Thursday, November 30, 2017

Nonconsecutive Gratitude - Mowing the Grass*

What CAN'T Jeremy Be Grateful For?

On Tuesdays and Thursdays we're gonna answer the question, "How in the world can Jeremy be grateful for _______?" The blank is up to you to fill. Leave your suggestions in the comments below or find me on Instagram @nonconsecutive

Upon having a son some men rush to the sporting goods store for a mitt. Others purchase the junior-sized fishing pole and still others open a 529 college savings plan. I suppose all fathers have ambitions for their sons. Mine is getting the grass mowed. I don’t want to set the bar too high for the boy. It’s self-serving you say? What do you think, those other guys are playing baseball and fishing out of a sense of moral duty? Well, the 529 guy maybe.

Anyhow, we need to go back a ways. When I was getting on towards middle school, my family moved into a house with a half-acre yard. The mowing of this large yard would be my charge. It was essentially flat and basically square and completely fenced-in. The soil was rich and the grass was caterpillar. And the growing season felt like it was eleven and a half months of the year.

When I initially assumed my duties, the lawn tool I received was a self-propelled push mower. The bulky self-propelling mechanism on top of the machine didn’t actually work, but its added weight did make turning around at the end of each row more difficult. I grew strong of back and numb of hand mowing those heavy rows every Saturday. We acquired a rider by and by. It had a wide deck and a strong engine and, owing to some sort of collision, only turned left. It wouldn’t so much as veer to the right, but it was the industry’s first zero-turn left-hand mower. The battle was no less hard, but it had gone from infantry to strategy. Failure to plan would mean being stuck in a corner or having to double back on a row. Since I had very many much better things to be doing on Saturday there was no time to waste on re-work, and I became painstakingly tactical.

Years later I would move north and buy a house of my own with a half-acre yard. It was almost exactly the same except without the fence and with some sort of poison exuding from the soil. Whether it was a change in me or the change of locale I cannot say, but one thing was sure, I was suddenly and alarmingly allergic to grass. After a session of mowing it was like someone had taken a rubber mallet and beaten fiberglass insulation into all of my head holes. And I would be down for 20 hours at a clip.

So how can I be grateful for mowing the grass? Because it’s past tense. I’ve got some people in my life who show me great kindness lawn-wise. I hide inside, not even going near the doors or windows while I hear the mower running. As for my son, he will never feel the crushing pressure from his old man to achieve on the ball field. He will never get dragged out of bed while the stars are still twinkling to go shiver in a rowboat. And he will surely never have a funded 529 plan. My sole ambition for him is to get out there and get that grass knocked down.

Suggested by Jane LaTour

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