There are certain rites of passage for our children, and ourselves, that are always well documented. The first time our babies roll over, first steps, first words, the very first time a Pop-Tart is independently procured and liberated from its foil. And then there were firsts like the one this weekend. Sunday marked the first time C mowed the front yard. He's finally old enough to start earning the cost of his cable television habit.
I sat on the front porch in my seersucker pants, my wide-brimmed Panama hat, sipping lemonade and smoking a cigar while I watched him miss patch after patch of lawn while mowing other strips three or four times. It was hot yesterday, 92 degrees on Oct. 7, which made it all that much better. It made the shade I was in a little more pleasant, the lemonade a bit more refreshing.
I'm not sure what age I was when I began lawn mowing. C is nine-ish now and I want to say I was about seven when I started. I want to say that because it will make him feel worse, and a bit more guilty about what he is and isn't required to do now. I want to say I was seven, so I probably will. I was there, after all, and I write the history book in my house.
The house we lived in when I first cranked up the lawnmower had a driveway of loose gravel, and this gravel would be strewn all over the yard due to our skidding bike tires and handfuls thrown at each other. Mowing across all of those tiny rocks was like mowing a field of shrapnel and I would finish the chore with my thin, pasty shins pitted and red from those angry projectiles. When my mother remarried and Steve moved in, he required the lawn to be mowed twice a week. Twice a week? You can't even imagine my mutterings as I was out there under the blazing Memphis sun for hours twice a week. It made absolutely no sense to me why anyone would need this kind of attention paid to a yard, especially in what is normally a drought-ridden Southern summer. Made no sense, that is, until yesterday. So, Steve, come on by any time to sit a spell on the front porch, the lemonade is on me. Sundays and Thursdays seem like a good schedule.