With all the rain and cool weather we’ve had this spring, there should be plenty of opportunities for our youth to make extra bucks mowing lawns.
Not long ago, I had to yield to a young man at an intersection in an area town. He was driving a John Deere lawn tractor nearly as big as my car. The tractor, in turn, was pulling a two-wheeled trailer. The trailer was transporting a push mower. Next to the push mower was a motorized trimmer, along with vast assortment of weed and grass-trimming utensils.
As I watched the procession pass by, I couldn’t help but think back to the days when my buddy Slick and I first tried to get in the mowing business.
The “power” in our power mower was kid-power. It was a cast-off from my grandpa, who had turned his lawn trimming chores over to a willing neighbor.
I imagine he had seen enough of that old mower to last him three lifetimes. He seemed only too happy to watch me push it out of its resting spot in the garage for the last time.
Pushing it home that fateful spring morning, I figured I had just got the deal of a lifetime .
As I passed Slick’s house, he came running out. “Where’d you get that?” he demanded as he gave it a once-over.
I informed him of my good fortune as the wheels in his brain started spinning.
Before long, Slick had painted a picture of us living in the lap of luxury…buying BB guns and sipping chocolate malts at Mosey’s ’til our stomachs exploded.
“All we need is to line up a few yards and charge a buck a time,” he said as he scratched some figures in the dirt with an old stick.
It sounded good to me, but I couldn’t help wondering why someone would pay out good money just to have his lawn mowed.
We realized some folks might be a little skeptical hiring us because of our age, so we decided to prove our worthiness by mowing my parents’ lawn — and surprising them at the same time.
Before long we stood in our back yard, our trusty mower aching to cut grass.
The first trip wasn’t bad, but after that maiden trek each swipe got a little tougher. Before long, Slick and I were both pushing. The lawn seemed to grow longer and longer.
As we maneuvered between two trees, we momentarily lost control and took the tops off about a dozen of Mom’s flowers. It was surprising how much easier the flowers were to cut than the grass.
In desperation, we tied a rope to the bar across the front of the mower. Slick then pulled while I pushed.
It took an entire afternoon but we finally finished the yard. For the first time in our short lives, Slick and I had learned the meaning of the word “work.”
We had just jumped into the hammock for a short break when my parents’ car came pulling in the drive.
They shot out of their car as if it was on fire. We hadn’t figured they’d be that surprised.
Dad shouted, “What happened to the lawn?” while Mom kept repeating, “My roses! My roses!”
Finally things calmed down. Slick and I tried to explain that because this was our first mowing job we weren’t going to charge for our services.
Dad’s face was still red as he grabbed our mower and pushed it into the garage.
“This is going to remain locked in here until you get a few years older,” he said as he turned the key in the door.
Hmmm. Guess it’s lucky we didn’t have a John Deere lawn tractor.
By the way, I still have Grandpa’s mower and I still can’t push it!
Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times. He and his wife, Sharon, live near Cambridge.