"Nothing like it in modern history."
"A truly remarkable event!"
Am I quoting references to the total solar eclipse we'll experience today across the United States of America?
No! Something much more unbelievable!
These are statements made after it was learned that on Saturday, Aug. 18th, in the year of Our Lord 2017, all by herself, one Sharon L. Hawley.......... ............MOWED HER ENTIRE 1/2 ACRE YARD!!
(Yes, I hear your gasps of disbelief and wonder. Stunning news, right?!)
Frank was totally shocked. He's pretty particular about our yard. (Actually, that's an understatement. The man claims he can hear the grass growing while we're trying to enjoy our morning coffee on mowing day.)
But this week he was leading a prayer retreat for the men of our board and staff. The grass was already pretty tall and I knew he wouldn't be home in time to get it done AND finish his sermon for Sunday.
So at 10AM Eastern time I made a bold decision in my perky little optimistic unexperienced head. "I'm going to mow the yard for him!'
My thinking process went like this - "I've been driving different vehicles for over 40 years. Driving a riding mower is surely just like driving a car. What could possibly go wrong?"
Ah, famous last words........
First off, I realized I had no idea how to even get the mower out of the garage. If I called one of my sons to get it out they would simply brush me aside and say, "I'll do it, Mom!" But I didn't want to interrupt their Saturday with our yard work.
So I texted our young neighbors across the street for help.
Richard came right over. He backed the mower out expertly and gave me a hand climbing up into the seat. I'm pretty sure he bit his lip tensely when I said, "Thanks! Now, how do I get it started?"
Richard should probably consider a second career in education. His tutorial was patient and thorough. He put his hand behind me just in case I fell off when the mower jerked forward the first time.
He quickly saw I couldn't reach the brake. A rather important element when dealing with a machine designed solely to twirl sharp blades of steel at a high rate of speed. You want to be able to hit the brake!
So Richard helped me off the mower again and adjusted the seat forward. So many moving parts on a riding mower. The brake. The mower deck. The speed control thingy. And one other lever I just didn't touch.
I had no idea!
(And that's what had him a little concerned. He told Nathan later in the day, "I kept going to our front window to check on your mom every few minutes." I think he was relieved when the task was finally finished.)
I donned Frank's wide brimmed hat, some good tennis shoes, proper sunscreen and I was off like lightening. Well, actually more like a turtle because I wanted to get used to what I was doing before I revved the engine to 3 (with 6 being the fastest.)
Several lessons came from my experience:
- Always hit the brake before shifting to a higher speed.
- If you miss a section on this pass, you can always come back again.
- Those straight lines Frank creates so easily - aren't easy!
- Yes, there's a cup holder that works well. However, all the water sloshes out of the cup.
- Look forward, not backward, at all times!
- Lawn ornaments can be shoved aside by big mowers, small trees can not.
- Lawn ornaments can be replaced.
- Mowing in FL is as hot as I suspected.
- Heat stroke is real, occurs quickly and takes a while for recovery.
- Biggest lesson of the day - if you hit a root from an oak tree while traveling at the speed of 3, your mower blades WILL make a horrific noise; the mower WILL jolt to an immediate stop; you may go flying forward and the seat will be wet when you land back on it. Just saying!
Frank had to do a small bit of modifying when he got home. (Mostly straightening the line we share with our neighbor and some edging.) But he let me know he was proud of my efforts and gave me a quick kiss in that "Oh, you're just so cute" kind of way.
So, you guys go ahead and make a big deal out of that once in a 100 years total solar eclipse today. The bigger news on Misty Morning Drive is that SHERI MOWED AND NO ONE WAS HURT!!
Let me leave you with this perfect and timely statement from King David:
"The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky abovea proclaims his handiwork." (Ps. 19:1)