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Monday, May 2, 2016

From the Midway:Take my lawn mower, please

Monday, June 16, 2008

June is a great time of year except for one thing, yard work. During June, it always seems that my yard grows faster than ever. It's always the same when June comes around. I have to mow in between rain showers and as soon as I'm done with my yard it's time to start mowing again. Most people like doing yard work.

I am not one of them. But over the years I have appreciated some aspects of yard work, a sense of pride when the job is done or the smell of freshly cut grass. I like those things and that's about it.

My distain for working on my yard began years ago while I was still a teenager. Back then I was a go-getter when it came to mowing yards. Like most adolescents, I had a little yard business on the side. Doing a neighbors yard or two, and back then I really liked mowing.

That all changed when I was sixteen and began working at Arnolds Park. Back then we push mowed everything. There were about seven acres that we had to do and as soon as we got done we had to start all over again. It became such a monotonous chore that all the joy of mowing was sucked away from me. I even refused to touch a lawn mower for years because of this experience.

That was until I became a homeowner. (At this point I should disclose that on average it takes me about 3 hours to mow my yard with a riding lawnmower. The yard is big and there are a lot of trees and bushes that I have to go around). As time went by I fell into a rhythm and it did not bother me so much. It must have been the fact that once you have your own yard, it's not as bad as having to mow somebody else's yard.

Raising children, I think, must also fall into this category but that is only a theory.

Don't get me wrong, just because I've become complacent in my yard duties does not mean that I enjoy puttering around the yard.

This weekend I had to say goodbye to my long-time yard tractor. It is my best guess that I blew up the motor. It was a good mower a little old but it has cut a lot of grass. Sadly this is not the first time I blew up the motor in this tractor.

I bought this mower from a friend of my neighbor about eight years ago. At the time my friend lived in Larrabee and after I purchased the machine I had to find a way to get the mower to my house five miles away.

Well the logical thing would be to put the mower on a trailer and haul it home. But at the time I had what I thought was a better idea. The movie "The Straight Story" was popular around this same time period. For those of you who don't know this movie, it was based on the real life story of Alvin Straight who lived in Laurens, Iowa and drove his lawnmower 240 miles to Mount Zion, Wis. to see his sick brother. It took him six weeks to get there. I figured if this old man could go that far on his mower I could get to Calumet from Larrabee in a couple of hours.

The trip started off good. I decided that I would take the back way to Calumet. It was a couple of miles out of my way but it would be safer than driving a yard tractor on Hwy. 59.

The trip started off well. I was about an hour into the trip, a couple miles west of Larrabee and a few miles north on a gravel road, when I heard a pop and the slow wind down of the motor. And there I was out in the middle of nowhere sitting on a tractor that just died on me. I had a cell phone and I had to call my friend to come and pick me up. We then "borrowed" a trailer from a co-worker and then picked up the ill-fated mower and drove it to my house.

I then sank some money into the old girl and after the motor was rebuilt it ran great. Sure there were a few small battles here and there but I would have to say that I had gotten my money's worth out of the lawnmower.

Back to last weekend, I checked the oil before I ventured out to play on my green monster. The grass was heavy and thick, due to all the rain that we recently received. After a couple of hours I was moving right along and heard the motor bog down, then pop. The familiar slow wind down of the motor made my gut wrench.

The final sign was when I checked the oil for the last time. That's when I saw a bunch of metal shards on my dipstick. Not a good sign at all.

So now it's time for what I like to call choices. Do I sink more money into my old tractor or bite the bullet and look at something newer? Some choices are just not fun to make.

Mike Leckband
From the Midway