Thursday, April 13, 2017

Freshly mown grass

Me on the far right, sun in my eyes!
This afternoon, I was trying to take a little nap. I don't usually take naps but I really needed one today. I'd been up since 5:00 a.m. and I was dragging so I lay across the bed in our guest room hoping to catch 40 winks. As I lay there with my eyes closed, I heard one of my neighbors on his riding mower. He was out cutting the grass. As he made pass after pass, I couldn't help but remember my childhood. I'd always loved the smell of freshly mown grass because it signified the approach of Summer to me.

Daddy would always get out and cut the grass with his push mower. I took great comfort in knowing he was home and he was busy making our yard look nice. Our yard was very large so that meant Daddy had a lot of pushing to do. Our yard wasn't flat either, so it took some muscle to get that mower up and down the hills. With sweat upon his brow, Daddy worked hard to get the yard done while we were usually playing. We never hired anyone to cut the grass. Daddy was meticulous in performing yard work and I don't think he would've trusted anyone else to do the job as well as he did.

Years later, after we were grown and our parents had moved to another house, Daddy got a riding mower. We were all thankful he wouldn't have to struggle against that push mower any longer. It didn't take him long to cut the grass at their new location. The yard there was much smaller and very flat. Sometimes, when I'd go over to visit, I'd pull into the driveway to see him circling around on the riding mower. He'd smile and throw up his hand in a wave.
I'm on the back row between my Mom and my Aunt

But usually a few weeks before Easter, Daddy would stop mowing the grass. He'd let it get tall and shaggy. He knew, when we were children, Mama would want to hide Easter eggs and short grass isn't good for hiding. Later on, as we started having our own families, Daddy did the same thing for the grandchildren. We'd all gather at my parent's house for a huge Easter egg hunt with all the little ones. After a huge dinner of ham, potato salad, green beans, rolls, and some kind of dessert, we'd take the children outside and let them run wild and free through the tall grass. Daddy would laugh as he'd watch them head out and then he'd watch for the one child not finding quite as many eggs as the others. He'd make a special point of going to help that one fill their basket. In my mind's eye, I can still see him stooping low to point out an egg hidden beneath a bush or lifting a little one to retrieve an egg hidden in the V of a tree. We all had such fun back then!

As the neighbor finished up the last few passes on his lawn, I began to tear up. I hadn't realized how much I've missed my Daddy. Easter will be here in a few days and as I walk out to my car to go to church, I'm sure I'm going to glance around my yard hoping to see an egg hidden here or there. But there won't be any. None of my grandchildren will be with us this year for the holiday. They have plans with their own families, and that's okay. At least I have precious memories of Daddy at Easter and the smell of freshly mown grass to remind me of days long past.

Isn't it funny how something like listening to the soothing sounds of a lawnmower running can bring up memories like that? I hope you have some special memories stored away, too.

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