When I Was a Kid – My Dad as a Mower

GRG - Airforce

This is not about Father’s Day…

…although it happens to be the week of Father’s Day. Retailers want it to be a bigger holiday than it is, but if truth be known there are better ways of honoring fathers rather than buying them something. The guilt factor is huge for not purchasing something, and I am not a big one on buying my dad something just because a retailer is promoting gadgets! Rather, Father’s Day is more to me about a simple phone call or lunch.

Not to be maudlin, but there will come a time when I will no longer be here for my kids, and a time when my dad will no longer be here for me. This is the way of life, so, I want to garner the time and memories while possible and store them up for the future – not only as a memory, but also something we can share…

This set me on the pathway of thinking about the first days that I remember my dad. It is said that we have impressions of our early days of life, and try as I might I have no ability to recall with clarity. What I mostly have at my hands are pictures that give me the impressions of those early years. The family movies show how dad interacted with us – that green swimming pool in the back yard, that picnic on the side of the road while on a trip, going to the Monument and the Battleship Texas, oh – remember that awful experience of camping at Galveston,  camping at Garner State Park when it was cold and we found Easter Eggs in the wilderness!

The memories are great, but there is one thing I truly remember and want to share today.

Dad was hard-working in those early years – still would be if age were not the factor it has become. I suppose I was about 3 and we were living in Deer Park (I think). There was no A/C and all the windows were open. Screens kept the bugs out, but not the noise. Can you imagine? Naps interrupted by noise? As we were supposed to be napping, I can only surmise I was awake because Dad was out in the hot sun mowing the yard, and coming right next to the window that was opened for a breeze. He was sweating so much! I know where I get it from…because this is how I remember mowing in Texas.

GRG - Yazoo MowerMy first money making job was mowing the yard around the swimming pool at Champion Paper Company. It was the life guards job (I think) and I got paid a dollar per week. Along with that coveted nickle every day to keep his lunch in our refrigerator, I was able to save up around $1.20 per week! I shared some lunch duties with my siblings! Later I mowed yards as a teenager for spending money, and later as an adult to help put groceries on the table.

The mower of choice was this huge Yazoo mower. It was not self propelled and very difficult to push up the hill behind the diving board. Imagine a 7 year old kid pushing this mower around the yard – probably barefooted. I had to push it from the barn to the pool area (about 3 acres away), fill it with gas and yank on the cord to start it.  Whew! Think about it! They trusted me….

Later in life, dad is at my house mowing my yard in Anchorage – sometimes twice per week. I appreciated it so very much!

Ford Tractor
Ford Tractor

I remember dad letting us ride on the tractor with him. It was a Ford. Much like this picture. For the most part it had a brush hog mower attachment and could be pretty dangerous. We were not allowed to drive the tractor, or be with him when he was using it to mow…

But it was sure fun to stand on various parts and attachments while he moved it around the property! Maybe this is why I love the “idea” of a tractor so much. But wait, I do have a tractor!

GRG - Riding MowerThere was a mower he allowed me to mow with – it was no fun because it was really slow! But it was better than pushing. It looked much like the one pictured, another Yazoo, I think. A huge hulking green mower with a seat on a single wheel behind, and big bike handle bars to steer, probably like you do with three wheeled bicycles – you had to lean against the direction and push on the handle bars, and that seat you sat on was on a huge single tire that swiveled, following the direction of the turn.

I have used big mowers like this as a brush mower – only you had to steer it while walking behind it. Difficult where I live because of all the rocks…

Finally, maybe it was the love of doing something that my dad worked hard at doing, but…

I have always enjoyed mowing. It has become an escape from the stress of life to fire up the mower (now a tractor) and spend some time mowing. It’s not a fine art – just good mindless work. It is often during this mindless time that my subconscious works out some issue, or plan out a trip, or simply enjoy thinking about nothing! During my teen years I remember offering to mow the yard even when it was one of my brothers turn.

I do not EVER remember my sister having to mow.

So, dad. I remember your hard working years, and I really remember the mowing events more than other things. Thanks for giving me some really great experiences to recall! Love you!

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