1928 - Alderson High School - 1968




Alex McLaughlin - March 25, 2014

I supposed I have always cut grass. We cut alfalfa grass and put it up in the barn in my high school days. The boys that wanted to play football for Coach, my dad, would line up to get the chance to put up that alfalfa. Dad would feed it to his beloved sheep in the winter. When I grew up (okay let's pretend) I got married , worked, and eventually we moved from an apartment into a house. Ever since I have mowed grass. Our first house in Pinch was on a hill and I would put on the golf cleats and walk along the two slopes separated by two plateaus. I developed some strategies, sorry President Bush, to deal with the difficulties of mowing the hill side. The first was to purchase a Flymo that elevated above the ground and cut with twine. But it cost more than $50 and no way no how was I going to spend $50 on anything. I no longer know if they are in business. The second was to tie the mower on a rope and let it down the hill. But I realized with my propensity for something screwing up that it was likely that at some point that the rope would break and the mower would go down the hill and through the woods and off to destroy some grandmother's house. I gave up and reverted to the push mower and the weed eater to ensure that our house did not have the worst kept grass in the neighborhood. The house in Big Chimney has a much more manageable yard. But this is West Virginia and the yard has a slight slope. Though a number of my neighbors have riding lawn mowers, I look up on them like I do a massage( I have never had one )as a sign of weakness.

The sweet sound of the mower first turning over and then catching the first time in the spring is soon replaced by my worst nightmare, the sound of a mower for the rest of the summer. In a dry summer I try to defy mother nature and every week sneak in and add another day to the mowing cycle. I only fool myself. In a wet summer, I cuss and I cuss some more. It is almost bipolar as I experience the mania of the first two cuttings with cooler temperatures and lower humidity quickly shifting to the depression of the heat and the humidity. I get so loopy that I fantasize that my yard will turn into one of those Arizona's yards that are full of cacti and rocks painted green. Today as I wistfully look out over the spread (our little yard) from my deck I remain very thankful for the small windows in the year when I am not shoveling snow or mowing that damn grass.

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