You walk out the door in a yellowed out undershirt, sun bleached jeans, and loafers too worn to be socially acceptable outside the house.
“You big enough yet?” you ask as you bring up the pin to move the lawn mower seat forward.
Hoping this year would be different, I jumped into the driver's seat and stretched my legs attempting to reach the pedals. No such luck.
No such luck, but the honest to God truth is that
“Maybe I'll be big enough next year” I cheerily say.
“Maybe next year is right!” You laugh.
The sun was high in the sky and beating down on us, the bugs were nipping at any skin visible, and the blades of grass would fly back up and cut at our legs. I bounced on your lap with every hill? and divot and we sang.
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray, you never know dear how much I love you so please don't take my sunshine away.” you sang, off key, nearly shouting to be heard over the roar of the mower.
“I see trees, red roses too. I see them bloom, for me and you. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world! Row row row your boat gently down the stream merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream….”
We sang and sang till the whole lawn was three inches high. From Blue birds and rainbows to spiders climbing up drainpipes.
I can reach the pedals now. We don't sing. I nearly forgot the songs. He still goes out in an undershirt, same worn sun bleached jeans, and sneakers replacing the loafers. When time lines up, I cut the lawn and he cleans the pond. He prunes the bushes, I take out the weeds.
Our jeans and shirts are crusty and stiff with soap from washing the car, now mine. We stop at a local gas station picking up bait to go fishing.
“Go get an ice cream,” you say as you grab some tackle.
Worms and an ice cream sandwich at hand with our fishing poles, we walk across our neighbor’s lawns to get to the pond at the end of the cul-de-sac. I twisted my face for a moment when I realized that my payment for cleaning the car was the ice cream. What a rotten deal, but not too bad, still better than nothing! And an opportunity to get a chocolate chip cookie sandwich is one I wouldn’t ever be willing to pass up.
I watch as you pierce the fat, slimy worms and twist them around the hooks. I split the sandwich for us to share.
A willow tree's branches swayed rhythmically in the breeze, the toads croaked and water rippled as bugs skimmed over the surface. A strong smell of pond muck filled the air, fading when gust of wind came by. The pond was as packed as a pickle jar, the fishes caught onto the hooks as often people come through a kitchen on Thanksgiving day. We tossed them all right back after we admired the catch.
The sun came down and turned the sky into a painting that you would find at the Guggenheim. Reds, oranges, and pinks covered the sky.
You smiled, one filled with a yearning to sleep and heaping with satisfaction. “Today has been the best!” I exclaimed as I saw your expression.
You nodded and laughed “All we need now is dinner!”
We made our way back, steps in sink, poles in hand. The sun getting lower in the sky and cross back through the lawns. We place everything back, and the ice cream wrapper in the trash.
Walking in, Dad grabbed mom and pulled her in for a kiss.
An extended “Iew,” bouncing off the kitchen cabinets.
The two stopped kissing, and they let out a whole hearted laugh.