Sunday, October 4, 2009

The lawnmower blues

MARK’S ARTICLE – October 4, 2009 “Probably broke a Commandment. Maybe a Beatitude”

ROOFTOP – Have you noticed how this turbo vent seldom turns? You’ve been up here long enough to have noticed. Last time it was so stationary we used it to set our coffee mugs on. Remember? Well, we did. The thing doesn’t turn.

And, today we have a bit of a breeze and the thing acts like it’s asleep. What I’ve got here is a hole in the roof with a vented metal bulb over it.

I’m pretty sure what happened is I didn’t make it tall enough. The turbo just barely clears the peak of the roof. It probably needs to stick way up there. I should’ve known better than to try to install it myself. -- Beg pardon? What’d I miss?

I didn’t think we should pass up a nice day like this. It is the first halfway cool day since mid-May. It’s been overcast since early morning. I decided that if it stayed that way till after lunch, we’d go roofward. Not bad is it?

The lawn looks nice too, doesn’t it? I’m sure you were going to mention that at some point. I’m really proud of my Honda self-propelled mower. The thing doesn’t cut as wide a swath as I’d like, but it sure starts easy.

Usually when I mow I’m afraid to kill the mower to talk to a neighbor or pick up a limb. Too afraid I’d have trouble getting the mower restarted. That trait, attitude, weirdity… was caused by years of bad mowers.

When I was a kid, we never let the mower die till the job was done. Our first un-rented mower was a 20-inch piece of junk with a blade. You’d have better luck getting a cat to whistle than to start the thing before the 20th pull. .

The only thing dad knew to do with the lawnmower was to change the sparkplug. He had a drawer full of sparkplugs. All sizes. I don’t think he ever threw one away. So, we’d replace one bad sparkplug with one as bad.

Eventually, the mower would start, and Dennis and were off to the races. We’d take turns running around the yard pushing that small-wheeled piece of… I’m sorry. I kind of got carried away. Point is, I like my new Honda mower.

One of my neighbors signaled me a couple of weeks ago while I was mowing. Wanted to have a chat. I don’t think Jerry ever worries about turning his mower off to do stuff. He must’ve had good mowers when he was a kid.

Now he’s got a riding mower that cuts a serious swath. I think it’s a John Deere. Or, at least, John Deereish in color. I don’t know if that’s ever been said. John Deereish in color.

When I see Jerry mowing his lawn, I really have to wrestle with the ol’ tenth Commandment. That is the one about coveting, isn’t it? Might be bearing false witness. Hope not. That one sounds worse than coveting. With coveting I’m just thinking that I wish I had Jerry’s mower. Better than that, one of those turn on a dime things. I could mow my lawn in 20 minutes with one of those.

But, forget that. I’m trying to tell you about my neighbor comin’ over to chat, but someone keeps interrupting me. So, Jerry waves at me and I cut the mower off. Didn’t give it a second thought. It’s a Honda.

Jerry walks over and I take off my cap and wrestle off my doctor’s mask that I wear for allergies. I don’t know if it works, but it sure makes my face hot and sweaty.

We talked for a good while about… I don’t know. Nothin’ important. Then he went back to doing his chores and I slipped the mask over my head, put on my cap and pulled the cord on the mower. That bubba started right up. I almost cried. I only wish Dad had lived to see a mower that starts on the first tug.

Unfortunately, things turned bad quickly. I’d gone back and forth and around a few trees before I noticed that my safety glasses weren’t fogging over. That was odd. It didn’t take long for me to figure out the reason. I wasn’t wearing them. Apparently, they flew off when I took my mask off to talk to Jerry.

So, again I stop the mower. I walked all over the place looking for those glasses. Well, not on the next block. That’d be stupid. Eventually, I gave up and went back to mowing. Wasn’t long before I ran over the glasses. They had apparently camouflaged themselves.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a pair of safety glasses hit by a mower. It looks cool. They got hit right at the nosepiece. Ended up with two curved lenses with mangled arms. I guess that’s what you call the two parts that set on top of your ears. Arms? Legs? Brickersnicks?

It just goes to show you that, while safety glasses will protect your eyes from hurled objects, they will in no way protect your face should a mower run over your head.

I really liked those glasses, too. They had a slight tint. And, made me look super cool. When you’re wearing a white mask out in the yard, you grab for any chance to look cool. Fortunately, I had a spare pair of glasses. They’re not dorky-looking, but not cool, either.

I’m probably breaking another commandment thinking negative like that. I should be thankful that at least I have eyes. And, a mowed lawn. Look down there. Doesn’t it look nice?

Now, if I could get this turbo vent to spin, I’d be one blessed fella. Of course, then I’d lose a setting place for my coffee mug.

The message I’m taking away from this entire roofsitting episode is that we all oughtta just count our blessings. I don’t know what all you’ve got, but I’ve got a buncha stuff. For one thing, I’ve got you to join me up here on the roof. All six of you. And, I’ve got a lawnmower that starts on the first tug. You add Kay to that mix and I’m one blessed guy.

Whoa! And, if I could get Kay to help mow, I’d-- And, there you have it. I pushed too far. Just went over the edge again. Probably broke another Commandment. Maybe a Beatitude. Blessed is he whose wife moweth not, for he shall find rest atop his own roof. Now, that hints of blaspheme. Just say goodbye, Mark. – Next time.



  1. Good article Moke! I remember that Daddy always rented a mower and how y'all had to mow the yard fast so he didn't have to pay extra for it.
    I'm so thankful that I have the money to pay someone to mow my yard for $35, and they mow every other week. I could mow myself, but my back hurts so bad. If I were to mow it, I would be mowing a little of it everyday in order to finish it. I'm thankful for Juan & his crew.

  2. Thanks for the interesting read Mark :)