When I was a kid, our family was the last in the neighborhood to buy a power mower. In those days, people argued which was better, the rotary type which you had to push or the self-propelled reel-type which–if set wrong–dragged senior citizens through their yards like a runaway horse. We got a rotary and liked it because it chopped up the pinecones in the yard rather than getting them stuck in the blades.
When we were in high school, a friend with a yard equipment company lent us a John Deere and a trailer to haul it around. We mowed a lot of yards that summer and paid a cut of the action to the lawnmower shop’s owner. Friends who’d laughed at us during our push mower days were envious and we laughed ourselves to the bank.
Now, our property is large enough for several houses and so we have several riding mowers. When they’re working at the same time, we get our grass cut often enough to keep the place from looking abandoned.
When a mower is down, we have trouble keeping up. Our property eats lawn powers. It was a farm until recently and all the cuts of ploughs and harrows, while nothing to a tractor and a bush hog, are a menace to a riding mower. Our mowers ride like bucking horses. That’s hard on them and hard on us.
The aches and pains of old age, arthritis, and otherwise, don’t like riding a bucking horse or mower. So, for several days after cutting the grass, I can hardly move. Or sleep. Or reach down to the floor to tie my shoes or pat the kitties. Then, of course, rain comes, the grass grows, and it’s time to back the mower out of the garage and start the process all over again.
Amy Winehouse once said, “Every bad situation is a blues song waiting to happen.” So, I have to say that this property loves the blues when it’s time to make it look like people actually live here.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the conjure woman vs. the KKK novel “Conjure Woman’s Cat.”