One of my memories from college that reappears at odd times is of the first time I spent the weekend with my (then) boyfriend's parents. We drove from Virginia to Trenton, New Jersey on a Friday and stayed a few days.
On Saturday morning after giving his mother a raft of grief, he cut their very large yard. This was in the days before riding mowers for the home and they must have had an acre or more, so it was quite a job. He stripped to shorts and, shirtless, attacked the job. Since this is my memory, we will give him swimmer's abs and a slight tan. By the time he finished he was soaked with sweat and smelled like a working men do, but the lawn was gorgeous.
Driving home I asked why he had given his mother such a hard time about doing it. " It's all a game," he told me. "I don't mind a bit, never have, but Dad hates to do it, so I pretend to hate it, too. That way they think that they've won something. I actually enjoy doing it, and it looks so good when I am done."
I think that's why I have this memory. Walking mindlessly behind the mower, following the line between cleanly, newly mowed and wildly overgrown, I love the way it falls into place - nice and neat. But most of all, when it's all done to look across it all and watch the wind ripple it.
When our hero finished mowing he had an ice cold beer. I chose a glass of wine on the deck. Well, if you've paid any attention you know that the east coast is three inches deep in pollen right now, so I really didn't sit on the deck to drink it. I hid inside away from the breeze, thankful for the protection from the pollen.
But that in no way diminished my appreciation of the newly cut yard. An hour outside on a warm afternoon, with a necessary job completed - what more could a girl ask? Ah, spring!
Happy Birthday, Elizabeth. As usual your card will be late! I still love you.
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