Yesteryear’s Memories — Lawnmower Men

November 21, 2022

There are those of us who just want to get it over with. Lawnmowing, I mean. Every spring one of those things that I look forward to is that clean, green smell of someone else’s grass being cut. Somehow, I don’t get that same sensation when I’m pushing the mower myself, though.

It’s funny how I always think of this spring ritual in the fall. It’s the fact that all those mowers are on sale. End of the season is the best time to buy a new mower. I have neighbors with those expensive, high-powered hot rod mowers. “LawnThrasher 6000.” They do everything. They suck each blade of grass up to it’s full proud height and then at twelve thousand r.p.m. slice it to exactly 2.41 inches. The clippings are then deftly tossed into the collection bag where, with just the touch of a button, they’re ejected.

Ready to be composted, made into wine, or dumped in the trash, as you prefer. I’ve heard some mowers (or are they now called lawn processors) even neatly package the grass into 2.2 pound bales ready to be stacked and admired. It must be a real status symbol to have those bundles piled in your backyard, letting everyone know that you have the best mower on the block. Of course, it might be an invitation to be raided by the local police for a different kind of ‘grass.’ I’m glad I don’t have a lawn processor.

Those are the people who have their machines lubricated, tuned up, hand washed and polished every March. And then again in June. And maybe a new air filter and blade sharpening in mid-August when the grass gets dry and tough and you’ve run over a few twigs and maybe a beer can that the teenager down the block threw in your yard just before he got home at 2:21 a.m. And oh, that sharpening. I believe it takes four years of specialized training to do that job. The blade must be carefully inspected, filed, balanced, honed in special lawnmower blade oil and balanced again to be OK’d for use. The job must be done right.

Then there are the rest of us. I have friends — good friends — who never change the oil, never drain out the old gas in fall, never clean their mowers (especially the bird droppings or that unknown gunk that gets on the pull rope) and never knew that a blade could be sharpened. They’re the real people of the world. Their mowers start on the first pull of the season and only require a little gas now and then to keep going all summer. I’ve never seen them oil the wheels and I hope I never do. They’re the people who have time for visiting, cook-outs, and maybe even drinking a beer in their not too perfectly manicured back yard. Ya gotta love ‘em.

So to all those Lawnthrasher 6000 types out there — I respect all the time and effort you put into your oh-so-perfect yard ­ but don’t expect me to admire it too long. I’ve got a barbeque to go to.

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