Let's talk about lawns. In a word, size matters. Mine is tiny. The square-footage of our Morrisonville lawn is barely larger than that of our king-sized bed.
It was a lot smaller when we moved here in the early '70s and has, at times, both grown and shrunk since then. Our driveway on the west side was nonexistent 40 years ago. We had grandfathered legal access to the horseshoe entrance/exit used by owners of the huge building in front, as the two properties were once part of an estate. However, a neighbor squabble led us to transform a grassy and bush-covered strip into a paved driveway.
We later acquired a slice of land on the east side next to the Morrisonville Fire Department and broke out the grass seed.
Much of our current front lawn was formerly asphalt used for parking. We dug that all up, hauled in black dirt, leveled it off and broke out more grass seed. The petroleum from the asphalt had compromised the soil deep underground, and getting seed to grow there was nearly impossible. We fertilized and neutralized. We prayed and we swore, and just when the lawn finally began to germinate, we awoke one morning to a huge sinkhole right in front of our kitchen. What the ...!
An ancient sewer structure constructed of railroad ties had rotted away, and overnight we had a major depression figuratively and literally. It's lucky people and pets weren't swallowed up. I called a dear friend with a front-end loader, and he came with a bucket of beautiful earth, filled in the hole, leveled it off and went on his way. He never sent a bill. What a guy.
Our visiting son-in-law from Long Island put down seed and fertilizer. He's a lawn-and-garden expert and, before long, grass began to grow. It looked great this spring. April showers were more than abundant, as you might recall, and we were in lawn heaven.
For a while, twice-a-week mowing was a necessity. My old lawn mower was tired, and my marvelous wife, Kaye, felt sorry for me as I struggled to keep it running while pushing it through the tall grass. "Why don't you buy a lawn tractor?" she said one day while I sweated through the task at hand. I found a big powerful machine on sale and headed for town to load it onto my truck.
I leapt (well, climbed) aboard and fired it up with instructions from our son Dale, who knows about such things. I laugh and tell folks I have now reduced a five-minute mowing job to 42 seconds. You already know about the time I inadvertently dropped the mowing deck to its lowest setting and carved an unintentional question mark into the side lawn.
I attended an August occasion in Plattsburgh recently, and a distinguished guest whispered in my ear. He didn't talk about the nice day or the gathering of VIPs. He instead asked if the question mark was still on my lawn. Egad! I told him, like a bad haircut, it finally grew out.
A July drought dried up our lawn and most others. Our grass was so brown it crunched when we walked on it. But abundant rains came last weekend and things are once again greening up. My family still thinks seeing an old, fat guy tooling around the 10-foot by 40-foot lawn in a 42-inch-cut riding mower is way over the top, but I just don't care. My lawn is finished by the time they put gasoline into their machines.
I mowed a lot of huge lawns with the old-fashioned rel-type push mowers for 50 cents an hour as a kid and remember fondly all those homeowners who favored me with glasses of cold lemonade. A friend recently opined that the advent of these big, new lawn tractors has caused people to make and mow much larger lawns. Some of them are gigantic. I only ask that you humor me with mine and wave on your way by.
Have a great day and please, drive carefully.
Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the "Our Little Corner" television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.