Nine Dollars??

Nine Dollars???

As told in several other stories, we moved to Raleigh, NC in 1980. There were still the remnants of sectionalism in the country and cultural divides were still fairly wide. However, these were closing and we never felt ostracized or like outsiders at all. There was however, the need to learn and adapt to new forms of speech. This included not only strange phrases (such as “I’ll carry you home” and “He stayed over there for years” for “I’ll take you home” and “He lived there a long time”, respectively), but also the manner of speaking. On the latter, southern drawls ran from the barely understandable to almost normal to our ears. This is a chronicle of just such an encounter.

In our front yard, there were three trees that were obviously dying, two were lodge pole pines and the other a white oak. All three were about 40 feet high and within striking range of our house, in fact one of the pines was only several feet from the front sidewalk.

There were quite a few houses being built in the area and since it was heavily wooded, the construction companies had crews to clear areas for the houses. This was NOT clear cutting like we have seen in Texas, but prudent selection of trees to clear so that the homes would still be on wooded lots. That being so, one day in the late summer of 1981, two guys drove in around lunch time and pointed out the three trees and said they could cut them down for us.

Since I knew it had to be done, I said, “Okay how much would you charge me?” The older one (they were brothers) replied; “Nineh dolla”. “What”, I asked; “Nine dollars??” He responded; “No, nineh, nineh dolla”. Thinking I’ve got it, I replied “Nineteen dollars each?” Frustrated, he enuciated; “No, Nintuh dolla for all three”. After a good laugh, I agreed that the price was reasonable and I only needed to check with my insurance company to see if they were covered and they could stop back the next day. The younger brother told me that they were insured and bonded.

As an aside, when I called the insurance agent and asked if I was covered it they had an accident. He told me in no uncertain terms absolutely not. I then asked, well what if one of the trees falls on my house, would that be covered. He said, since I was aware of the problem and hadn’t resolved it, it would not be covered. I said, “You can’t have it both ways, let me talk to your boss”. They decided I would be covered!

The brothers arrived around noon the next day and within 35 minutes and a glass of iced tea each, we had three trees in 18 inch long sections laying on the ground in the front yard. As I went to write the check, I joked; “Nine dollars, right?” They both laughed and told the check for ninety dollars!

Davdan @ 2008-2018