There is no better way to start a morning than with a column by Leon Hale. Go sit awhile on the porch of his old country house and hear a tale or two…
WINEDALE — On the front porch again at the old country house in Washington County, and here is my deep thought for the week:
One of humankind’s greatest inventions is the riding mower.
Maybe you’ll agree, if you’ve ever cut your lawn with a push mower.
Those words — push mower — put me in reverse, back to my first regular paying job, taking care of Mrs. Nichols’ yard once a week the summer of 1932. She had this mower with metal wheels and dull blades.
Cutting her grass ruined an entire day, and my pay was 35 cents, a glass of lemonade and a couple of tea cakes.
Even as I relate (somewhat) to his opening, it’s the mental images that come from his closing comments that really left me smiling…
After all the rain we’ve had this spring, grass and weeds are tall and lush, and there’s something about knocking over that thick growth that appeals to me.
Pour on the juice. Wade into a patch of briars and weeds and watch the dust fly. Hit a fire-ant mound and knock those little suckers 40 feet. Run over a dead limb fallen off an oak and whang, bam, blooey — busted sticks fly clean across the creek.
Do yourself a favor and go have a sit a spell on another porch and have a listen to a great local storyteller. If you haven’t followed my links in his direction before, take a little while to read a few from his archives, it’s worth the investment in time…Trust me.
It’s good to see the weather on the Blue Ridge appears to be moderating a bit. The weather prognosticators are promising us a respite from the heat…tomorrow. Seems to be the way it goes here on the Gulf Coast, always better weather tomorrow, though I am sure there are enumerable folks out there who would love the weather we are having. I know there must be a lot of folks who like their springs to be full of 9o’s, both temperature and humidity readings, unfortunately, I’ve never been one of them.
I remember the summer in the early years of our marriage when I decided to paint the old house we bought from my parents. That year turned out to be one of the hottest and driest we ever had. Since the house had last been painted in the early 50’s, I couldn’t take a chance that the paint didn’t have some lead in it so breathing the dust as I scraped and sanded down to a clean surface didn’t seem advisable.
Every day that month started above 80 and went over 105 by noon. Even dry our climate pumps out some humidity, so to say it was uncomfortable working conditions would be showing way too much constraint. I spent my days in cut off blue jean shorts, shirtless, barefoot, with only a headband around my head to catch the sweat…and a whopping big respirator to keep from breathing the dust. It took me most of the month to scrape and sand and prime and then finally paint that house. Boy was I proud when I finished (and sweated down to a trimness I have never again reached in this life). And totally flummoxed when a year or so later the paint on the west side of the house started flaking off of the cypress siding. Turns out not much will stick to good cypress lumber which is why they used to use it to build around the water…
It looks like it’s time to hit the road…