Tuesday, July 26, 2011


When I was a kid almost everyone had a snazzy mower like this
to keep their yards under control.
It was a great system, really.
Few moving parts and you could stop quickly.
Add in the benefits of some solid aerobic exercise...
and it was quite the machine.
Of course, I hated ours.
It was actually Big Boo's job to mow the lawn.
But Big Boo was a jock and played every sport humanly possible
at that point in ancient history.
Guess who got to mow the lawn when he had practice?

We lived in a nice upper middle class neighborhood.
The race to best the Jones was always on.
The McPearsons were the clear winners
with their first ever color TV
and matching Cadillacs.
We weren't sure what Pricilla's daddy did for a living.
But unlike our daddies
he wore his church clothes to work every day...
suit, tie and hat!

Naturally it was big news when any
delivery truck showed up at the McPearson's house.
One lovely Saturday morning
the Sears van dropped off a big brown crate.
I could see it from my bedroom window...
and had to go investigate!
By the time my sneakers hit their lawn,
it was out of the box.
The biggest, fanciest green and yellow lawn mower
I had ever seen in person.

Mr. McP stood behind the bar grinning
and pointed out the features to his oldest son.
Two things stuck me as funny...
Mr. McP was wearing casual clothes
Mr. McP had his hands on the bar as if he intended to use 
the wonder machine himself!
Everyone knew that they had a "man" who did all their yard work....
and no one knew he had casual clothes!

Had the McPs fallen on hard times?

We gathered... the neighborhood kids...
around it at a safe distance.
Mr. McP carefully filled the gas tank with a funnel
and screwed the cap on tight.
After a couple of pulls on the rope...
it roared loudly to life and he warned us all to stay back.
I've never seen a man mow a yard so proudly!
Or a herd of children following behind one.

It was noisy and it stunk.
We loved it!
I suppose it was the thrill of the moment
and a big sense of pride that caused
Pricilla to become so frisky.
Mr. McP hollered at us to go home.
Mrs. McP let me stay.
Was I lucky or what?
She warned us to stay away from Pricilla's father
and went back to her quiet house.

We decided to pretend to be horses.
The things little girls do for fun!
I had a pixie but tossed my head anyway
to get the proper horsey expression.
Pricilla was way better with her long curls
and even longer legs.
Neither of us bothered to notice
that she had crossed onto the long grass.
We were wild stallions from Arabia running like the wind.

The clash was horrific,
when the wild Arabian met John Deere...
Pricilla and Mr McP met as they rounded the same bush.
I first ran for Mrs. McP
and then home.
News spreads fast in the old neighborhood.
By the time she got to school on Monday
everyone knew that the McPs' fancy new lawn mower
hadn't cost an arm and a leg...
just three toes.

My lawn mower died yesterday.
Its a gas powered Craftsman that would never impress anyone.
I prefer electric like I used to have,
but this one was here and mine is up there.
My yard has a big square O in the tall grass.
Today the man will be using part of his day to fix it.
I won't be getting a new toe-eater.
But I did think about getting one like this
It looked fun!


  1. OMG did the accident cost your neighbor 3 toes?

    When I was a kid, I used to drag the neighbor kids around the yard with our tractor, but the blade had been removed. It was just for loud fun.

    Recently our old tractor died, and it took Mr. Cube less than a week to buy a new one. I don't think he would've even considered the thing in the photo for one second.

  2. Cube- Pricilla did. She lost the piggy that had roast beef, the piggy that had none and the one who cried wee wee all the way home. I tried to cheer her up with the fact that she could still wear flip-flops with the other two piggies intact, but she really hated to wear sandals or go bare foot after that. She has some balance issues too.
    We used to ride on the back of my dad's forklift. Machines are just plain fun!
    The man is being thrifty... so he'll curse it and fiddle until he gets it working. No new toe-eaters for me.

  3. I have read that your pinkie toe is critical for balance. Poor thing!

    I LOVE my electric mower - it seems to be nearly maintenance free, cheap to run, quiet. My yard has to big a slope to use a manual rotary mower, although I do own one.

  4. secret agent woman- I love electric mowers! They are light and easy to use, nice and quiet and they don't stink. I lost my affection for "stinky things" years ago.

  5. We had a kid in our neighborhood who lost the tip of his middle finger to a lawnmower. It (the truncated finger) was an endless source of fascination to the rest of us. It was also enough of a reminder for us to never do what he did, which was try to clean something from a lawnmower while it was still on. Yikes!

  6. Suldog- Yikes indeed! There is something completely fascinating about injuries, scars and well, maming to children. They lack the social stop that adults use to pretend they don't see them. Of course if it was an adult who was damaged, that scared the hell out of us kids. But kids with missing pieces were pretty cool. Ha.

  7. my dad's 89, soon to be 90, and he still cuts his back grass with a hand mower like that. i cut his front and side grass with a power mower, every generation gets a little lazier these days.

  8. Ouch! That's pretty brutal. I haven't run a mower in almost a year. It's wonderful.

  9. billy pilgrim- You are such a good son! But I have to laugh because my MIL is 76 and mows her huge yard... on a ride on mower. Its even got a cup holder for her soda!

