It’s funny what will bring back memories and inspire a blog.
Right now I have to stop my recording because our lawn service is outside mowing. It is getting to be the end of the season and they try to get in as many mows before the first frost to allow them to stay open until Spring. They are mowing once every two days.
What memory does this encourage to pop into my head?
My Dad wanted to kill me.
If he didn’t actually want to kill me, he was certainly fine with the possibility that he would come home from work one night and there would be an extra chicken leg on his plate and one less chair at the table.
My father made me mow the lawn. I’m not sure if my older brothers had the job before me. If they did, they did not pass on any tips or tricks about how to do it. I was thrown into the job with no training other than “This is the rope. Pull it.”
Our lawn was a lawnmower’s deathtrap.
It had a top field area. That was where we played football or threw the Frisbee. Not too big. It took about a half hour to do this section. There were two enormous willow trees up there and about six other trees plus a pole vaulting pit my father built for me to practice. (I pole vaulted in high school. Impressed? Don’t be.) Then there was a long hill that led up to the field. The angle wasn’t too crazy. I had to lean a little to keep the mower on all four wheels, that’s all. Keep in mind…the chronology was this: I was originally doing this with a PUSH mower. No power except what came from my scrawny little twig arms. So…no power. I eventually graduated to a self propelled mower but that only added to the thrill…danger….idiocy. If a push mower rolled over and somersaulted down a hill…no one died. If a self propelled one went over….someone was losing a limb. And by someone I mean….
Then there was the area around the house. Lots of gardens. That ordinarily would be a complicated maneuver but…we were Burrs. That means we can’t grow things. The gardens were more inspirational than practical. Nothing was actually alive in any of them. I was entrusted with my own garden when I was young and decided to grow gourds. I felt a kinship with gourds. Pretty on the outside…hollow on the outside and served no discernable purpose.
That brings us to the death trap. The front yard. A very steep angle down to the street. This took strategy.
If I tried to push the mower UP the hill it would take me about fifty rows. AND I ran the risk of my sneakers slipping out from under me and a self powered mower flipping down over my back. Let’s cal that the back up plan. Or…
I could stand at the top of the hill and lower the mower fifty times. Unfortunately the mower weighed substantially more than I did (hard to believe, right?) and it would either slip out of my sweaty hands and run off across the street and into the neighbor’s yard, killing their duck, or it would drag me after it as it crossed the street and went into the neighbor’s yard. Neither option felt right. This option did allow me to keep all my limbs so that was a plus.
Last option would be laterally.
(This was my next to last option actually. The last option would be to run into the house crying that I had been stung by one of the million bees that swarmed under our pear tree.)
Laterally meant I would have to mow on an angle much steeper than the back hill but it had the advantage of only having about ten rows. That was usually my choice. I tried the other ways once in a while just to see if the older I got, the easier they would be. It had nothing to do with age. It was all geometry and bees.
I’m sure my Dad thought it was a life lesson. I certainly look at the little, level lawn that I have now and wonder why the hell I have a “lawn service.”