Column: Mowing, caring for the lawn is an ordeal best avoided

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Into each life some rain must fall. If you are lucky it will fall during the time you were planning on mowing the lawn. I do not enjoy mowing the lawn. That is a hard thing for a man to admit. It is like admitting that I am a dealer of both Mary Kay cosmetics and Avon products. My wife does not nag, but if she did, it would be nagging that she does to get me to mow the lawn.

If only I could read a book while mowing &045; then I would happily mow the grass. Mowing the lawn is boring &045; painfully boring. I try to think pleasant thoughts while I mow. I realize that most happiness is something that we make up our minds to have. Still, I can’t stop daydreaming of hateful things like walking rows of soybeans while I labor to knock off some Kentucky bluegrass. Mowing the lawn is like eating a mushy bullhead after Memorial Day. By that time, the fish has had time to marinate in that green water and tastes like, well, green water that bullheads have been marinating in. That is mowing to me. I come by my reluctance to mow naturally. My Grandma refused to mow her Iowa lawn. Family members mowed her lawn for her. Grandma wouldn’t even own a lawn mower. I once asked her the reason for her adamant refusal to mow her lawn.

&uot;The first time I see an obituary that states that the deceased was survived by a well-manicured lawn, I will start mowing mine.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

It is hard to argue with logic like that. Grandma passed the revulsion-to-lawn-mowing gene onto me. I would like to invent a time machine and then travel back into the past to find the first guy who ever mowed his lawn. Then I would slap him and tell him to knock it off. Just think of all the hours that the average family spends making sure grass does not become all that it could be. Why?

My mother enjoyed mowing the lawn. She mowed the lawn with gusto. She ran her riding mower at only one speed &045; with the throttle wide open. I would plant flowers in her yard and mark them with a wire holding a red flag that we used to mark field tile so that my mother would see them and not mow them down. Sooner or later my mother would ask about the plantings.

&uot;Where did you plant those flowers, dear?&uot; she’d ask. I’d tell her the location.

&uot;Oh, I think I mowed them over,&uot; she would admit. &uot;That explains the wire wrapped around the blades of the mower that your father is so unhappy about. He’s funny about things like that.&uot;

People talk about working on their lawns. When I was growing up, &uot;working on the lawn,&uot; meant only on thing &045; mowing it. Now it means weeding, fertilizing, de-thatching, seeding, watering and mowing. Some folks become obsessed with their lawns. My neighbor, Crandall, delights in mowing his lawn. It only takes him about an hour to mow &045; and it only takes that long because of the obstacle course he has of auto and tractor parts lying on the lawn &045; but it can take him up to eight hours to describe the job. I tell him he ought to pick up some of the junk if he really wants his lawn to look spiffy, but Crandall has taken a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism and neither does Crandall.

I think that the manufacturer should change the name of a particular mower from Lawn Boy to Lawn Girl so wives will feel more comfortable pushing it around. My wife says it should be named Lawn Husband. She states that she would enjoy pushing it around. Despite my feelings about mowing, I believe that a good husband should mow the lawn at least once each year &045; usually late in the season when there isn’t so much grass to cut. If your wedding anniversary falls during a lawn-mowing month, it might be a good idea for the perfect husband to mow the lawn a second time. It is a little thing like that which really solidifies a marriage.

The secret to a happy life is continuous small treats. Treats like a beautiful sunset, the song of the meadowlark, a child’s laugh and a kind word. Treats like Doc Olds telling me that there was no need for him to remove my tonsils &045; he’d just loosen them up a bit. And treats like watching my wife mow our lawn.

Hartland resident Al Batt writes columns for the Wednesday and Sunday editions of the Tribune.