From their earliest years, our children remember a father who tinkered with small engines. Did we ever have a new lawnmower? I really don’t remember. I only remember a constant parade of used mowers, one after another. Sometimes the mower would work for a while, sometimes it was a parts mower to fix another. Mike would work on whatever mower in the garage or on the patio with a young-un on haunches at his side.
Once or twice, Mike came into the house and announced, “I wrote R.I.P. on it,” and then would begin the quest for another decent used lawnmower. And yes, we also drove used vehicles – some of them “classics” – to which Mike devoted a lot of time. He said he enjoyed tinkering with the inner workings of mechanical things, but it also involved frustration.
When we started mowing at the farm, Mike bought used riding mowers. This continued until last year when the purchase process didn't go smoothly. I have this theory that it’s becoming more difficult to buy quality used items because the quality of new items has slipped. At any rate, last summer we worked with a well-meaning man to whom I give benefit of the doubt, but in our effort to buy a rebuilt lawnmower, we ended up no better than before.
So, I kept calm and repeated often that it was time for a brand new mower. Finally, he researched and selected one he deemed right for our situation. Bless his heart! As we set off to Home Depot to buy the 42-inch “Cub Cadet” riding mower, he asked me if I was in favor of this new mower. Of course, I was! We bought the mower Saturday (June 11), and that evening he studied the manual. The next day he performed certain prerequisites, and on Monday (June 13) we trailered the mower to its new home at the farm.
Mike wasted no time getting to the mowing. We had missed the previous week’s mowing when the old mower wouldn’t start, so the Cub Cadet had its work cut out for it. I really can’t tell you all the great features of this mower, but I know it has a comfortable seat, provides a smooth ride, turns on a dime, backs up easily, mulches the grass, and completes the job in – well, better time than heretofore. If you want technical info, you’ll have to talk to Mike.
It kinda looked to me like this tedious chore was suddenly sorta fun. Yes, Mike did invite me to try the mower. He showed me how to operate it, and as I rode it forward a few feet, he took my picture. Then he invited me to get off and away he went.
Happy Fathers’ Day to one of our most unforgettable characters! KW