José, my gardener, called and asked if he should come over to mow the lawn.
I looked out through the window. The grass was not yet tall enough to mow. It had rained, and green life was returning to Austin after the long winter, and spring was almost fully here.
But the snowstorm of a month ago in Texas dealt Austin a cruel hand and plant life has not really recovered.
“José,” I said, “The lawn doesn’t need you yet. Maybe in a week, two?”
“I need the money, Mr. Moyo,” José pleaded.
“What happened to you, José,” I asked. “You usually are good with your money.”
“My wife contacted Covid-!9,” José said, voice trembling. “She passed it to our two daughters and son.”
“Mr. Moyo, it’s serious.”
“How are they doing now?”
“They have all recovered,” José said. “But my wife lost sight in both eyes.”
“Looks like that, Mr. Moyo,” he said. “That’s what the ophthalmologist said. But we are praying.”
“What about you, José?”
“Somehow, I didn’t get it,” José concluded.
“Excellent, José, you can come over,” I said. “We will find some yard work for you.”
“Mr. Moyo,” José said, “have you taken the Covid vaccine?”
“No,” I responded, “but I have been in self-isolation for more than a year.”
“I can’t risk it,” José said. “Please put the check in an envelop and place it in your mailbox for me. I don’t want to risk coming in contact with you.”
“I understand, José,” I responded. “In Africa, we have a proverb.”
“You always have a proverb, Mr. Moyo.”
“Ẹni Ṣàngó bá tojú ẹ̀ wọlẹ̀, kò ní báwọn bú Ọba Kòso.”
“I hear you, Mr. Moyo,” José said. “I’ll be there in ten minutes.”