Zion's Hill Road This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Everyone was mowing his perfect green lawn behind the old stone walls - the type of yard you see on the Chem Lawn brochure. Because the people on the street could support the local lawn care service, it seems certain that Chem Lawn makes daily trips to my street. I can tell it is Sunday even though I don't have a calendar. Everywhere I look I can see the "Men" mowing the lawns with the sun beating down from above. It is never cool on Sundays in the summer.

Mr. Staley, who lives across the street, is on his red ride-on Wheelhorse, the kind that has the grass and leaf collector attached behind making the mower as long as a truck. I watch how he has to make his turns wide in order not to knock a tree out with the attachment. Mr. Staley is about 60 years old and weighs around 200 pounds. I suspect he's never owned a push mower. (At least not for the last 30 years, anyway.) His yard has many older trees. I haven't noticed any recent additions. He mows for a couple of hours with a glass in hand. It appears to be water. He has an old baseball-type cap that gently rests on the top of his head to protect it from the sun. He also wears some odd-looking sunglasses that take up half of his face. He wears khaki shorts that appear to have once been dress shorts; however, he probably spilled something, and they ended up in his work shorts drawer. He wears an old T-shirt that allows you to see the large crease where his chest ends and his belly starts. When he finishes his lawn, he puts the mower back in his garage and walks down his short driveway across the street to his mailbox to get the Sunday Tribune. Mr. Seifert, his neighbor of 14 years, rides by on his mower, but the two don't seem to notice each other. From afar, they appear to be complete strangers.

Mr. Staley pulls into his garage at 12:00 p.m., as most men and boys on the street begin to finish up their lawns and put their tractors away. There go Mr. Digragorrio and Mr. Quigley. Mr. Seifert and others begin to finish their lawns, depending on the size. Some houses even have a couple of people working on the lawn. Mr. Seifert, for example, always has one of his kids out with the push mower going around the trees and the spots he can't get to with the ride-on mower. He always does the ride-on. I don't think he trusts the kids with it. Mrs. Seifert is out working on her flower gardens making sure that they are watered and that everything is to her satisfaction.

Some of the older ladies, like Mrs. Sortie, for example, have younger boys in the neighborhood do their lawns. Each person has his or her own style for mowing the lawn and leaves behind his or her own symmetrical pattern imprinted in the grass. The path of the mower can be retraced around the lawn by following the lines the mower leaves.

As they finish their works of art, they go into their simple brown, white or blue houses and sit down to an afternoon lunch. Their wives make them a sandwich and pour them a glass of soda. As they pull out their newspapers, they realize that they want chips. They quietly get up and go to "the junk food cupboard" and pull out the chips. They walk back to their seats and sit down with the chips; they begin to read the newspaper and eat their lunches. After they finish, theyget changed into house clothes.

The people who slept late have also just finished lunch and begin to change into their work clothes. They are now going out to spend the afternoon trying to make their lawns look better than their neighbors. Half of the lawns have sprinklers going as the other half are beginning to be mowed. The afternoon crowd has more men using push mowers than the ride-on kind. They still take their time to make sure they don't miss a spot or make uneven patterns. They take pride in their mowing.

As the afternoon crowd works on their lawns, the morning group sits down in armchairs in front of the TV. They have the TV on and a paper in hand as they slowly doze off for an afternoon nap. Around 4:00 p.m. they wake up and realize a baseball game is on the TV. They sit up and begin to watch.

The afternoon mowers have just finished up their lawns and go inside to grab a glass of water and sit down to watch the game on TV. They all have the rest of the afternoon to relax now that their lawns look virtually perfect, although they can see some spots they missed. They think they'll have to remember not to miss them next week.

As the day concludes, the men prepare for work on Monday, and the women with children are busy calling their friends and deciding what to do the next day. The elderly decide if they need to go food shopping the next day. And so the sun sets over Zion's Hill, and the families begin to gather for a late dinner. it's already 7:30 p.m. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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