Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Crazy Like a Lawnmower, Part 2

Honestly, my dad didn’t sire a moron. It’s just that he never asked me or any of his other kids, all daughters, to do the mowing, nor did he show us how. He would have been ashamed, my mother says, for the neighbors to see teenage girls doing a man’s job.

Then I grew up and had landlords, and then a boyfriend. A true friend is one who will 1) mow your lawn and 2) help you move house.

Well, you learn something new every day, so I guessed my mower wouldn’t start in the middle of the grass because it WASN’T GETTING ENOUGH AIR in its CHOKE, and sure enough it started up roaring after it was back on the asphalt, and I felt like a genius. I knew about the CHOKE because 30 years ago I regularly drove a ’64 Chrysler that wouldn’t start unless I put my finger down its choke.

The Divine lawn has five sections, three of them sloped. Beginning the mowing on a slope was a mistake.

Certain bare patches were thick with dry oak leaves matted up like corrugated cardboard. Boldly mowing right through them spawned a ferocious dust storm. After several of those, the mower quit, and I guessed at once that I had abused its air filter. The filter sits on the top of the mower, in a closed and fitted black plastic case, and I still can’t see how air ever gets in there. But after securing a dime to unscrew its top I got mentally lost in the beauty of the coin, and in the many reasons why I admire FDR, and then in contemplating, really for the first time, the torch and plants on the coin’s reverse. Then I removed the top of the case and rinsed out the air filter. I left it to dry in the sun on top of the pumphouse and quit for the day.

A pow’ful ornery attack of hay fever laid me out flat the next day, and that’s why there aren’t any Rugged Rural Missouri blog entries between May 19 and June 2. My mowing ensemble had included sturdy shoes and protective eyewear (“eyewear”? What a word!) but not a breathing mask. God, how stupid I was two weeks ago compared to how smart I am today.

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