  10. 3GirlKnight- Yay! Thanks for following me! I used to have a yard the size of a postage stamp and mowing was soooo easy. But at least the man will fix it... which gives me time off.

  11. Quite a story! I've never mowed a lawn as I did not grow up here and so I avoid getting into the situation (I don't live with one now). But if the mower is as pretty as the one at the bottom.. um...

  12. Thanks so much for the great post. I really enjoyed reading it. I'm so glad for more information on Casual clothing.


  13. Shopgirl- Actually I enjoy mowing the lawn. I don't have a fancy mower, just a regular gas model but I like the exercise and the satisfaction of seeing what I've done completed.
    I missed mowing when I was an apartment dweller.

  14. Stephanie P- Well come down in the hole! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. The term "casual clothing" is almost as funny as "leisure suit" but not quite as smarmy. Thanks for the link too... I will check it out!

  15. I have never mowed a lawn in my life, but I have driven a tractor on many occasions. On the other hand, Mr. Cube loves his new tractor so much that he'll often mow the neighbor's lawn too!

  16. Cube- I'd love to drive a tractor! I'm wishing that I lived next to you and Mr Cube. Randy is still working on the mower. The grass is high and getting higher by the minute.

  17. You'd love to drive this tractor - it even has lights!

    BTW if you lived next door to us, I'm sure we'd have some good times.

  18. Cube- Lights! Even more fun.
    I agree... the good times would roll!

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  20. Ouchie. Three toes, huh? My older is dying to mow the lawn, but there's no way I'm going to let him (yet) with my "free store special."

    Yep... absolutely no safety features at all, but it cuts the grass. I've gotten all my mowers that way except for, ironically, my push mower.

    When we first moved here, that's what I wanted: an old-fashioned push mower like I used as a kid at my grandparents. Whirrrr, whirrrr, whirrrr.

    Trouble is, though those do just fine with grass, weeds are another story. The wiry weeds just twist on through the blades and come out uncut, though the grass around them is. It's from hell, since my yard is basically all weeds. I wound up having to weed-wack practically the whole damn lawn after I mowed.

    I gave it three years. Then, one day driving home, there she was waiting curbside. Ahhhh. Now the crabgrass is thick and lush, looks just fine as long as I keep it short. Wotthehell? It wants to be here, and my lawn stays nice and green with no watering even when neighbors with their fancy fescues have burnt out while they were on vaca.

    My personal mower maintenance regime, that hasn't failed me yet: take a cup of gasoline and pour it gently over the mower engine, in a safe (ish) place... driveway or something, and tank empty. Wait for the stuff to all evaporate.

    Get a can of B'laster and follow the directions next to clean out the spark plug, cylinder &c.

    Fill 'er up and give 'er a try.

    This has yet to fail me with any p.o.s. mower I've found curbside, or to fix minor engine headaches. I don't know why... I think it just loosens up any gunk then burns it off.

    My 2 cents, there.

  21. Cricket- I used to drive the first husband crazy with not wanting my boys to have control of a mower. I have vivid memories of seeing Pricilla lose her toes! I had already cut off one of my own toes by then and knew it was not fatal, yet painful and scary. I did not want a repeat with my guys.
    I've never seen a mower do this before... initially we were sure it was the dead switch cable coming undone. Randy fixed that, but now the pull cord won't budge. He says I can stand on the handle while he gets under it and fixes that. Guess he doesn't want to spill the gas.
    Sadly, we went to Todd's house the other day right after my mower died... and he had a bran spanking new buggy! My envy meter was overflowing. He could walk along using only two fingers on one hand to push it!
    Ours is supposedly power driven... yeah right... it takes both arms and a good use of my legs to move Nellie. She is a real battle axe of a lawn mower.
    I truly miss my little, light weight,quiet electric Bessy. But at least Nellie gives me a good work out. =:)

  22. I had that happen to me once. Turned out I had to take the pull cord assembly off the top, spring some little pawl in there that had gotten stuck, rewind the cord manually, and there it was. You sort of wind it up then stick a screwdriver in there to keep the spring still while you screw the arrangement back on?

    Of course, if yours doesn't have the cord on the top, I have no idea... but if it does, that's easy and worth a look, anyway.

    On the other hand, I wonder if pouring gas over it would also have loosened up that pawl? Heh, heh. Dangerous, yet effective. ;-)

  23. Cricket- Thanks! It does indeed go in through the top. I'll pass that on to Randy.
    BTW- our yard is also mostly weeds. I know the kind you mean with the long stems... if I don't mow quickly enough... the stems get so that they fall over when I mow and I get only half the stem and have to do that row again to cut them down all the way. Hearty buggers! But it does indeed pretend to be lawn when they are all cut. =:D

  24. Cricket- A gas can and a match are a solution that I often think of but in the end, do not opt to choose. But I do threaten.

  25. that bike mower is pretty funny. of course you could just go with goats ;)

  26. lime- I'm liking your idea bout the goats. I had friends who had the kind of small goats that fainted when frightened. I think it would be fun to have a few trotting around the yard, kicking up their heels on cool mornings.

    Unfortunately, Roxy would also have fun making them faint. =:(