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Mow that grass

Mow That Grass.

I remember when I was little and I would watch from inside the safety of our house as my dad would mow our yard. My parents, from the first time I could remember, would buy me the little picture books with trucks, cars and machines. They would then follow that up with buying me plastic push mowers. When I was about three years old I remember watching my dad mow our yard at our old house with his big red mower. He would sometimes pull up to the back porch and then my big sister, Emma, would go running out the back door with her hands over her ears, jump up onto Dad’s lap, and go for a ride around the yard. One time my mom thought it would be nice to take a picture of me sitting on the mower with my dad. I still remember the loud roar and how I felt scared by the overall look of the mower. After probably about three minutes, which seemed like an hour to me, mom had a scrapbook-worthy picture of me sitting on Dad’s lap “mowing” the yard. We still have that photo of myself. I look like I just had my fingers smashed in a door and trying not to cry. Later on when I was about thirteen, and more accustomed to noise, one of our good friends at our church was going to have to move to Virginia. Mrs. Smith asked my dad if I wouldn’t mind taking care of her yard while she was away in Virginia because she was not going to sell her house and was planning on coming back to visit off and on. Dad told her it would not be a problem and that it would be a good opportunity for me to work. At that time I did not know what I was getting into. When I got to the house with my dad I could not help but notice all the apple trees and the banks. I could tell that Mrs. Smith and Mr. Smith used to be farmers and at one time had a pretty extensive garden. On the upper right-hand side of the house there was a large vegetable garden, an orchard of apple trees, and about four grape vines thirty feet long. In the very front of the yard there was a circle of apple trees and the driveway went around them. On up in the center of the front where the driveway stopped, closer to the house, was a little path and a couple of dogwood trees drooping over to provide shade. On the lower left-hand side were two long rows of apple trees separated with a clothesline and a little springhouse. In the back there was a fairly large rose bush and a little shed for the old tractor. Down on the bank in the back there were apple trees, pear trees, and orange trees. At the bottom of the bank there was a gate that opened up into the field. All around the house were flowerbeds that used to have herbs and flowers in them. And in the center was the little white house. The only smells that I found were the smells of mashed apples and an earthy, buggy smell. Anyway, I started up the mowers and started to trim the yard…little did I know about how big the yard was at that time. About two hours later I was finished trimming. The thing that slowed me down were all the apple trees and pear trees. As you know, apples and pears fall on the ground, so mowing her yard was sort of like putting baseballs on your floor, soaping them up, and running on them barefoot. Through all the hours and all the sweat, it was still a good thing for me to do, and I am glad my Dad made me take the job. Some people do not know what hard work is, but after five or so years of mowing that yard I have realized it is a good thing.

There was one day I remember more than all the others. On this particular day I asked my dad if he wouldn’t mind to come and help me mow that day. He agreed and we went on over to the house and started up the mowers. I was trimming around the trees with the weed eater and he was on the riding mower that stayed parked in the shed. Everything was going smoothly until I caught a flash out of the corner of my eye. Looking around, I saw that the front part of the riding mower was on entirely on fire. I ran over to Dad, who had just jumped off the mower and was beating the fire with his shirt, grabbed some keys he handed me, and went inside the house to get water. Unlocking the door I ran inside the house and turned on the faucet but nothing came out so then I looked under the sink and turned the valves but still nothing came out. I looked around panicky and there in front of me were two, two-gallon water jugs by the hallway. Quickly I picked them up and ran back to the mower with the water. Dad opened them up, made sure it was water, and then threw the water on the mower. The fire eventually went out and dad looked over at me and said, “Well, where’s the bar-b-que?”

Over the years I found more and more yards to mow and learned how to mow with specific designs. But now, after all the time and money I have put into my own landscape business, I find myself tired of it. I have become sloppy when I mow the Smith’s yard now. I do not care about the apples or the pears. I never mow the back and only mow their house every other week because no one lives there anyway. I have grown tired of the smell of gasoline, of all the oil and dirt, the extreme heat I subject myself to, and the overall stress of scheduling. I wish for something more. And that was when I realized that, no matter what I do in life, I will grow tired at some point. We all have our down days – but we cannot just stop. Like my dad who went with me that one day when the mower caught fire, we cannot just let things burn. The entire story of my wanting to mow, finally learning, enjoying the work for a few years, and in the end hating the chore, reflects much of how life goes. We, including me, must persevere to the end. We must mow that grass.