The Othr Mans Grass is always Greener ( No I Mean It) Part 2
A Day in my Life
Let me introduce myself. My name is Ralph Cramden. Most people think I was named after Gleason’s character on the Honeymooners, but my grandfather on my Mothers side gets the honors. I married Helen the love of my life. Our two children Randy and Megan are typical fourteen and twelve year old near teenagers. Everything in my life is typical. The firm I work for W.E. Williams and Associates analyzes other businesses. They suggest new way to make money or improve products. I receive all the field reports and produce one complete report. I then pitch the report to the company involved. It is not as exciting as it sounds. For fifteen years I have done the same job. Yearly raises are given out in October and a Christmas bonus arrives the first of December. We live south of Indianapolis, Indiana. It is a typical addition where all the houses look alike. About the only difference between the houses are the yards. Many have decks and fountains and all sorts of trees and shrubs. Many also have fences surrounding their kingdoms. It is as if the men in the neighborhood think of their yard as a territory to be marked by making their yard more impressive than the others. I am sure it is a man thing. I just don’t think I am wired that way. Having the best lawn is not that important to me. I envy the southern states where rocks replace grass and all you have to do is spray weed killer. Now that would be my dream. Every day I back out of my driveway and head out to the office past the well-kept lawns with their evenly trimmed hedges. I look back in the rear view mirror and can easily pick out my lawn. Now I am not lazy. I keep it mowed in the summer and raked in the fall and the snow is shoveled in the winter. Yet it is not my desire to make my lawn a golf course. After getting complaints from my wife and a few neighbors in the summer of 2003 a sincere attempt was made to improve my lawn. What follows is pretty close to the facts. It now seems like a dream.
Spring had arrived in Indiana. I watched men in my neighborhood pouring over their mowing machines. They wash them and change the fluids paint them and get them ready for the first mowing of spring. On the first Saturday of the first warm week they begin. At eight am. it starts. The outdoors reverberates with the sounds of lawnmowers everywhere. All except mine that is. It is still out behind my garage with a bucket over the motor. Later today I will see if it starts. If it doesn’t I can get the Sullivan boy from across the street to mow it. He came over earlier this week to ask me. I think his old man put him up to it. He thinks I don’t mow often enough.
Much to my chagrin the mower started on the first pull. I then started the summer tradition most men seem to love. I know somewhere on television there is a game that needs my commentary but I promised my wife I would take better care of the lawn this year.
I was ready to sow the new grass seed that I bought at the flower show. My next-door neighbor Hank gladly let me use his rake and some kind of tool to dig up the ground to plant seed. This seemed like a lot of work but it would be worth it. By the end of the day I was hot, dirty and tired. Boy was this fun. Sunday found me watching a race and a ballgame at the same time much too busy to work outside. My wife came to me and reminded me that I said I would try to improve the lawn. I reminded her of the work I had done just yesterday. It was a draw so she went into the kitchen to cook dinner with the pans we bought at the patio show. Helen is a good cook. She tried to replicate the dishes we seen cooked at the show. It just didn’t taste the same. Maybe if she wore a big chefs hat. She found no humor in my suggestion.
About the middle of the week I looked out the window as I drank my coffee. Hank lay on the ground. This time he was surgically removing yellow dandelions from his lush green lawn. I walked out my door and was greeted by a blinding yellow light. It was the sun reflecting off my lawn of yellow dandelions. They were like a neon yellow carpet stretching border to border of my property. I was almost brought to tears it was so beautiful. I had grown something besides crabgrass. I called to my wife to come out and view my masterpiece. We hugged and kissed and I swear I seen a tear in her eye. More than likely it was hay fever from all the pollen. My neighbor turned to see me and at first I thought he was giving me the thumbs up but at closer inspection it was his middle fingers. “When are you going to do something about this mess?” he growled out. Not knowing anything else to say I assured him that I had a plan. Part of my plan was knowing that in the next few days those yellow flowers would all turn to seed and propagate the whole south side of Indianapolis and the lawn would look green again. As I drove away my neighbor two streets over was wearing knee cups and crawling across his yard with a ruler and a pair of scissors apparently making sure all his grass was the same level. His wife was looking out the window shaking her head and muttering.