That, i was to learn later, was called capitalism. While i was finishing up that lawn the next neighbor up the block came by and said: How much to mow my lawn? Another job, just like that. I poked around in our garage and found an old three-gallon gas can. I walked to the station on the corner, bought gas, brought it back, filled the tank and mowed the second guy's yard. And while i was doing that a third man came and asked me to mow his lawn.
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I stopped in front of him, pulled the throttle back and killed the engine. The sudden silence was almost deafening. I stood up away from the mower, my ears appraisal humming, so i could hear him. And that was how it started. When it all began, it was simple. Our neighbor's house had a larger yard than ours, with what looked like good grass. No difficult corners, just a big square with a large elm tree in the center. I mowed it, and he gave me money. Figuring that i used almost all the gas in the tank, about a gallon, which cost three dollars, and not counting the wear and tear on the mower (I didn't know how to figure that out i made seventeen dollars for my work. It took two hours so i made eight dollars and fifty cents an hour.
I moved the throttle to the rabbit position—it had been on turtle—and pushed the left pedal down, and the blade started whirring. The mower seemed to give a happy leap forward off the sidewalk and I was mowing the lawn. As I said, we didn't really have much of a lawn. Dust and bits of dead grass flew everywhere and until I figured out the steering, the mailbox, my mother's flowers near the front apple step and a small bush were in danger. But in a few minutes I got control of the thing and I sheared off what little grass there was. The front lawn didn't take long, but before i was done the next-door neighbor came to the fence, attracted by the dust cloud. He waved me over.
Like i was supposed to be there and so was the mower. The two. Like it was a friend. So all right, i know how that sounds too: we'll sit supermarket under a tree and talk to each other. Read poems about mowing. But the feeling was there. Next I found myself sitting on the mower, my feet on the pedals.
This strange thing happened. It spoke. I'm not one of those woo-woo people or a wack job. At least I don't think i was. Maybe i am now. Anyway, there was some message that came from the mower through the air and into my brain. A kind of warm, or maybe a settled feeling.
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The other lever said on-off. Nothing happened, of course. On the very top of the motor was a starting pull-rope. What the heck, why not? I gave it a jerk and the motor sputtered a little, popped once, then died. I pulled the rope again and the motor hesitated, popped, and then roared to life. Once when I was little, my grandmother, in her usual logic-defying fashion, answered my request for another cookie by saying that my grandfather had been a tinkerer.
He was always puttering with things, taking them apart, putting them back writing together. When he was around nothing ever broke. Nothing ever dared to break. Loud as the mower was, it still wasn't moving and the blade wasn't going around. I stood looking down.
Very old, low, small. It looked like it only cut about a two-foot-wide area, and it was nothing like the fancy new machines. The seat was steel, without a pad, and the driver's feet went over the top of the motor to rest on two foot pedals. One was a brake, the other a clutch that you had to push down to get the mower moving. It steered with two levers, like a very small bulldozer, and looked more like a toy than a mower. Since i was twelve, i didn't have much experience with motors.
I've never even had a dirt bike or four-wheeler. I'm just not machine oriented. My birthday present sat there. I tried pushing it toward our garage, but it didn't seem to want to move. Even turning around to put my back against it and push with my legs—which I thought might give me better leverage—didn't help; it still sat there. So i studied. On the left side of the motor was a small gas tank, and i unscrewed the top and looked. On top of the tank were two levers; the first was next to pictures of a rabbit and a turtle. Even though I'm not good with machines, i figured out that was the throttle and the pictures meant fast and slow.
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Csi since it's on Thursday too. Did you know that? And she drove away pdf before i could answer her, much less wait for the part where it made sense. It appears you now have a lawn mower, my father said, smiling, as he walked back into the house. I don't know the connection with her bridge club either, although I'm sure there is one. She's your mom's mother, maybe your mom will know what that meant. I looked first at the mower.
I thought you might like. Though we lived on the edge of what was termed an upper-middle-class neighborhood— Eden Prairie, minnesota—our house was small, a fixer-upper when my folks bought it four years ago. It had a yard the size of a postage stamp and green the grass never seemed to grow enough to need mowing. It just sprouted, stopped, gave up and died. My father and I lifted the mower down from the truck bed. I looked at Grandma. My bridge club is meeting on Thursday night, she said, getting back into her truck, which makes it hard to watch.
a screw came loose. Then you find out that the last time the yankees won the world Series she made a stew and forgot to put carrots in, and blamed the yankees (she'd never liked them anyway) when the stew tasted funny. She still doesn't like the yankees. It all makes sense if you wait long enough, she says. So when I turned twelve she came to the house with an old riding mower in the back of her toyota pickup. Happy birthday, she said. It used to belong to your grandfather. He was always working.
This was one of those times so we were a little bit broke. Mom and I have essay learned not to ask too many questions about what he's doing because if we do, he wants to use us as guinea pigs and we learned our lesson during what we now refer to as the voice-Activated door Incident. Dad swears Mom's nose is as cute as ever and I don't notice anything different about it, but she still touches it gingerly when he starts talking about some big new idea he's got going. The next minute, it seems, i've got a business of my own, with employees, and I'm rich. It all began at nine in the morning on my twelfth birthday when my grandmother gave me an old riding lawn mower. My grandmother is the kind of person who always thinks that no matter how bad things might seem, everything will always come out all right. Her hair could be on fire and she'd probably say, well, at least we have light to read. She's the most positive person in the world, and amazing and fun to be around, but in a strange and happy way sometimes she seems to be about nine bricks shy of a full load.
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With all gratitude to Britten Walker. I don't have a clue how all this will end. There are people now who say i'm some kind of wonderboy or that i pdf know some secret and that I had this big hairy plan. One minute i was twelve years old and wondering where i could get enough money for an inner tube for my old used ten-speed. I didn't have any money and my parents didn't have much either. My mom is a teacher in an experimental school and my dad's an inventor. Sometimes it takes a long time to work out a new idea.