Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Tale of Two Lawnmowers...A Father's Day Memory

"Then, there's the lawnmower...what are we going to do with that?" I'm not sure who said it, but someone did. My brother, sister, and I were sitting around our kitchen table in the home my father almost finished building before he died and we were discussing what to do with my mom's earthly possessions after her passing. We already had a buyer for the family home, just the little things remained unclaimed.

The mower was a little more complicated than the piano, or my uncle's painting of Mount Moran, or the table around which we sat in a house that would soon no longer be ours. The mower was my mother's, but before she claimed ownership, it belonged to my sister. My sister brought it to my mother's house when they moved in with my mom to build their house. When my sister moved from her newly-built home, the mower stayed with mom, mostly because my sister moved to a yard-less apartment, and also because the Honda engine atop the MTD Pro lawnmower body never not started. It was a great little mower.

For the past few weeks the mower became increasingly harder to start, very un-Honda of it. Eventually the bar which pulled the cable which allowed the fuel to reach the piston broke and thus, the mover ceased to work. Time for something new. It wasn't until after we decided to replace "Old Reliable" what we figured the red mower was close to 15 years old. I'd love to keep it--we did some research and it will only take about $20 to get it running again--but the hills on our yard facilitated the need for something self-propelled.

And so, behold my Father's Day present! Now I know how my wife feels when we get her a kitchen appliance for Mother's Day. Just look at it! Side-by-side Old Reliable looks like an old car built in the 1960's compared to a Cadillac, or some German import. The thing even looks aerodynamic (it probably is...). And it works like a charm...those big back tires and rear-wheel drive--not to mention the dust blocker bag and EZ Walk variable drive system--will provide hours of lawnmowering joy for my children.

Once the new mower was home and assembled, I turned my attention to the beater. I drained the gas tank, jimmy-rigged the fuel cable and started the mower until the last drops of gasoline burned in the soon-to-be-forgotten yard tool. I rolled it under the deck and disassembled the arms and took a picture of another earthly item that reminds me of my mother. Ever so slowly such items not put away in some box in our basement seem do be disappearing, just like the mower, or the wheelbarrow I'm convinced came west with the first group of Mormon pioneers, or the memories of the way my mom did the touchdown dance when she was especially happy.

"I'll take the mower. We can use it," I said. My sister still lived in an apartment. My brother had his own, and I think we were either using a even older green mower, or a push human-powered mower that's still in our garage. "I mean," I added. "If that's okay with you," I said to my sister. "Sure," she said. She wouldn't be needing it, and we've used it every summer week since.

Now, the new black beauty hums happily up and down the hills of our yard. My son's thrilled (and he and his brother mowing the lawn makes me happy as well). Maybe one day my son will be retiring the black Craftsman mower and think of his dad. If so, I hope those are happy thoughts.

Happy Father's Day.

1 comment:

  1. Just for the record, the lawn mower was NOT the Father's Day present!!!