Thursday, June 02, 2005

Lawnmower Man

I Googled "St. Augustine" and found out he's the Patron Saint of Landscaping Companies.

That explains why so much of the stuff is planted down here in south Texas. It's a tough grass for a tough state. Fast growing, too. Just the other day I was out in the front yard and after a few minutes I was several inches higher off the ground. I felt like a fakir on a bed of nails.

I tried mowing the stuff. Once. My mower was a Binford 3000 Multi-capuchino Earth Tamer. I say "was," may it rest in peace, because it barely made it around one circuit of the yard before it collapsed into a weeping, whining pile of protesting parts. I wasn't far behind.

The blades of grass hadn't even been cut; only bent. And as I sat there gasping and comforting my dying lawnmower I watched as the blades slowly righted themselves in defiance. It must have been my imagination that saw the blades wearing tiny black gloves.

Grass Power!

Okie, dokie, maybe I could declare my property a National Grasslands Reserve. Mental note: swing by PetSmart and buy prairie dog.

What's with this stuff? I remember living in a state far, far away where only Rye Grass would grow. Rye is the Rodney Dangerfield of grass. All you have to do is threaten it and it will cut itself.

I'd stand in the front yard, beer in hand, and muse "Hmm, I think I'll have to get the old mower out this weekend." And I'd hear all this weeping and gnashing of grass teeth as they cut themselves down to Homeowner Organization regulation size.

"Thanks, boys, pleasure doing business with you."

Now, the game is different. Rye is T-ball. St. Augustine is Major League. Time to call in the pros.

The Landscaping Guy, Guido, seemed quite nice.

"Youse just needs to sign dis line, Mister Bill, and don't worry about all that lien stuff. Heh, heh, heh, lawyers! Can't live wit 'em, too much trouble to bury 'em. Heh, heh, heh!"

The next morning at 6am sharp I heard the quiet thump-thump-thump of Special Forces Blackhawk Helicopters. Dreaming, I thought. No helicopters.

Not dreaming. Guido and the rest of the lawn commandos descended deftly down ropes, gear in hand, to the terrain below. Armed with 50-mm diamond weed whackers and Bradley fighting mowers they charged up and down the lawn attacking everything that moved, or didn't move. Grass blades flew. Leaves shot skyward. Huge plumes of gasoline exhaust rose in the dawn.

Predictably I heard Guido exclaim, cigar clenched in his teeth, weed whacker glowing in heat, "God, I love the smell of burning chlorophyl in the morning!"

Then, as soon as it started, it was over. The troops retreated under covering fire. The helicopters disappeared across the horizon. I ventured out the front door only to witness the sweeping up operation. Bundles of grass blades wearing tiny, orange jumpsuits were being blown-marched down the street guarded by the Lawn Patrol.

Guido strode up, invoice in hand.

"That's a mow, trim, bag and mulch," he said. "We had a few casualties. That's extra." He held out the invoice.

"No problem, Colonel, " I replied, stood at attention and gave him a heartfelt salute.

Colonel Guido returned the salute, smiled, turned and sauntered down the street, disappearing into the morning haze. As I walked back to the house I thought I heard a voice in the distance...

"I shall return!"

Comforted, I closed the door behind me and thought "Oh, yeah!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You always bring the best stories! Amazing.