Maddening Crowd

Lawn Mowing

With aging parents I’ve watched as there is a gradual mental decline while sharp with facts reminiscences and fragmentary remnants from decades even centuries in the distance but lost on the present or more recent. It is a problem and that was the clue with the additional lamentation that this will make me worry in my own near future. Even though the way I shape the data itself is somewhat indistinct facts and coloring the shading like clothes I wore will put this between the ages of twelve and fifteen years old. I would be more precise if I could and I can’t.

There was a story a short story then the story about the short story all being too reductive but whatever.

The story was about a kid who mowed the lawn for his senior — an archetype for a grumpy old man neighbor — and the two went back and forth about perfection with that job in hand about how the turf should appear even while trimming it down in an overlapping pattern that results in a golf-course like green that is verdant plush and planed off at the top like machine-cut artificial turf. The story was in Boys Life or something similar perhaps an anthology for young men with big print and simple line drawings but the actual source is currently unknown to me. Remembering how the story felt and then how the story replicated itself with my own maternal grandfather as I would nervously try to yank the starter cord on the gasoline powered motor. That noisy oil-belching two-stroke powered engine was my enemy me being raised on electric lawn mowers that were more eco-friendly so they said and I am unsure if that is true or not but the goal was start the little motor and for a scrawny kid like I was it was a chore in and of itself as I would fiercely face off against the pull-rope wrapping it tightly three times then giving a yank with all my strength hoping the motor sputtered to life which it would over time. Starting that lawn mower was a first test of nascent manhood.

The trick to mowing the edenic garden backyard was to make almost twice as many passes to get the grass manicured evenly and to smooth down the ruts left by the mower’s tires and thereby distribute the clipping themselves over the cut lawn as a little layer of extra cushion making it all appear level. The job would pay at the most five whole dollars but that was on a sliding sale with the first time paying only three dollars because I didn’t go over the ruts right but over time I realized it was like that story and while I lacked the emotional or verbal skills to suggest that art imitated life in fact that was what was happening.

In the book it was five dollars and in real life as a kid it was never more than four seventy-five.

There was a secondary lesson to be learned from lawn-cutting for aging grandparents other than I have a lawn that requires no maintenance at all these days and that singular take-away point is about a job well-done being its own reward in some respect and aspect of life.

Rock Shop

Rock Shop

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