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Jeff Wilkin's Type A To Z
by Jeff Wilkin

Type A To Z

A Daily Gazette life blog
Features reporter Jeff Wilkin on pop culture

Don’t Step on the Grass, Sam

There are dozens of things I’d rather be doing than mowing the lawn.

One is watching a good movie on TV. Another reading a novel in my bedroom. A third is cooking cheeseburgers in the back yard with a radio and a baseball game for company.

But spring has arrived, and the million or so blades of grass I have employed at my Albany stronghold are perking up. Cut the back lawn, which is more robust, last weekend. Trimmed the front yard, which is not as lush, late Saturday afternoon.

I’ve got Briggs & Stratton on the job. I pull the power cord a few times, the engine kicks in and a whirling blade is ready to harvest thin and thick shoots of grass. The front takes me about 10 minutes; the back takes about the same. On the weekends, the lawn mower is back in the garage fast and I’m back to my Coors Lights just as quickly.

In my neighborhood, I’ve always been a little vexed at the amounts of time people spend on their grass. It’s like they following their mowers in a trance; they just do the jobs so slowly! I’ve heard mowers bellowing for 45 minutes or so, eating grass in yards that are the same size as my modest squares of green. Don’t step on the grass, Sam — as John Kay and Steppenwolf used to say. Just step on it!

I wonder why it takes some people so long. Mr. Briggs and Mr. Stratton designed their machines with the capability to decapitate grass quickly. You walk at a normal pace over the lawn, and the big blade slits and stuffs grass remnants into the huge canvas bag on the back of the mower. There’s no need for this long, slow, noisy walk on a nice spring or summer afternoon.

You can tell I’m not crazy about mower noise. Seems like on Saturdays, once someone has finished cutting his grass, another person is just starting hers. I would rather listen outside to the Yankees getting beat 12-0 in the fourth inning than the constant drone of the gas-powered grass guzzlers. At one time, I thought it would be excellent if all neighbors decided to mow their lawns at the same time ... say 11 a.m. on a Saturday morning. That way, all the noise would happen at once — and peace and quiet would be threatened only by screaming dogs, howling crows and exploding motorcycles. In my neck of the woods, the noisemakers include the squawking parrot that lives a few doors down the street.

It will never happen. Sounds too much like those weird neighborhoods where “associations” decide what masters and mistresses of the manor can and cannot do. I’d hate to have some dope tell me I can’t have blue lights near my front door.

But people can step lively when they’re cutting their lawns. Not a sprint, but a nice brisk walk. Save gasoline, save time ... and save me from having to turn up the volume on the damn Yankee game every Friday night or Saturday afternoon.

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