September 19, 2018

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks


That’s A Nice Looking Lawn.

When I lived in town my neighbors had lawns in front of their homes. I make this distinction because I didn’t have a lawn; I had desert landscaping. Gravel, cacti, sagebrush, and a few other drought-resistant, and more importantly, low-maintenance plants.

Each neighbor had a different approach to taking care of his lawn.

One neighbor did the job himself. I remember when he moved in. It was a new home, he moved in on a weekend. The next Friday he had sod delivered, Saturday he put it down, and a week later he mowed it. Every Saturday morning since he has followed the same program. He hauls tools out of his garage and arranges them in order on the driveway. (At this time all of his kids scatter like a covey of quail.)

He selects a particular tool, uses it, and then progresses to the next, following the same sequence until he has completed the list of tasks. We can tell where he is in the ritual by listening for differences in the pitch or whine of the tool he is using. He then carts all the tools into the back yard and does it all again. After the back yard is done he returns the tools to the garage, hanging each one in its proper place along the wall. A delightful way to spend a Saturday morning.

The other neighbor felt that he has much more urgent issues to address, such as golf, so he had a professional landscaping crew that arrived every week, (on my day off), to keep his place looking spiffy. The crew arrived and unloaded various gas-powered tools. The only manually operated tool on the trailer was the gas can. Each crew member had a specialty. One ran the lawnmower, another the edger, a third the hedge-trimmer, and the last had a Buck Rogers backpack that holds a small jet engine with the exhaust directed through a big hose. He used this hose to blow all the various clippings, and that empty gum wrapper, into the next county.

It’s very important that he kept both hands on the hose. One rookie employee let go with one hand, and the hose got away from him. It took three of his buddies to subdue the device before it could beat him to death. We still refer to that episode as the “Revenge of the Echo 500”.

They would swarm over the yard, each with his tool, performing his task, and simultaneously assaulting the senses of smell and hearing of everyone within a quarter mile. Just as suddenly, they would disappear; off to the next lawn to do it all again dozens of times a week.

Every three months or so I had to do my landscaping; pull a weed or two that had poked its head through the gravel, use my foot to rake the gravel back in place where the neighborhood kids had slid through it on their bicycles, and occasionally use a shovel to whack a few ears off the cacti. On really tough days I’d give the sage a haircut with my hedge trimmer. While performing these arduous tasks I’d think, ‘Maybe I’ll have a lawn at my next house–then again, maybe not.’

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