By Grant McGee: Local Columnist
A little bit of snow, a little bit of rain over the past few months and you get a green explosion in your yard here on the High Plains.
High grass means it’s time to break out the lawn mower. This is the third season for the family grass cutter, a very basic model. I suppose that’s why the word “Classic” is on its label.
I’ve always had a thing about yard care, wanting to do it right. It goes back to when I was a kid. I had lived in apartments up until the time I was about 13. That spring my dad sent me out to our new home’s wild yard simply saying, “cut the grass.”
“What do I do?” I had no experience with this lawn mowing stuff.
“Mow the grass,” he said along with a few expletives. “Go get the lawn mower out of the garage and mow the grass.”
The family lawn mower was a push mower, one of those motor-less whirling blade machines. It had been in storage for years. I pulled it out and started pushing the rusted-up thing. After about a half-hour my father came out to check on my progress. Seeing that I had only done one row he spoke some other salty words, grabbed the mower and started pushing it. Realizing it was pretty rusty he said some more expletives and dragged it back to the garage.
“Let’s get one with a motor,” I said.
“This was good enough for me as a kid, it’ll be good enough for you.”
Maybe if he’d just told me that he didn’t want to buy one I might have understood that a bit better.
Some days later when I came home from school there was a man mowing the lawn with a “classic” motorized lawn mower.
It seems my dad didn’t want to buy a lawn mower but he’d hire a guy to mow the lawn.
Meanwhile, back here in adult life, pushing the mower through the tall grass this spring, the thing kept getting clogged. I deduced it must need a new blade. I got one and was going to put it on myself.
“Shouldn’t you drain the gas and oil?” asked The Lady of the House as I flipped the mower on its back.
“Naw, what can possibly happen?”
New blade installed, I tried to start it up.
I soon found out why. Oil had oozed into every part of the engine. The Lady of the House said nothing, but she had that unmistakable “I-told-you-so” look.
After cleaning the carburetor, flushing and drying the air filter and burning off the excess oil in the engine I finally pushed it merrily into the tall grass.
Walking along I noticed the grass had a shredded look to it.
I finished the yard, let the mower cool then looked under it.
Did you know there is a right way and a wrong way to install a lawn mower blade? I didn’t, but I do now.
I hadn’t mowed the lawn, I had just whacked the grass short.
Upon revealing this to The Lady of the House she just smiled and stifled a laugh.
The blade is on correctly now and I’m keeping the grass mowed.
Grass-cutting season is in full swing.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org