Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Saturday, March 23, 2013

Of Mowers and Guardian Angels



Me and everyone on the ranch who was smarter than me (except Dad who was taking the picture. . .)

I made it! I was nine! I could do anything!
I was supergirl!
As you may have guessed, nine years old was an important time in my family.
The time when one was moved up to the next level of responsibility.
Now I could do all of the cool things that my older brothers and sister could do. Things I'd been waiting years to do.
Wonderful 'adult' things like . . . mowing the lawn.
Odd, isn't it, how exciting and attractive something looks when someone else is doing it?
And how . . . not-exciting and not-attractive it is when suddenly, it is your responsibility?
By the second time, the thrill of mowing our acres and acres of lawn had begun to pall, somewhat.
In fact, I hated it.
Maybe if there were such a thing as a riding mower, I could have retained my enthusiasm . . .
But the fact was that we only had a small, electric mower. And you had to push that little cretin every square foot of the way.
Oh, and watch out for the cord, but I am getting ahead of myself.
My instructions were very specific. Always start at or near the plug-in. Then work away from it in rows.
And rows and rows and rows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sorry! Got caught up in the memory . . .
Needless to say, my mind didn't stay focused on what I was doing.
In fact, it rather wandered . . . a bit.
One bright, sunny summer afternoon, when my horse and I could have been a small dot on the horizon, I was, once more, pushing that wretched mower.
But it wasn't all bad. Part of me was off riding . . .
Suddenly, I was rudely made aware of just why we are supposed to keep our minds at least in the vicinity of what we are doing.
The mower . . . quit.
Just like that.
Dead.
There were some telltale sparks in the lawn, if one cared to look, but other than that, the stupid thing had just suddenly become lifeless.
I narrowed my eyes and began my investigation.
Aha! A cord. That just . . . ended. Snapped off as though it had been . . . cut. I searched around for the other end.
There it was! Lying in the grass!
Now how do you suppose . . .
The truth hit me like one of Dad's yearling bulls.
I had done the unspeakable. The unpardonable.
I HAD MOWED THE CORD.
Soon, if Dad found out, I was going to be as dead as this mower.
I had to fix it.
I grabbed the two ends. Maybe if I just put them back together, they will magically join . . .
I sometimes wonder just how many guardian angels I wore out during my growing up years on the ranch. I think I went through them at an alarming rate.
But they were good at what they did.
There was an enormous explosion and a First-of-July amount of sparklers.
I dropped those two ends like they were hot . . .
Which they probably were.
. . . and headed for my dad.
He just shook his head and followed me to the scene of the crime. Then he unplugged the live end of the cord (funny that I didn't think of that) and with a few quick strokes and some electrician's tape, mended everything.
Good as new.
I sat there in the unmown grass and watched him work.
He got to his feet. "Okay, Diane, back to work. And watch the cord a bit more carefully."
I stared up at him.
After that traumatic experience he was going to make me get 'back on the horse'? (Something I would loved to have done, in reality.)
He smiled and turned away.
He was! He actually meant for me to start mowing again!
I looked at the couple of swaths I had completed.
Then at the millions of swaths left to do.
I reached out and tentatively flipped the switch. My trusty little cohort hummed into life.
Sigh.
I started pushing.
Okay. Careful of the cord. Always keep it between you and the plug-in. Be watchful. Be wary . . .
I know what I will do the next time I go riding! Topper and me will . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
And yet another guardian angel sighs as he is called into service.

5 comments:

  1. I never clipped the cord. It was usually a gnawed bone, or a dried-up/chewed-up piece of placenta, or doggie-do, all hidden in the taller regions where I wouldn't find it until too late... Ever wonder why I have no use for dogs?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you were meant to survive until you had kids of your own, so that THEY could then try to one-up you!

    I can't think of anything worse than when I was jumping over the tennis net...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Greate piеcеѕ. Keep ρosting such kind of infο on your page.

    Im really impreѕsed by it.
    Τhаnkѕ for sharing yοur thoughts
    about аdvicеr. Regaгds

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    ReplyDelete
  4. "an enormous explosion and a first of July amount of sparklers"
    Wow. Your guardian angels must have all been on overtime from the moment you first began to walk.

    The one time we had an electric mower, mu husband refused to let me use it, in case I cut the cord and somehow electrocuted myself. Fine with me. I preferred the old push mower with the spinning blades anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I believe you're right about those guardian angels. What were you thinking?!! Holy hannah, girl!

    I must say it doesn't seem to have affected your mental abilities (your stories are wonderful) and it sure gave you good material for writing (your stories are wonderful) :)

    ReplyDelete

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