out and bought a new lawn mower a few weeks ago.
our house we have some places that donít work for riding mowers
or trimmers. Places like drainage ditches along the roadside.
Places in between low garden fences and taller real fences, between
real fences and sheds.
had our current old push mower for years.
scratch that. As I think about it, that mower has been around
for more than simply years. Decades. (And if not decades plural,
then closing in on twenty years by being at fifteen years or more
and worthy of the plural status.)
that mower is beat to all holy heck.
the two homes we lived in prior to this one, we really never had
much of a lawn. We had lifts and drops. Stones and rocks and sand.
Shrubs and brush and weeds. Not as much grass as we would like.
(And that is not a result of lacking hard work or effort. Grass
seed. Attentive watering. Plenty of research and thought into
providing the best environment for grass to grow. No grass.)
you know what happens when you have a piece of equipment, designed
for dirty work, and you know as you start it that the work is
going to be rough and dusty and so on? Well, in one funny aspect,
you end up not being as concerned about banging it around as you
might otherwise. You expect to put that piece of equipment into
time, I hit a rock and broke the mounting adaptor for the blade.
(I donít know the specific terms or parts involved, but if you
know about things like shear pins/bolts you get the ideaÖ the
way a blade is attached often includes a part designed to break
if there is a significant impact. That creates minor damage instead
of major disasters.) Many times Iíve struck blades along the ground,
often found blades bent and dinged, and have had the mower come
to a complete stop because of things Iíve tried.
still the mower continued to run.
year though, we began to see the final stages of use. The handle
broke. More precisely, the handle snapped. About an inch above
the very bottom area where it attaches to the mower deck. I fixed
it with a couple of metal rods I had from other projects and a
good amount of duct tape. Got it through the rest of the season
and into this year.
all winter long I realized that a new mower was likely in order.
Sure, I could probably try to find a new handle that would work,
but after the punishment I had put that thing through, well, chances
were good a new one was the mush wiser option. Especially since
I already knew where it would be getting its use, and I was absolutely
going to be looking at the lower end of the cost scale.
soÖ back to where we beganÖ a few weeks ago, Terry and I happened
to be out, saw a mower on sale, and decided to pick it up.
trick is, I couldnít bring myself to open the box once I got it
I had to open it. I needed to make sure the darn thing ran before
all of the initial purchase return options expired. So, I did.
keep using the old one. I keep telling myself ďthis is the last
roundupĒ every time I fill it with gas and head out of the garage.
I keep saying the new one runs better and has a slightly larger
blade and all sorts of things that should bring me to a simple
endÖ use the old one until the gas tank is empty, clean it up
a bit, and then put it away to store as an emergency backup. It
does run. It can be used. But it is so far beyond gone you would
never give it to someone else. And thenÖ
goes out and does its job.
the new one is new, while the old one is already dirty and scratched
the box sat in the middle of the garage. And even now, after unpacking
it, setting it up, and using it, I find myself time after time
tempted to bring out the older mower. Honestly, itís almost like
watching the mowerís seventeenth farewell tour at this point.
You knowÖ the band will never reach the heights and power of the
glory days, but itís always nice to hear the hits.
is, I usually have a few boxes around the house. Items picked
up because weíll need them sooner or later, and we bumped into
a sale we didnít expect or found ourselves in a store we donít
frequently visit, and it made sense to pick it up at that time
and place. In the end, what we keep ending up with is boxes to
stack in the closet, garage and basement.
you, this isnít some episode of a television show where we have
massive problems. Weíre talking about perhaps some blankets and
towels, a frying pan and colander, a sprinkler and duct tape,
and, yes, a lawn mower along with other assorted items. We do
not have five televisions, two washing machines and a refrigerator
waiting in the wings to be pressed into service.
many of you have clothes youíve never worn? I mean tags still
on them, perhaps still in the bag from the store, clothes youíve
never worn. Or even just a new pair of sneakers, sitting in the
corner while day after day we grab the old ones to put on. Iím
guessing most of us do, even if itís a pair of socks or a shirt
we dropped into the closet and forgot to put away.
few years ago, we needed a new washing machine. When I was a kid
there were pretty standard and basic settings on the washer. Hot
and cold water, regular and delicate cycles, and maybeÖ just maybeÖ
something for the size of the load you intended to wash. When
delivering our latest, the guys from the store were telling me
how I could download an app to my phone for the new unit. (They
stopped when I told them I didnít own a smartphone.) We did however,
have a nice conversation about how the average lifespan of new
washers and dryers was about five years, since technology was
years? Just five years? My grandmother used the same clothesline
in her yard for more than five years, and it was outside year-round
(including the winter months). No issues with that. The line was
fine. And she even had it on one of those pulley-style wheels
so she could load and unload the line without ever having to move
from her back door. I guarantee you that her generation would
never have bought a stove, fridge, washer or dryer that was going
to need replacing before they ran out of fingers to count on their
is a celebration of the things we think we need but canít bring
ourselves to use. The times we recognize opportunity and necessity
but canít walk away from reliable and comfortable. This is a nod
in the direction of the new box. The unopened box. And this is
a round of applause for the still going, even though the warranty
the next day or two, it will be time to mow the lawn. I keep telling
myself that Iíll be using the new push mower as part of the work.
But I canít help wondering if the old mower still has some gas
in it. Maybe I should check, and, you know, just use that one
to get things started until the tank is empty.