Sometimes It Blows – Tale 1
In keeping with the theme of this blog, in the South, there are few sounds more soothing and beautiful than that of a Fall breeze working its way melodically through a thicket of pine trees. Visually, the Winter icing that periodically occurs on pines is a sight made for a photographer and a greeting card,..but!
In life, there are always buts, and I’ve known my share of them. With pine trees come problems. For instance, when the ice and snow build up on the greenery it’s a marvelous spectacle until the limbs begin to break under the added weight. The huge limbs can rain down on you like brimstone, and the sound they make as they do will shock you. Think of the mixture of an explosion, rolling thunder, and your roof collapsing all at the same time. This weighty assault can go on for hours or days.
Another huge ‘but’, like seen on my aunt Bertha on my fraternal Grandmother’s adopted side of her husband’s make-believe family, is to never build a home beneath a thicket of pines. In fact, if you are contemplating doing so, relocate to any desert and hammer there instead.
In 1984, we built a house smack dab in the middle of pine trees and they blow!
Just today my best three-quarters asked, “Did you know that recently another one of your old friends died while cutting grass? Isn’t that about the fourth one you know in the past year or two?”
Yes is the answer to both questions.
Not only did she bring me bad news to start my morning, it came on the day I had chosen to cut the grass for the first time this season. Normally, my sweet brother-in-law would do the mowing for me since my swing has been off a bit of late. He’s a great brother-in-law and a fine dinner would have been purchased or grilled out for him to show appreciation for his hard work.
His help was not to be this weekend because there’s a scrunge going around the state, and our Rob was flush with it. He had been blessed with it last weekend and like the spring flowering plants it has kept giving.
The first cut is not only the deepest but the hardest as well. This grass clipping season would be the worst bloodbath ever.
You see, we have these damnable pine trees that spew forth their plethora of unwanted needles as the trees fart and barf pine cones by the bushels all over everything. Oh, did I mention their limbs break off easily? In the early spring, they also puke what we call ‘worms’ which produce god awful pollen. They really look like c-shaped worms of about one and a half inches long. Hanky anyone?
Today would see either number five laid to rest behind a push mower or the grass would see a haircut. Damned the luck! On the initial yank of the cord, the stupid mower fired up, and it ran as smooth as our housecat’s underbelly fur.
There was no getting out of it. In no way joking, I had stated to my wife, “Honey if I’m not back inside the house in n hour or two find the insurance papers before you call the ambulance.”
The number five has always been my lucky number, but this time around it felt gloomy or I should say doom-ish.
These damned pine trees blow!
Back at the lawn mower things were heating up.
By the way, did I tell you that today that the pollen count one baby step outside my doorway was around ten billion, and that it was global warming deja vu all over again. Add to this hay fever dust storm the fact that if it was under a hundred degrees Fahrenheit beneath any pine tree, I’d kiss my aunt Bertha’s fat ass with your lips.
Death behind the mower sprang into my mind within minutes of either cutting grass, bailing pine straw with the aid of the mower or chopping a dozen cords of wood in anticipation of the impending ice age in Georgia. The trusty machine groaned. Or, was that me groaning and it moaning on?
Yes, I was dying with every mowed row. At least the one doing the cutting had some ethanol laden joy juice in its belly. On the other end of the handle, I was running on empty, and blubbering like the Whale I am. Everything was running, the machine, my nose, eyes, mouth, and baked brain. It was hotter than hell out there and old scratch had gone on vacation leaving me in charge to handle the waves of pollen that the mower spewed from its entrails.
The determination to finish at least one-third of the yards consumed my thoughts. It was as if I were young again and trying to think of anything other than what was at hand to maintain the flow and finish the race.
My chest and head were exploding with each turn of the single blade.
Approaching heat stroke, my brain screamed, This damned mower should have died by now. Why did it crank anyway? It’s been sleeping all winter. Why hasn’t the added ethanol in the unleaded fuel clogged the motor up?
The pollen count grew exponentially as wood was split, pine straw was chopped like cabbage, and the few blades of grass in need were shaved. My mind raced in multiple directions, but the first cut had whipped me. I gave up the ghost before the gasoline ran out. For the moment, I’ve survived, but if this head filled with pollen has its way, I’ll be checking out soon…five by five.
Today, it blew!