Opinion: Nostalgia while mowing the lawn


I mowed the lawn with my walk-behind mower last week. I haven’t done that in years, and wouldn’t have now except my big old honker of a riding mower burned out a bearing in the mower deck.

For two hours I trudged along cutting puny 18-inch swaths. The rider, on the other hand, whacks away 42 inches at a time, getting me to job-done status in about 45 minutes.

It was eerie. Walking while mowing is what I used to do as a kid to earn money. Every summer I snagged a few lawn customers and then spent part of each week mowing their lawns for three to five dollars a pop.

The work was tedious, mindless and boring, and what was weird about the other day was I found myself thinking the same meandering thoughts I had while mowing as a kid.

While cutting Mrs. Baxter’s grass I always thought about my bicycle. There was a new basket at Western Auto that I wanted to buy. I had bought new handlebar grips a few days before and thought the new basket would give my aging bike a facelift.

I was also considering a new paint job. I always seemed to think about that when I was trimming around Mrs. Baxter’s rose trellis. She painted it a different color every spring.

At Mrs. Hanson’s yard I always thought about my next trip to the local swimming hole. Mrs. Hanson’s yard was mostly uphill and her mower was a reluctant beast. Halfway through I would be sweating like a racehorse and dying for a cool dip in the creek.

Nostalgia is great. But there was another thing I used to think about back then: how great it would be to own a riding mower and never have to walk behind one again.