Cutting grass


When my family lived in Sloss, one of the chores at home, was cutting the grass. As soon as I grew strong enough to yank the crank cord on the Sears Craftsman mower, I was off and pushing. My older brother Neil would rather have had a tooth pulled without Novocain than cut grass, but it was a job that I enjoyed. I still do.

In the mid-1960s, when my legs grew long enough to reach the gas, brakes, and clutch pedals, I would use my dad's old Chevy pickup during the summers to cut grass for people around Dora. 

One of my first customers was Mrs. McMichen's, who taught English at Dora High School. Her mom and dad lived across the road from us, and they recommended that she get me to cut her grass. 

I was excited when I got the call to come and give her an "estimate" for cutting her grass. I had to grab the dictionary and look up the word estimate.  

Her yard was small. It would only take a few minutes to cut her backyard, but her house sat on a hill, and her front yard sloped to the street below. There was no way I could have pushed the mower up and down that bank, I had to use a rope. 

I had no idea how to give her an estimate, so I told her to give me what she thought was fair. I don't remember how much she offered, but I was giddy during the ride home.

Word spread quickly in Mrs. McMichen's neighborhood. Soon I was cutting the grass of most of her neighbors.

It was one of the best summer jobs I ever had. I still love cutting grass.

Pushing a mower is a thing of the past for me. We have about 12 acres and I must admit, I don't love cutting grass enough to push a mower over that many acres. It would take days. Fortunately, mowing with my John Deere riding mower is fun too.

Yesterday, I was struggling to come up with an idea for this column. Jilda suggested that I go out and cut grass for a while. That thought resonated with me.

Once outside, I got lost in the engine's drone and the smell of freshly cut grass. Kodak, the wonder dog, trotted alongside me as I mowed. 

I noticed a row of orange and yellow daylilies blooming along a fencerow toward the property's edge. At the back, I saw a pink cloud of blossoms. The mimosa trees back there are in full bloom. Cutting the engine, I sat there a moment in the shade. Up in the branches, honeybees and a butterfly sipped nectar from the tiny pink hairs of the blossom. I bet mimosa honey tastes good.

After about an hour of mowing, I headed back toward the house. By the time I unlatched the back gate I knew what the topic of this week's column would be.


Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Goes On is available on Click here to order your copy. You can contact him via email at