Posted by: cordy74 | February 18, 2009

Chronicles of Dad 1: Wire and the Perils of Lawn Mowing

Disclaimer:  In no way, shape or form do I intend the posts in this category to imply that my dad is a buffoon, clumsy or accident prone. He is a very intelligent, albeit somewhat deaf, man who just happens to occasionally stand in the wrong place at the worst possible time. Growing up with my dad could sometimes be exciting – perilously so. Several people have enjoyed hearing these stories from time to time. I now feel it is time to bring them to a wider audience.

Growing up on a rural farm in the 1950’s and early 1960’s just does not sound like a lot of fun.  I’m sure there was always work to do and never a lot of time to have any fun.  Well, this is how my dad spent his formative years.  With ten siblings there was still plenty of work to go around and even some teaching responsibilities.

One fine summer day my dad was tasked with teaching one of his sisters the finer points of using a gas-powered push mower.  I can almost picture it now:

Dad shows her how to choke the engine and pull the starter cord by putting one foot on the deck in order to have something to pull against.  There is no safety lever on the handle to hold down on this mower.  Not much in the way of safety features at all.  Probably not even a chute on the deck to direct the cut grass toward the ground.  In fact, if you want the engine on this puppy to stop you either have to pull the boot off the spark plug or ground the exposed end of the plug against the engine with a screwdriver.  Just make sure that screwdriver has a good plastic or rubber handle.  Otherwise you are going to get quite a jolt.

Now that the mower is running Dad starts to show his sister the proper way to push it around the yard.  This includes how to line up the wheels with the grass you have already cut in order to make sure you don’t leave any uncut strips but also so your overlap isn’t too big, ruining your efficiency.

As they start to stroll around the yard it apparently does not occur to either one of them that it might be a little dangerous for Dad to walk on the side of the mower that spits out the cut grass and whatever else the mower happens to pick up and sling out.  That is, it doesn’t occur to either one of them until the inevitable happens.  The mower gets pushed over a strip of wire, picks it up in the blade and slings it out the side of the deck…directly into Dad’s leg.

This piece of wire did not just hit Dad’s leg;  part of it became embedded in his ankle.  At this point I’m sure Dad made some extremely off-color remarks concerning what he was feeling as he made his way into the house.  Once inside Dad’s mom, my Grandma, apparently took a good look at what had happened and made a quick decision.  She grabbed a pair of pliers and proceeded to yank the wire out of Dad’s ankle, most likely eliciting more remarks (probably of a cleaner nature due to the proximity of my Grandma).

Once the offending wire was removed Dad was sent back outside to finish the lesson he had started.  No tetanus shot, no doctor visit, nothing.  Welcome to the rural farm of the late ’50s.condron.us

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