Musings while mowing.

Yesterday I mowed a big chunk of the lawn.  Big for me.  Jon couldn’t figure out why I was so sore since I had only mowed “a strip”. (He didn’t say that, I was just mad that he scoffed at my mowing prowess.)  I actually enjoy the act of mowing.  It’s kinda like vacuuming with a motor.  As for the whole lawn idea: not a fan.  I think lawns are a waste of resources, time and money.  Don’t get me wrong, a nice lawn is beautiful and plush looking. But how often do lawns stay that way?  They get full of weeds.  In the old neighborhood, our backyard quite often had those nasty goathead burrs.  Those suckers hurt!  The backyard “grass” was not something you sank your feet into, it just ripped your legs off.

I digress. Through the years I have noticed that when I am in that zen like state of mowing, my thoughts turn to my dad.  My technique comes from years of watching him.  Like Fred Astaire in the vacuum cleaner commercial, my dad danced with the lawnmower like a lithe ballerina. (He wore really short cutoff jean shorts, too.) When the lawn was finished, it was the portrait of geometric nirvana, each row coming together to form beautiful green diamonds. After they moved to the “new house” the technique was less dancing, more “just get the darn thing finished”, as the lot size had grown considerably.

After I reminisce about my dad mowing, I always seem to move on to thinking about how he was in other areas of his life.  What made him tick? I still don’t know.  As I mow around trees and bushes, I think about all the hard work my dad did when I was a kid.  I categorize the phases of my childhood around what job my dad was doing at the time. When I was very little he worked at one of the Swearingen farms.  There was a propane company (I think). Then I remember Beacon Oil, and Armstrong (which became Pirelli). I remember one time in my childhood that my dad was unemployed.  That was when Beacon (Ultramar) closed the refinery in Hanford, CA.  I was scared to death because my dad WORKED.  That’s what he did.  I thought, “Things must be really bad if my dads not working.”  Even though it was a very alien experience, having my dad home was pretty neat.  He made a mean soup.  Soon he was hired on at the tire plant and there he worked, until it too folded and left.  Well, he was kinda unemployed for a while after that, but they helped him go back to school and get his HVAC.  THAT was hard work as well.

My dad is a man of strong convictions.  You work hard, you don’t lie, you don’t cheat, and please don’t conduct yourself like a jackass.  Those convictions made him intolerant of most childish behaviors.  My childish behaviors always landed me in a whole HEAP of trouble. If my dad formed an opinion about a person, place, or thing-it’s over. You might as well try to move a mountain rather than try to change his mind about anything.

In Greek, his name means Stone.  That’s my dad.  He is the solid rock on which my hard headedness was built.  Like him, I hold strong to my personal beliefs.  Like him, I think a lawn should have straight lines. Glorious straight lines.

Oh, and I also get my sense of humor from him too.  We’re pretty wacky.  He just hides it better. (It’s okay, Dad)

Dad (At my brother Eric's Wedding)

Isn’t he handsome?


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