(Note: I wrote this and it was published in another venue a few years ago. So if you have read it before there’s no need to slog through it again. But, if you didn’t endure it the first time and have said to yourself, “what kind of sacrilegious question is that? …I invite you to sit back and think about a time when life seemed to be a little more tranquil…and gold sold for $35 an ounce…but we couldn’t afford a spec of it. Enjoy…I hope!)
Today is the day I look forward to all week…grass cutting day. Yep, you read me right, grass cutting day. In the deep summer when the heat is intense, this day comes at least twice a week. I have a Bermuda grass lawn that I aerate and top dress each spring. It makes the lawn smooth so I can cut it to about 3/8 inch high without scalping it…just like a golf course.
I like cutting grass. It provides instant gratification…and it produces beauty and neatness and order. I can hardly wait until early Sunday morning so I can stand at the edge of the dew covered carpet like lawn as the sun glistens off the freshly mowed blades and observe my fine-tuning of God’s creation. I learned to enjoy this activity from my Dad. That’s really the reason I enjoy it so much. I feel like I am walking with him when I do it…and I hear him saying, “it looks great”. Great was his favorite word. He was the most positive person I have ever known. He was indefatigable…he probably didn’t know what the word meant or may have never even heard it spoken, but he surely defined it. If you look up the word in the dictionary his picture is there.
I learned lawn construction and maintenance from Dad. I learned it at a time when sodding didn’t exist, a push reel mower was the tool of choice and weed control was archaic compared to today. Now there are weed specific chemical applications. Trimec for broad leaf weeds, Weed-B-Gone for a wide spectrum of nasty little green things, Snapshot to keep weeds out of shrub areas and Round Up if you want to kill everything in sight that’s green. In those days Dad would say, “I see dandelions (or crab grass, or clover), let’s go dig ‘em up. I learned that in the spots where a dog would urinate the dandelions would not grow. Eureka, I have a great thought! Why don’t we……….OK, OK, so that wasn’t such a great an idea, but you have to give me credit for ingenuity.
Dad played baseball in the yard with my brother and me. The play was interrupted frequently by Dad’s bending over and pulling a weed. He’d give each one a sideways twist and a shake to pull it out by the roots so it wouldn’t grow back. Crabgrass was the most insidious gremlin weed with which we had to deal. When springtime warmth had turned to sultry summer, this weed would begin to grow slowly and then seem to explode almost overnight. It was a daily battle trying to eradicate it during the growing season.
What was unusual was the glee Dad experienced when he pulled crabgrass. It was almost like by pulling a clump up he was doing something great for mankind. As he got older I would watch him search for this green enemy as he walked to the mailbox to retrieve the mail or the newspaper. With his eyes darting from side to side he would walk slowly, as if he were stalking the unsuspecting vegetation. Then he would stop, bend over and pull up the defenseless weed, straighten up put it in his other hand and repeat the process 20 or more times on a 200 foot mailbox round trip. He seemed to smile throughout the entire trip…he had captured the culprits that had adulterated his otherwise perfect carpet.
It’s ironic that something that caused him so much consternation brought him so much pleasure. I guess it’s like sweet and sour pork….or Icee Hot….or driving on the parkway…or parking on the driveway….it seems to make no sense. All I know is that he loved doing it. I think that he secretly hoped that little baby crabgrass plants would grow up overnight, just to provide him 15 minutes of pleasure the next day.
Guess what? My grandkids now say “Granddaddy would you please just pitch to me and not pull those weeds?” I guess I’m just like him…and that ain’t so bad. As a matter of fact I’m pretty pleased to be even a little bit like him
Dad has been helping God take care of the baseball field in heaven for over a decade. I really miss him. Is there crabgrass in heaven? You thought I’d never get to the point didn’t you? My belief is yes…crabgrass does exist in heaven. We know of God’s desire for our happiness there and as much pleasure as my Dad got pulling that stuff up, I know God has some around if only for Daddy. Pick away Pop…I look forward to pickin’ some with you when I get there!