Passing of the Mowing Rites

Reader Contribution by Lois Hoffman
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As spring draws near, at least on the calendar, thoughts turn to mowing grass instead of plowing snow. There is always something that needs done.

We have a 3-acre yard. Enough said, it is a pretty big chore. When we first moved here we had two small riding lawn mowers. Each Thursday evening, weather permitting, Jim and I would both start to mow and four hours later we would have a well-manicured lawn. Then, in 2007 when Jim retired , we bought a 60-inch cut, zero-turn mower. In four hours he can now have the entire lawn done by himself. Go figure!

When it comes to the yard, he is a perfectionist. I have to admit the yard always looks nice, sometimes almost too perfect. When that stubborn buckhorn shows up he has been known to mow over it twice, once in each direction, because he can’t stand to see any of it standing up where he has already mowed.

This year, however, will be a little different. Jim has had a few health issues and, at least for the first part of the summer, he won’t be able to mow. That poses a perplexing problem for him. He is not a good on-looker and he is definitely not ready to let anyone else take over, even temporarily. The two prospects he has are myself and our grandson Wyatt.

I have never even sat on the zero-turn mower, not alone driven it. Jim just felt I couldn’t handle it.  I don’t know why because I have never given him reason to think this way. Never mind that I was told I could turn shorter than I was turning on the old riding lawn mower and hit a small rut and broke the wheel. Never mind that I walked too fast with the push mower and the back wheels fell off. These were just circumstances, definitely not my fault.

Wyatt did mow a little last year, so at least he has a feel for it. The problem is Wyatt is 12 going on 25 and thinks he knows everything about mowing and I am 58 and don’t know half as much as I should know. Together we should make a pretty good team!

We have always talked about the day the grandsons will be old enough to take over some of the chores. I guess we didn’t think that day would actually come, at least not so soon. It is a fact of life that giving up control is one of the hardest things to do. Now we know how the elderly feel when they are forced into giving up their car keys. Yikes, let’s not even go there!

Eventually, after a few times and a few mishaps, I know it will be all right. I plan on taking the back forty to mow. There is absolutely nothing out there I can hit. That leaves Wyatt to be the one to mow around the house and the landscaping. We know Jim will undoubtedly be out there waving his hands and telling us to go back over a part we just mowed and to stay away from other stuff. But we also have a plan; while one mows, the other one of us will be in another part of the yard doing something. That way when Jim jumps on his Ranger he can only scrutinize one of us at a time!

By the end of the summer we should all learn something. I will learn how to use the zero-turn, Wyatt will learn that you can always learn something new from your elders, and Jim will learn to let others help him even if they don’t do it perfectly.

My only hope is that, as the summer drags on, Wyatt gets so proficient with the mower that Jim won’t ever want to mow again and I won’t have to. After all, that was the plan, right?


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