When I was a teen, I heard my dad talk about someone who didn’t measure up to his expectations. If he paid a mechanic to fix his car and the job wasn’t done right, he’d have a fit and say “That jackleg mechanic ought-a quit lying to people–lying wonder–having folk believe he can fix cars–taking their money like that. It’s highway robbery!”

One Sunday we were at church and the Pastor let a guest preacher deliver the message. All the way home, my dad kept saying “Pastor let that jackleg preacher in the pulpit and the man can’t even preach. Pastor ought-a stop letting these folk come and pretend to preach just to get an offering.”

My mom never had anything to say when he went off on a tantrum. He never cussed but it was a certainty that he’d call somebody a jackleg if he was unhappy about how things turned out.

As an adult, I’d catch myself calling folk jackleg for the same reasons. When I pay someone to mow my lawn, and it turns out worse than what I can do on my own, I call them a jackleg mower. Actually, I can mow my own lawn–it’s great exercise–but sometimes I don’t have time to do it.

Here’s my beef: If I have to pay someone to do what I already know how to do, I expect the finished job to look better than the work I can do.

One day I went shopping with a friend, and I hired someone in the neighborhood to mow my lawn. My lawn was lush and looked like a golf course. I received many compliments at that time. All the lawn needed was a little off the top, and that’s what I explained to the man. When I returned from the store, I couldn’t believe what I saw. My beautiful, thick carpet of grass was unevenly cut; and the first thing out of my mouth was “Jackleg! lying wonder!” Even neighbors did a double-take when they saw my lawn. I was embarrassed.

And then, when I settled down, I reminded myself that it was really my fault that things happened the way they did,and I needed to take responsibility for what I created. I should have seen his work up close, or inquired about his work before I hired him. With that realization, I had to let go of being upset about the matter, and I stopped saying jackleg and lying wonder.

Seeing more clearly,



Author: wbfreelance

Retired Senior Citizen, African American, Christian, Bachelor's Degree in Theology, writer of non-fiction, can knit and crochet, work picture puzzles for display, and basic earring-making.

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