Still Mowing (After All These Years)

Marlene rides the Deere
Marlene rides the Deere

I was born on a dairy farm in Sauk County, Wisconsin, about 30 miles NW of Madison, in 1940. Our farm had rolling hills, lots of hay fields to cut, and a very large yard to mow. As a kid in grade school, I started pushing the reel mower. It had a grass catcher attached to it and the clippings went to the chickens. There were no gasoline engines back then. The mower was “self-propelled,” by my muscles! I pushed it for weeks and months and years.

I also spent weeks and months and years on our tractor with a side rake, turning the cut hayfield into beautiful rolls. Round after round, acre after acre. Oh, the lovely smell of fresh cut hay. Later, the tractor would follow those rows with a hay chopper and wagon behind. Oh, the lovely smell of fresh chopped hay. Then the chopped hay would be blown from the wagon into the barn or silo. The lovely smell was still there, but so was the dust and the dirt. I remember the days being hot and humid.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Like the Energizer Bunny, I’m still going. Or should I say, “I’m still mowing!” Occasionally with a reel mower. Sometimes with a gasoline, self-propelled mower for trimming. Or walking behind the field mower for the overgrown hillsides and the 1-o-n-g grass.

But most of my mowing hours these days are on the John Deere riding mower. It has catcher bags for the clippings, which go to mulch the garden. Light Morning has a very large yard, similar to back home on the farm. Round after round, bag after bag, year after year. Dirt and dust. Hot and humid.

And oh, the lovely smell of fresh cut grass. And the beauty of the yard with a fresh hair-cut. Thank you, Johnny!