By Joe Darby
Fall is definitely my favorite time of the year and there are several reasons for that.
First, of course, is the relief from the stifling heat of summer, of which I complained several columns ago. I love the cool, crisp days and the bright blue skies of autumn.
Then, fall means the Major League Baseball playoffs and World Series, as well as the heart of college and pro football seasons.
And fall means another year is approaching its end and that we have made it through that year without great catastrophe.
Finally, the fall means that the end of grass cutting is just about here. At this point in my life, cutting grass is definitely not one of my favorite tasks. We have a fairly large backyard, so I do have a riding mower, meaning the job is not really too strenuous. It’s just boring.
I try to vary each cut by taking different routes around our many trees and bushes. Invariably I end up with a small patch in the middle of the yard that is so irregularly shaped that I have to ride over it several times to get all of the grass. And sometimes I think of the old country and western song about a guy spending hours “on a John Deere tractor and thinking about you all day.” I’m sure you know the one I’m referring to Hearing that song in my head helps the time pass as I mow down the blades.
I didn’t use to mind cutting grass, and I’ve been doing it for a very long time. Cutting the grass at my parents’ house became my chore when I was in my early teens. At first, we had one of the old non-powered push mowers, with the rotating blades that made a rather pleasant clatter as they worked. Then we got a power mower, which made the task a little easier.
But sometimes power mowers were reluctant to start and there I’d be, puling the starter rope over and over until the little engine finally sputtered to life. What I remember most about cutting grass in those days was the blistering heat and being covered with sweat.
There were interludes in my life after that when I lived in apartments and didn’t have to worry about yard work. My most salient memory of apartment-living, however, is the thin walls of most such structures, forcing me to listen to my neighbors’ conversations and hearing the flushing of their toilets. And I know they heard me too, so I would swap cutting the grass for the lack of privacy any day.
But for the great part of my time on earth, I’ve lived in a single family home and as the old cliché goes, if I had a dollar for every time I cut grass I’d be rich. But it doesn’t work that way, does it?
Both Mary and I have bad backs so I hire a yard man to do the trimming around the house, driveway and the many trees and bushes. So if I cut the grass right after he has done his job, the lawn does like pretty nice, I’ll admit.
A neat lawn goes along with my need for order and structure, so it all works out, I suppose. But anyway, I am truly glad that, with few exceptions, I won’t have to crank up my little red tractor in the coming months. I hope you enjoy your respits from cutting grass yourself.