1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Miracles Do Happen, At Least in Greenbrier County
Barbara Knight Miner  August 9, 2010

There must be a law similar to “Murphy’s Law” ….prohibiting me from mowing the lawn. I never knew what would happen if I attempted it, but throughout my life, it has always been something I’ve been discouraged from doing.

During 47 years of marriage my husband would not let me touch a lawnmower, despite the fact he hated mowing grass, cut off a toe using a push mower, and often dreamed of covering our entire lawn with rocks. He loved the idea of xeriscaping, but in Florida that amounts to “jungle,” so he kept mowing. Then when my father got to be in his 80’s and 90’s I offered time and time again to cut the grass, but he wouldn’t let me, often answering in an irritated voice, “NO!!! You don’t know what you are doing. You will break my mower!” Over the years, this mower thing has led me to ponder…..how many other women my age, or of any age, mow the lawn?

Now, that my husband and father have passed away, and I’ve inherited more than one lawn mower and the grass is growing abundantly in West Virginia this year, I realized that I must finally learn to cut the lawn. My son last mowed as he was leaving over a week ago. He gave me a quick lesson on lawn mowing as he left, telling me it would come easily. With each afternoon rain, my dread grew.

Daddy’s regular mowing day was Monday; I put it off as long as I could but by Wednesday afternoon I knew it was time. My son had explained how to start a mower and had me sit on the mower and start it but I must admit that I am not a good mower student and I didn’t know the choke from the other “things” when I climbed on the mower yesterday. Despite my ignorance I managed to get the mower started after moving all the things on the front “dash”, then I lowered the blades and I mowed for about an hour at the “turtle” speed (Yes, there is a turtle picture on the mower) around and around the house, not sure it even had a reverse since I forgot to ask. I was feeling very pleased with myself after several trips around the yard and I decided to also start mowing the taller grass in the former garden area. I mowed a couple of circles around it. Then, my worst fears were realized - the mower just sputtered and stopped. I tried several times to get it started, moving all the gadgets on it, trying to remember what I had done to start it before. It didn’t crank. I had heard you can “flood” a mower so I decided to give it an hour and try again. It still didn’t start. The motor “grinded and grinded,” to no avail. Finally, I remembered that it had a gas tank, and my son had told me to lift the seat to find the gas tank. Wonder of wonders, it had a gas gauge which was on “E”.

My son also told me how to get gasoline for it – take the blue rusty can, order $20 of gas, fill the blue can while making sure it is sitting on the curb, and then put the rest of the gasoline in my van gas tank. Today, I did as directed - I took the blue can from the “Yoder” building, put it in the van, drove to Lewisburg, filled it, and drove home with my van smelling of gas fumes. I wished for a “farm truck,” the same wish I’ve had weekly when taking the smelly trash cans to the road in my van.

I put the gas can in the carport, while looking at my old relic of a lawn mower sitting there in the back garden where it had stopped yesterday. Overnight we had a severe storm so the mower had been swamped with rain. I didn’t know if this would hurt it or not. Still sore and achy from yesterday’s bumpy ride, and tired after a lengthy trip to Kroger and other “town” stops, I decided to rest awhile and tackle the lawn later in the afternoon. Procrastination has always been my “thing.” After removing my “town clothes” I stretched out on my bed to ease my aches - many parts of me still remembering the rough ride on that apparently “for men only” mower.

I didn’t think I dozed, but then I thought I heard a vehicle; the farm house is at least a half mile from the road so I decided it must have been a small plane. Dozed again??? then I thought I heard a lawnmower. I knew I must be dreaming. However, as I listened, there seemed to be a mower just outside my window. Yes, the question crossed my mind….how did the gasoline get from the can into the mower, and how did it start? As loosely remembered from “The Night Before Christmas, “I, in my kerchief, or was that bed cap, leaped from my bed to my window when what to my wondering eyes did appeared but a green and yellow mower whizzing around the backyard. It was green like “my” mower, but mine surely hadn’t reached that speed yesterday. A clean-cut muscular young man was speeding around the yard on the mower. Surely I am having a fun dream I thought. Watching longer, I realized I was not dreaming…Heaven-sent is all I can figure!

There evidently must be a strong law of nature or of our Higher Power that says that Barbara is not to mow. If so, I am very, very grateful, and also very curious. Meanwhile this young man is still out there mowing. He has been doing so for over an hour. My mower is sitting idle, and he is driving his own. I hear the mower and smell the grass, so it can’t really be a dream, can it?

I remembered thinking yesterday or maybe I muttered out loud as I stumbled, hot and tired, to the house from the stalled mower, “Dear God, How am I ever going to finish mowing this huge yard?” If this is my answer, it is a very good one!

I still don’t know yet about my mowing “Guardian Angel” but I am very thankful and hope that he appears each week, on either Monday or Wednesday.

I’m embarrassed and I feel greedy to also hope that maybe a plumber will appear too. I have actually been wishing and hoping for one for over two weeks. The first one I called turned me down and several calls to another haven’t been returned. You see, our guest bath is having very serious problems, rendering it unusable and if the second bath goes, I will have to re-acquaint myself with the “Johnny House” from the 1950’s and teach my daughter the excitement of going there late at night. I never imagined before today that plumbers could be “Heaven–sent,” but I am beginning to hope so now….Should I try walking through the yard, like yesterday, asking: Oh, please, God, how am I ever going to get the bathroom fixed!?”

Yep, I definitely am going to try it…..With the WV State Fair only a week away, I will never get a plumber by earthly means.

Meanwhile, I’m still wondering, do other women mow their lawns and use riding lawn mowers competently….…Am I the only one not trustworthy enough?