Friday, May 31, 2013

Why I Cried When I Cut The Grass on Thursday

Dear Mom,
After two summers of drought, and the extreme heat we had last year, it has been a pleasure to mow healthy, green grass this spring. With all the rainfall, keeping up has been a bit of a challenge.
But that is not what made me cry.

After Daddy died, his John Deere tractor (I like to think of it as John, Dear) came to live at my house. Mowing has fallen under my half (?) of the division of labor in this household since the late 80's. Obviously, I didn't mow during my pregnancies and I somewhat reluctantly turned over the responsibility to the Young Man during his high school years (the deal- we pay for gas for the car, you mow the lawn), but now he has full time summer employment and I am back on the tractor.
John, Dear gets his annual check up every winter and is always ready to rev up in the spring. Paying for the annual maintenance gives me a little insurance should anything go wrong during the mowing season. I've never needed to bother the service department at Reynold's Farm Equipment until Thursday.
But that is not what made me cry.

At 4:45 pm, in the middle of a relatively straight patch of mowing, the mower blades stopped turning. I stopped the tractor dead, turned off the blade switch and tried re-engaging them. Nothing. Noting the time, and worried I might not get reach anyone in the service department before they closed down for the day, I drove John, Dear up near the house, jumped off, ran in and put my hands on my service invoice, locating the phone number. I was relieved when the call was answered. I was immediately transferred to the service department.
Jessie quickly diagnosed the problem and I ran back outside (with the phone) to confirm that "Yes, now that I look, I see a loose belt. Is this something I can fix? Can you talk me through it?" Jessie did believe that it was something I could manage and gave me some verbal instructions, took my email address, and sent me a page with photos of how the belt should be attached. Very nice. Very patient. He even told me he would be in the office until 6 and to call if I ran into difficulty. (I think we spoke three times before it was all through.)
Now, I've been known to cry when people do nice things for me, but this was not one of those times.

I didn't cry because my arms were black and my fingernails were even blacker when I was through.
I didn't cry at the bruises or scratches on my forearms from pushing my arms into hard metal places.
I didn't cry because the belt was stuck under a pulley and I couldn't pull it out. (That just made me MAD. Incredible Hulk mad. I may have even said 'dammit'.  But Mad enough to pull on it real hard- so hard, in fact, that I un-stuck it!)
I didn't cry because I was sweaty. Or that it took me over an hour to finally get it fixed.
Nope, I cried because when I took the cover off the mower deck, I saw this:

Daddy had drawn the belt attachment configuration right there on the mower deck. I thanked him right out loud. Right there, with dirt and grass and grease and sweat and tears in my eyes. His diagram was much easier to follow than the emailed photo and I didn't need to look away from the mower deck to refer to it.  I finished attaching the belt, with help at the end from My Hero - I needed his muscles to get the belt over and around that last pulley. While I was mowing the rest of the yard, I realized, once again, that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. I thought it was just me- but now know where it came from. Because, strategically located on the walls in the garage are the following:
furnace filter reminder
above the water softener pipes

above the water softener tank
And on my new skein winder-

Why go to the trouble of looking in a manual or for an instruction sheet or taking the risk of not remembering when the info can be right there, where you need it?

Thanks, Daddy!