I waited until 9AM.
A few weeks ago the lawn service my neighbor’s use showed up at 8AM and set to work. Later that evening my neighbor sent out an email on the neighborhood list serve apologizing for the sound of mowers waking everyone on the block. So, I decided to wait until 9AM.
Today was Day 2 of the Battle of the Yard my housemates and I have waged against the seemingly unending ivy. Yesterday was a chopping, weed-whacking, raking, swearing bonanza. On the bright side, we found the back fence, which had been missing for a while. Working solo today I was on a mowing, edging, sweeping mission. I was going to make our yard look pretty, dammit, even if it killed me.
I want to hate yard work (or as we call it at our house “lard work” because my roommate tried to say “yard” and “lawn” at the same time). I don’t. I’m not saying I look forward to it. It is pretty humiliating, considering how much I sweat. But, I like mowing the lawn.
Yard work makes me feel connected to my father. I don’t have a great deal of memories about my father, but I distinctly remember yard work. Every couple Saturdays in the summer my father would wake up any of my siblings living at home and me. The littlest kid would have to get all the sticks out of the lawn. My father would mow the lawn with the push mower. The kids would rake and bag up the grass. My father would edge the lawn with an edger that sounded like a moose dying. Then out came the old brooms and the giant aluminum dust pan and we’d sweep all the sidewalks. It was a long, exhausting day. The whole time my mom would be weeding the flowerbeds or pruning the bushes or deadheading the rhododendrons (worst job ever!). There was no escape from yard work.
I think there are people who would say that it is sad how many memories I have of yard work, considering the short time I had with my father. I disagree. There were family vacations, holidays, parties, dinners, swim meets, basketball games, and trips to our local AAA baseball team. My father taught me how to read the stock report in the newspaper. My childhood was not some Dickensian nightmare. But, as I grow older, the parties seem less important than the yard work.
I love my father. I miss him. I’ve missed him a lot the last two years. But I am grateful of the example he set. I am happy that I know I can do yard work with out complaining. You see, I don’t remember my father complaining about the yard work. He may have. I know he complained about other things. (When I complain too much my mother just throws up her hands and says “You’re just like your father!”) I just don’t remember him complaining about the mowing, edging, raking, and sweeping. I complained about all of it. I hated it. I especially hated the sweeping. I couldn’t seem to make it clear to all the adults that sweeping the sidewalk was stupid.
Today I swept the sidewalk when I finished edging the front lawn. I smiled, and said “I love you” to my dad, and finished the job I started. I didn’t whine or give up.
Thanks Dad. I love you. Happy Father’s Day
(4 Years, 8 Months, and 29 Days Sober)