I had to mow the yard because I couldn’t find the house–or the cat

I think we’ve had rain for 10000000 days. When it’s not raining, the grass is too wet to mow, and/or the flu we’ve been fighting has kept us inside. I finally cut the grass after supper last night because I wasn’t sure whether I was coming home to my house or a neighbor’s house. Plus, when the cat went outside, he disappeared into the pasture primeaeval.

The grass was not only higher than the cat, it was higher than the mower. Dark clouds were rolling in. Vicious lightning owned the horizon off to the east. I had to move quickly or darkness would swallow the world and I’d run into the black Angus cattle in the adjoining pasture. (Before the farmer put in a new fence, the cattle got out on numerous occasions at night. I could hear them in the yard, but couldn’t see them. When cattle get out, the whole community comes out to round them up.)

The riding mower really wasn’t built for grass this high. Seriously, tall fescue needs a tractor with a bush hog. We used to have one, but the bush hog was shot and the tractor was old, so we sold it off. The mower stalled out numerous times and gulped gas faster than a sailor swigs beer on liberty. So, I ran out of gas before I got done and had to tow the mower back to the garage with my Buick about the time the rain hit.

In the light of day this morning, the yard looks like the cut grass is piled up and ready to bale. At least the house is visible from the road and doesn’t look like an abandoned homestead. I’m getting too old for this kind of crap. At least I had the presence of mind to put the cat in the house and to use the mower’s headlights in case any cows got in the yard. None did, but they raised a ruckus on the other side of the fence.

Frankly, I think it’s about time to hire a landscaping company and hope they show up for work.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell grew up in the Florida Panhandle and sets his stories there.

“Wanda J. Dixon’s warmth and gorgeous singing voice are superb in this story about Conjure Woman Eulalie, which is told through the voice of her cat and spirit companion, Lena. Dixon zestfully portrays Eulalie, who is “older than dirt” and is kept busy casting spells, mixing potions, and advising people–that is, when the “sleeping” sign is removed from her door. Most distinctive is Eulalie’s recurring sigh, which conveys her frustration with Florida in the 1950s, when Jim Crow laws and “Colored Only” signs were routine. Dixon’s Lena is fully believable when she spies around town and reports to Eulalie that rednecks have raped and murdered a young woman. They almost escape until Eulalie persuades a witness to come forward. Listeners will marvel at the magical realism in this story and benefit from the helpful glossary of the charming local dialect. S.G.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016″

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