As much as that lightning was enlightening, I can’t help but feel that the highlight of my mowing experience was the infamous yard with the dog poo.
The first yard we had to mow every Friday morning was “The Dog Poo Yard”. This place consisted of an open front yard with a back yard that was completely fenced in with a six-foot tall wooden fence painted red. It was the back yard that no one among us wanted to set foot in. The home owner had at least three very large dogs that were allowed to roam free in the back yard. They would leave mountains of smelly nastiness anywhere they wanted to and then the home owner would do absolutely nothing about picking up those rank piles of poo before we were to mow there. (This memory is so distinct that, even though this occurred 16+ years ago, I could take you down the exact street to the exact house and show you the exact back yard where this dastardly deed was done.)
So every Friday, our experience there would go something like this: We leave the shop with the foreboding feeling that we are embarking upon a doomed expedition. As we drive to The Dog Poo Yard, we reflect upon the life we’ve had….fond memories of loved ones and good times with friends. A question floats across my conscious brain: What’s the worst thing I’ve experienced in my life so far? Was it really that bad compared to this?
We arrive at the house and park in the driveway. We just sit there for a minute or two, gearing up for the inevitable and watching the wisps of green and yellow vapors from the dog poo piles wafting up and over the back yard fence. Then one of us says, “Well, I guess we should get this over with.” We all heave a heavy sigh and exit the truck. We get the two big mowers, weed whip and blower ready, taking as much time as possible to avoid being the first casualty of the dog poo mine field awaiting us. A period of time is spent with “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to determine who will be on the big mower in the back yard.
This, of course, means that the guy on the mower doing the front yard takes as much time as possible–including mowing at a much slower speed–to make sure that every blade of grass is cut exactly right (after all, it is the front yard and everyone sees the front yard, right?). On the opposite extreme, the guy mowing the back yard is in a quandary: Do I mow at the fastest speed to get this over with (knowing that this means I can’t see the poo piles coming at me until it’s too late)? Or do I mow slower to avoid stepping in the poo piles (risking olfactory overload and a complete mental shutdown)? No matter who lost the Rock, Paper, Scissors game, we were all very adept at “The Dog Poo Dance”. This consisted of the mower operator moving his feet any way he needed to in order to avoid stepping in the freshly mowed-over piles of dog poo (think of fancy breakdancing footwork and you’ll get the right picture of dog poo dancing). If he was feeling particularly daring, he did the Dog Poo Dance at the fastest speed on the mower.
If no third person was with us, the first one done with mowing got on the weed whip. This was almost worse than mowing, because sometimes those poo piles were very close to the edges of the yard where the weed whip needed to trim grass. This meant that, as hard as the guy on the weep whip tried to avoid it, the weed whip line would make contact with the dog poo, whipping dog poo everywhere (including the shoes, socks and legs of the weed whip operator).
The safest job for that yard was getting on the leaf blower. All that consisted of was walking around the yard (in as many pre-designated dog-poo-free places as possible) and blowing cut grass around. Of course, it was a good idea not to blow pieces of dog poo on anyone that might be close by….but we won’t talk about that.
Once the yard is completed and everything is loaded back up on the truck and trailer, we all stand around the truck, assessing the outcome of our venture. The smell is still hanging in the air, mostly due to the fact that we’re standing next to the dog poo remains that are mashed into the mower tires as well as what is probably on the bottom of our boots. With watering eyes and no signs of permanent injury, we all look at each other with smiles on our faces, triumphant in knowing that we once again overcame and conquered The Dog Poo Yard.