In 1994, Crystal and I became first time homeowners. Thanks to some financial help from my parents, we were able to make a downpayment on a modest, 1,000-square-foot home in an older part of town. It was a decent sized lot; plenty of room for kids to play in the backyard (even though at that point there were no kids of our own to play there), and was the first house that we looked at.
My parents came to help with the move in process. My dad surveyed our palatial estate, smiled and handed me a $100 bill.
“Go buy yourself a mower,” he said.
Which I did.
I made a trip to Wal-Mart and found a Murrary 20-inch push mower. Despite having a decent-sized yard, it wasn’t big enough for a riding mower. Being a journalist, I was lucky to have a salary that allowed a lawn mower at all.
Anyway, a lawn can only be properly mowed by the the attention given when one pushes their mower. Right?
I lavished love on the yard. as our careers advanced, I hired lawn services to keep the Bermuda in the front yard nice and healthy. The back yard was eventually taken over by a pet and the leaves from a large pecan tree every year. I gave up hope on it, and eventually let the Bermuda grass be replaced by whatever junk grasses would prosper.
But, I still had that mower.
I had a close call a couple of summers ago. The previous year, it ran erratically, the RPM going up and down and acting like it was going to die. I decided to perform open heart surgery on it – I bought a carburetor rebuild kit and decided I would give it a shot. Thanks to some instruction via YouTube, I successfully brought it back to life.
Runs like a top.
Every summer, the mower fires right up. Some summers have been easier than others, but still with a proper amount of fuel and a few pulls on the rope, it fires right up. Maintenance has been limited to a few spark plug change and topping off the oil. Truth be told, it may still contain the original oil that it came with from Wal-Mart.
I kicked off the official summer mowing season today. I brought it out of the shed, gassed it up and with a few pulls of the rope brought it roaring to life. It sputtered until I adjusted the throttle. I also had to do some minor disassembly when the pull rope got tangled, but other than that, no drama.
The reason for writing about this? This year will mark 20 years that the mower has been in use. I’m always amazed when it starts up.
And, four years after his passing, it gives me a happy memory of my dad’s smile when he handed me the money to buy it.
I made a vow a few years ago. After our dog Zack died, we buried him in the back yard marked by a rock that I seem to hit while mowing. Once the mower does finally give up, I’m going to bury it next to Zack.