I have been mowing lawns for a very long time now. Of course, that started with our own lawn sometime in middle school. Eventually that also included my grandparent’s lawn. They lived a mile away from us in the small town of Bath (the very same Bath that I have previously mentioned in other stories). I started mowing Grandma & Grandpa’s lawn sometime around my eighth-grade year with their Lawnboy mower. That is when I discovered the degree to which I detest and abhor Lawnboy mowers. You only need one part of your anatomy to be able to determine whether someone is using a Lawnboy or not: your ears. A Lawnboy engine will sound like it’s hovering just above the point of dying out and then kick itself up to purr like a moped, all within a five second time frame. Over and over and over again. I still shake my head in amazement.
Mrs. Garland was an elderly lady who lived across the street from my grandparents. She liked the way I mowed their lawn, so she had me mow hers as well–with her riding lawn mower. I was pretty confident in my abilities to handle her riding mower until I got it too close to the top of a small and extremely steep hill behind her house. As I realized I was too close to the edge, gravity took the mower, blades still fully engaged, and myself, my foot mashing up and down on the brake pedal to no avail, for a three-second hair-raising ride to the bottom of the hill. This, of course, left a nice wide swath of cut-up weeds and dirt behind me all the way down the hill. The mower died at that point, which caused my heart to leap from my throat (where it had been for the ride down the hill) up into my left cheek. I ran across the street and got Grandpa, who thankfully got everything fixed up and running again in no time (as Grandpas are supposed to do).
In spite of that incident, word still got out about my mowing prowess and I began mowing for another elderly lady about ten minutes away from home. She had everything I needed to mow her yard and it was all electric. All of it. Including the mower. Ever used one of those? This was a decent one–on the small side-with a handle that could be moved to either side of the mower so that the mower didn’t even need to be turned around to mow the next row of grass. But I found myself developing a certain sense of paranoia the more I mowed her yard. If you use an electric mower, you need to always know where the electrical cord is that the mower is plugged into or you’ll have your own fireworks show and an imprint of the mower handle seared into your hands as the lawnmower runs over it. More than once, it seemed like that cord picked itself up and moved closer to the blades of that mower! (“Whaa?? Where did you come from? Gittonouttahere!”). I more and more found myself looking over my shoulder with a growing sense of uneasiness to see if that cord I had just passed that was ten feet away was now only five. I only mowed one summer there. Maybe that’s why.
I’ll share the culmination of my mowing experiences the next time we meet up! Until then….