Grass Clippings and Cat Hair
By: Allison Norris
The part where the grass shoots out on the side would always get clogged. This was, of course, before we had a riding lawn mower. We would take turns mowing the half of an acre of grass. Pushing and stopping to empty the bag of clippings. A mountain of old grass and some new had formed in the woods just beyond the property line. Around the red fence which kept the goats and chickens in captivity, the only hill in our yard felt like a mountain. My hands smelled of gasoline and fresh cut grass for the rest of the day no matter how many times I washed them, and my shoes remained stained despite the attempts at making them white again. Who mows the lawn in white shoes, anyway?
We had a carport and a “shop” where my mom kept a bunch of old junk like antiques and a food dehydrator. I don’t know if she even knew what was in there. It was dark and scary with exposed beams that supported more junk items above your head. Our old cat Chippy slept in there before he died, and you could find a flattened area of old clothes littered with grey cat hair… maybe even a little cat poop. There was a gravel walkway lined with fragrant flowers that connected our main house with the back yard, with the “shop” in between the two. We’d argue over who had to go into this shop if we needed to get a hammer or a shovel to toss dog poop into the woods. A separate shed kept our mowers and other lawn supplies… and whatever crap my mom could fit in there. Everything had a door or blinds to cover the sight, but we all knew what was in there. Junk.
It’s funny what you start to remember after memories are created with your own kids. Baylor and Toby were mowing the lawn yesterday and it got clogged. Like a movie flashback, where all of the images flash quickly by, I remembered mowing our lawn when we were young girls. Dancing around in a bathing suit or spraying each other with a hose. It would take us hours. It would be one of our “jobs” of the week, one that we would dread and complain about. We would blast Carly Simon or Red Hot Chile Peppers from the stereo on the deck and make a day of it… Oh what fun it was.
The car port, shop, shed and crappy little deck where we performed many a dance routine and celebrated a few birthdays was torn down when I was in college. My mom rebuilt the house and made it gorgeous – thank goodness. I have some coasters made from the peach tree we used to hang on in our yard that also had to go during the remodel. I haven’t thought about mowing the lawn or the contents of the scary shop in a decade.
It’s weird to be a mom. A grown up…. Responsible for helping Baylor to make his memories and hoping that he’ll have positive flashbacks when he is a man one day.
A clogged mower is happiness.