The Other Mans Grass Is Always Greener ( No I mean It) Part 1
The Flower and Pati Show part 1
It started in January. The spring flower and patio show had come to town. I was just getting over the mind numbing ritual of Christmas shopping and swearing to all that is holy to never get in a crowd again, but the add for the show caught my eye. Maybe I could get some ideas or at least make my wife think I was going do it this year, have a nice lawn. So I in my infinite wisdom set out with the only credit card not swollen to bursting levels to visit the show. In the state of Indiana one can be sure that January is going to be wet and snowy. Least of all when you want to go somewhere. I wasn’t disappointed. The show is held at the state fairgrounds civic center. As we entered the parking lot a man in a security jacket motioned us to a parking area. We must have looked as though we needed exercise because he directed us to a spot about two miles from the show. By the time we got to the entrance my shoes were soaked and my pants were wet to my knees. My wife wore boots and stayed dry. She asked me to do the same. Of course I didn’t. I guess it’s a man thing. Through the glass door we walked. Hand in hand past the white haired old men taking the tickets and giving out handbills. We entered into a bright warm arena where it was springtime. Flowers bloomed at every corner. Trees sprung up from the concrete. Patios seemed to appear every few feet. I felt like I was in a Tim Taylor’s (The Tool man) show. Grown men were walking upright around everywhere smiling grunting and pointing. The presence of testosterone was almost overpowering. I all but forgot about my wet cold feet from the snow outside and became caught up in the World of Man. Within the first few feet I was enthralled by a stainless steel outdoor grill. It was huge. This thing had more gadgets than my car. The burner had six controls with three cooking levels. It had a DVD player with a color TV. It also had a beer can dispenser. If it had a urinal my life would have been complete. My wife had the good sense to pry my credit card out of my hand and drag me away. She was right you know, $9000.00 is a bit much to pay for something my ten-year-old K-Mart grill that was given to me by my neighbor could do. But it had stainless steel all over and multiple burners and. Okay it would blow my whole yard budget, for the next twelve years. I moved on only to turn around and come back for a second look. My wife grabbed the back of my shirt and we proceeded. The sound of reggae music filtered in my left ear and beckoned me to a lush paradise of sunbathing beauties and tropical breezes. Fountains sat on multi-level wooded decks. Only the decks weren’t wood. They were made out a space age plastic. A deck that never needs painting. This really appealed to me. I could sit on it, grill on it and even spill my beer on it and it would still look great. One fountain had a cupid on top that spewed water onto another level. It then ran into a bigger basin and then up again to a even larger statue of pan. Out of his flute water flowed to a waterfall and then back down. I was awe struck. I felt faint. The card came out again only this time faster than an old west gunslinger in a B Western. I would have the biggest and best deck in the neighborhood. The salesman told me with a minimum down payment and easy monthly payments it could be mine. The girls lying on a lawn chairs smiled and waved thanking me for the purchase. It was like my world suddenly slowed to half time. I moved as if I was in suspended animation. The salesman and the woman with him inched toward me smiling and bringing up a sales book for me to sign. Just then a voice broke thru the fog. It was a voice I knew and yet I didn’t want to listen to. It was my wife. She reminded me that the cost of the deck would not only prevent our children from going to college, it would prevent us from paying for the house that the deck would go on. Time to move on. We continued to walk down the aisle and discovered flowers and trees like we had never seen before. Everywhere we turned the splash of color greeted us the sweet scent of flowers caressed our senses inviting us to purchase bulbs, seeds and plants. Most of them of course would not even grow in our climate, but I didn’t care I was beginning to feel like a yardman. It was at this time the odor of food overwhelmed both of us. A cooking show was in full swing as we walked up. The sent of garlic reached out and guided me to an empty seat. Both of us watched with rapt attention as a man in a chef hat cooked food in seconds. He sliced and diced vegetables. The food was then passed out to all of us. It was marvelous. He then turned the pan upside down and we watched as he wiped out the pan with a paper towel. Will wonders ever cease? This time it was my wife who whipped out the plastic. It happened so fast I swear I smelled the odor of burnt plastic as the card passed by me. It was over before I knew what had happened. We now owned a new set of pans with a slicer and dicer thrown in for free. We finished the day collecting pamphlets on how to make your yard more spectacular. I bought a bag of grass seed that promised to grow in any yard and a block of cheese. What the cheese had to do with my yard I couldn’t tell you. It just looked good. We finished off by entering several contests promising fantastic vacation and new cars. I know the only thing I will win is a phone call at dinner wanting me to buy siding or windows. Anyway we went home.
As I turned in to our addition I saw my neighbor two streets over unloading a huge stainless steel grill as his wife stood by shaking her head and muttering to herself. Better him than me.
The next few weeks were typically Midwest, gray cold windy and wet. As if I needed reminding, my brother called me from down south to remind me that he was wearing shorts sweating and working on his yard. This is why I put up the weather here. I am not a lawn person. I don’t look forward to mowing grass. The longer winters give me less mowing time. Some men put out gardens; I put out the footrest on my chair. The local A&P has all the vegetables I need.
As I got ready to leave for work the other day, I noticed my next-door neighbor on the ground. Thinking he had fallen I started for him. Just then he arose and exclaimed to me that his grass was growing. He seemed overjoyed. I became depressed. Getting in the car I heard him say something to the effect of are you going to do anything with your lawn this year? I pretended not to hear. I thought to myself you’re lucky I mow it. Turning the corner I saw my neighbor who bought the monster grill walking up and down his yard pushing a spreader while wearing shoes with spikes on them. His wife was looking out the window shaking her head and muttering to herself.