No Good Deed

Our lawn mower is at least twenty years old, probably more like thirty, maybe even thirty-five. My husband spends more time each week fixing the broken pieces than he does mowing the lawn. After years of watching him stick parts back together with baling twine and chewing gum, I have decided he enjoys the challenge.

His grumbling doesn’t fool me at all.

This past summer, in addition to our own lawn, he and Younger attempted to help our elderly neighbors with their yard. Unfortunately, the size of the lawn was a bit overwhelming, taking the two of them three or four hours to finish the entire chore. So, as summer turned busy, my husband, at times, looked stress.

One afternoon, I decided to help.

Now, I have to add no one really lets me touch the lawn mower. Not exactly sure as to their reasons, but I fear that my gender may play a role.

Well, and maybe my lack of interest.

But that day, I told Younger, “I’m going to mow the lawn for your dad.”

He looked at me rather dubiously. “Do you know how to turn it on?”

“I’m sure I can figure it out,” I bluffed. Then I hedged, “Besides, don’t you know how?”

“I don’t know, Mom,” he drawled slowly. “I think maybe –”

“Oh, for goodness sake,” I muttered, pushing him through the door into the garage. “I can mow a lawn. Just help me get started.”

So, we fiddled with the different levers and buttons with him explaining the different gears — first gear, second gear, sixth gear, ignoring me when I shot him a look of death. I am not quite so mechanically un-inclined.

But eventually I was bumping along our front yard, ears covered by huge red earmuffs, totally proud of myself, already counting and spending the points I was earning.

Only, apparently, eventually, the baling twine or the chewing gum that held the deck at the appropriate level above the grass came loose and those traitor blades started whacking everything at basically ground level, including actual soil. And Younger, who must have been watching the windows for my inevitable failure, ran onto the porch, waving his hands and shaking his head while I viewed him through the cloud of dirt and grass swirling in the air around me.

“Mom,” he shouted, approaching the lawn mower cautiously. “No, Mom. I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to go. Maybe you should just wait for Dad. Okay, Mom?”

So the lawn mower and I limped back into the garage. And I’m seriously not allowed to touch the lawn mower now, although one would think my husband might have appreciated the several-week break he had from mowing.

Because, apparently, grass mowed to dirt level takes a little while to recover from the experience.

But that’s okay, I’ve decided I don’t want to mow grass.

That’s right. I mean, I can. Obviously, I don’t need permission — or Younger’s confidence. So, I can mow grass.

I can even mow dirt.

I just choose not to.

And that’s my story…





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