Summertime Before AllergiesSummertime Before Allergies

Outside of Syracuse in a small city, the issue of allergies did not exist. One nice thing about having long winters was that you did not have to cut the yard. God has a sense of humor as the substitution was shoveling snow. Normally, if the snowfall was heavy, we received a snow day. That was a good trade off for shoveling snow.

Our lawn mowing ritual was before the self-propelled mower. After a short period, I stopped cutting up and down the hill. I started to mow sideways. That was fine for the backyard. I did receive a little constructive criticism for the front yard. The front yard had to be perfectly striped. If fertilized properl y to maximize the color green, this made the front look outstanding. I don't think I every really enjoyed cutting the lawn. I was glad to have an older brother to rotate the duty with. The yard had to be cut every week. If it rained, we waited. This problem adds items to the lawn.

The higher the grass grew ,that much more stuff was added to the grass mix. I would walk the lawn area for debri and dog droppings before I cut it. One day I didn't see the hammer in the lawn. Unfortunately, when I hit the hammer it shut the lawnmower down. I broke the lawnmower. That happened to be my birthday. It was not a happy one.

Lawn services were not that popular yet. Even the larger grass areas were cut by the owners. Cutting lawns, shoveling snow, and raking leaves were all great ways to earn extra money. Depending on the house, it could be some back breaking work. I did not mind. Back then, even a dollar could buy a lot of sweet snacks. Now, a dollar doesn't even buy a candy bar.

My only fear of any of these tasks, especially raking leaves, was the fear of handling dog droppings by mistake. When you work on someone else's yard, you don't what pets they have or how big or small they are. Picking up leaves covered in dog stuff was pretty stinky even if you wore gloves or used the rake. It is the only part I did not like. I guess, I also did not like when the leaves continued to fall when I was raking. This would make a one hour job turn into a four hour job. We would only get paid what we originally negotiated. Our bonus might be a glass of lemonade.

Nowadays, most of the neighborhoods are built close together. You can look out your window and see inside your neighbor's home. With that, yards have come to be pretty tiny. Lawn services will negotiate as cheaply as $40 a month. You think that is a great deal. When you step outside to watch, you realize that it only takes about 15 minutes to cut and edge your lawn as it is so small. This is when you cancel your service and get your lawnmower out of storage. It doesn't snow where I live now. By the way, people blow the leaves instead of raking them.

by Geo Clark
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