February 3, 2011 0 Comments Stories

The lawnmower letdown

I always liked mowing as a kid. My cousin Todd and I mowed the neighbor’s field and property around the lake for spending money when we were between 9-12 years old. I also mowed Hugh Palmer’s yard that lived a few miles away for more spending cash so it was not surprising that I got the job of mowing at the house and the farm when I also assumed the position of farm manager sometime while in junior high. At this time we had a single Wheel Horse lawnmower and for some reason dad really thought it was a great mower. I think it was because grandpa thought so because I know we sure as hell did not have any luck with them.

The wheel horse we had at that time had a 42’’ deck and between the house and the farm, it would take a solid 10 hours or more of mowing to get it all done. I would usually mow at the house then trailer the mower up to the farm to mow there. After a few years of this, dad came to me and said that we were going to get a new mower at the yearly sale Shearer Farm Equipment was having where they would sell off all of their trade in mowers. Man was I pumped.

The day of the sale, dad said we had to get there earlier so we could scope them out. They had all of them lined up, most of the mowers were John Deere mowers because once you have a Deere, you usually stick with them. They were also lined up from most valuable to “I would not want to mow with that thing.”

Dad asked me, “Which one do you want?” Naturally I gravitated all the way to the nice end where there was a big John Deere with a 60’’ deck. Just think of how much less time it would take to mow, plus the thing had a pristine paint job. We start there and move down the line and guess what type of mower was second to last; that’s right, a damn wheel horse.

Dad kept checking it over. “Look, this had a hydraulic lift,” he pointed out as if my attention was on this mower. I mean he asked me which one I wanted. The deck was pretty much shot, but he said that we could use the deck on our current mower. Oh great, just what I want.

The auction started at the most valuable end. I stood by dad’s side as he watched on as everyone else bid on the mowers. One by one, he passed on any bidding, not even an inkling he was going to bid. After the auctioneer was about half way through, I knew what was going on, he was going to bid on that damn wheel horse.

Sure enough, he got that wheel horse for $500, which I guess was good deal, but I wanted the John Deere! I was defeated that day but I did make the best of it. The mower was a lot better and had about 5 more horse than the other mower. We moved the old mower to the lower barn to keep for scraps. After one season we had to go to Sterling Farm Equipment and buy another junker lawnmower that did not even run just for the deck which cost another $300. So now we had 3 lawnmowers but only one that ran. I ran with that mower for a few years until eventually we got that new John Deere, which is another story altogether.

The month before dad’s passed this story came up and I told him how let down I felt that day because I really wanted that John Deere. He told me “Hey, We did not have the money to buy the nice lawnmower otherwise I would have.” Those types of things do not occur to kids and it took me a long time to realize how much my parents did for me back then even when they probably shouldn’t have.

I have to remember days like that to keep things in perspective.