Today I mowed the lawn...

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Today I mowed the lawn... the rain.

It was good.

And from that pastiche of Papa Hemingway we go to my own father and a rainy day in 1954.

The family homestead on Main Street had been rented for the season while we stayed with my paternal grandmother on Beach Road, the cur­rent home of the Town Clerk.

(As Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca used to say back then, "Isn't it a small world!")

My main employment that Summer was mow­ing the lawn at 256 East with the red Toro reel mower my father had bought from Grandson Tuttle in Eastport. I got $2.50 for a job which, the last time we had it done, was $65.

The rest of the time I crabbed, bicycling back-and-forth between rusty ol' Turkey Bridge and the Yacht Basin, 'til I had enough to sell to the Hampton Inn on Beach Lane.

One ultimately fateful day when I was sched­uled to mow that lawn, it was raining... not torrentially, but steadily enough to make the prospects of trudging around the half-acre be­hind the Toro less-than-pleasing.

Crabbing in inclemency, however, was never a problem.

The foreshadowing of what was to become a problem came when someone drove Mike Kam­merer and myself past the homestead to a fresher crabbing site, and there was my father, in a shirt, blue bathing suit and his GI brogues and khaki socks, mowing the front lawn.

In the rain.

It wasn't so good.

But it was even worse later on when the music I had to face included forking $2.50 over from my crabbing receipts and allowance.

To the extent that there was ever any actual debate between my authoritarian paterfamilias and his firstborn, we debated this for the re­mainder of the Summer.

Finally, I thought I had made some headway when he suggested that I deliver unto him an essay outlining my position and making my brief for the return of my $2.50.

I warmed to the task, and on lined notebook paper crafted a brilliant emendation, one which would have caused Daniel Webster and Clar­ence Darrow to rise in excited approbation.

He read the essay with interest, and while I was lauded for my writing skills, the $2.50 was not returned.

It was a defining event over the remainder of our relationship.

My sense of resentment was deep but never, of course, articulated.

But he knew, and carried that knowledge to his grave two years later.

Hey!, as I've come to learn later in life, we all have choices to make.

Today as the rain began lightly falling, it all came back over more than half-a-century... even some of the frustration and resentment.

Then I grinned, my effort behind the Sears rotary mower lightened, and I let it go.

And it was good.


1. Tugboat Bertha said...

Memories like that come back to haunt us until at last we can let them go. Bully for you my dear friend. You accomplished way more than a trim lawn this afternoon in the rain.

2. Paramarine said...

May you never run out of these great stories.

It wouldn't surprise me if you had a similar one to relate.

3. Eileen Dover said...

What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

4. SheShell said...

Great story! Looking forward to reading more on your wonderful blog!


Aw, g'wan with your own blogger self! I'll bet you say that to all the other bloggers!

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