Sunday, September 10, 2006

On Lawns, Hurricanes, and Mowers

We had our lawn mowed today. That might not sound particularly news worthy, but believe me, it is. You see, this is the first time our lawn has been mowed since Katrina.

At first, we were too busy hauling waterlogged possessions out to the curb and ripping out moldy Sheetrock to spare the lawn a thought. I remember reading several years ago that when a hurricane threatens, you should go out and mow your lawn short. At the time, I thought, how silly; with all we have to do, why worry about the lawn? After Katrina, I understood. The thinking is, you see, that if the hurricane actually hits, you won’t have time to mow your lawn. Nor, if the hurricane brings a flood, will you have a lawn mower. (But then, if the flood is really deep, it’ll kill your lawn, so then you wouldn’t have a problem, now would you?)

When we evacuated for Katrina in August, our lawn needed to be mowed. By December, our lawn REALLY needed to be mowed. But then, so did every one else’s on the street. (Except for the doctor who lives across from us. He was out there ten days after Katrina, mowing his lawn, and he has driven down from Baton Rouge every Friday since, just to mow and carefully edge his lawn, although the house is still uninhabitable. I’ve heard his kids are thinking about having him committed.) Anyway, some time before Christmas, Steve went to Home Depot and came back with a new weed eater (the previous one having gone to that great landfill in the sky). We took turns hacking at the Back Forty and the Front Forty (formerly known as the front and backyards), and after a day, had reduced them to about ankle height. We vowed to keep the grass short.

We didn’t.

We got a new lawn mover, but somehow with all the work on the house, the lawn kept getting left to the point that only a weed eater would cut it. Unfortunately, weed eaters are not designed to cut thigh-high Louisiana grass. We burned up not one, not two, but four weed eaters. We would gladly have paid someone to mow our lawn, but all the guys who used to mow lawns around here either lost their equipment in the flood or are working for FEMA earning big bucks. We have been known to chase pickup trucks with lawn mowers in the back down the street, begging them to come mow our lawn. Sometimes they even promised to come give us an estimate. They never do.

But this week, finally, finally, we had success. A young, surprisingly good-looking kid actually came and gave us an estimate, and promised to return over the weekend. We didn’t hold out much hope, but this morning, he showed up. HE CUT OUR LAWN. With a lawn mower. (We hacked at it with our latest weed eater just last week, so that was possible.)

After he left, we just stood and stared at it. Our lawn. Mowed (as opposed to Hacked). It’s amazing the simple things that can give you a thrill in our crazy, post-Katrina world.