankee says, “Never said you wa’n’t.”

Back to Jenn and Bill and John.

Jenn and John love fiddle music and that first summer, with John taking care of fifty camps, villas, cottages, and mansions give or take, and getting a call every time a drain stopped up, Jenn was worried they wouldn’t be able to get away themselves. They wanted to go to Cape Breton in August to hear some music. They told Bill their problem. Bill said, “Don’t worry about it. Just put a message on your answering machine says, ‘We’re gone for ten days. If you have a problem, call Bill.”

So they did.

After a couple of days in Cape Breton, they called Bill to see how things were going. They got his answering machine. “HI this is Bill. I’m out of town for a couple weeks. If you need something, call John.”

That’s what I call an elegant solution.

Jenn said John had a laid back attitude about the whole handyman thing. Summer people would call all in a frenzy because, say, the hot water in the washer didn’t hot up. He’d go over. Check the hoses. Move the hot water hose from the cold water hook up to the proper one. Problem solved.

When he got home from addressing yet another emergency, Jenn would ask how it went and John would say, “Another miracle.”

Never met John. But I know I’d like him.