…I wonder where the flowers is.
I don’t know the author of that poem (and can’t find any solid answers online), but my maternal grandfather used to say it. He had a lot of great sayings, most of which aren’t appropriate for wide audiences. He was, shall we say, a character. He had a dog named Biter. When I took my then future husband to meet gramps, Biter kept jumping up on my boyfriend.
“If he jumps up, just hit him with this,” Grandpa said, handing my boyfriend a large empty plastic whiskey bottle.
But this post isn’t about Grandpa. It’s about spring and wandering about Salt Lake City loving all of the things I love about the city and my kids and springtime in the city with my kids.
It was chilly today, but clear and sunny, a nice break in an otherwise rainy week. The kids and I left my husband (long recovered from the shock of being asked to subdue a large dog with a plastic whiskey bottle) to his job search and took a walk to the park. My son rode in the stroller and my daughter rode her walking bike. We took a roundabout route past the mailbox to mail my daughter’s thank-you notes from her fake birthday this weekend, so we got a nice, long walk in.
I loved talking about flowers and singing songs with my daughter and pointing out dogs to my son. As always, the mountains are breathtaking. It never stops giving me a thrill to see the mountains all covered in snow while the valley is all green (for a brief time before the earth is scorched by the summer sun). And I love the smell of the air in the springtime, although my daughter apparently has an acute sense of smell for dog poop because she could smell it everywhere, even when all I could smell were the blossoms on the trees.
I enjoyed hanging out with the friends we met at the park. I enjoyed that my daughter told me calmly and with barely a whiney tone in her voice that she was ready to leave because she was hungry. We all enjoyed petting Maggie the One-Eyed Wonder Dog when we passed her yard on the way home.
I was so thrilled with outdoor life that when we arrived home, I got out the mower and started cutting the grass.
I love our mower. It’s a push-reel mower. You know, the old kind with no motor, powered only by the strength of the person pushing it. With all of the recent rain, our grass was thick and lush and had grown a good six inches since we mowed it less than a week ago. It occurred to me that a scythe might have been a better tool to tackle the grass, but not having a scythe, I grabbed the mower.
The push reel mower does a decent job, but on thick, tall grass, it frequently gets caught up. When it gets stuck like that, I need to wheel it backwards a tad and push it forward in short bursts a half-dozen times to clear the blades and cut all of the grass in that spot before moving on.
Whenever I do this, I think of Homer Simpson at the end of “Dead Putting Society” (from Season Two, at least eight seasons before the show began to head downhill). He and Ned entered into a wager about the miniature golf competition their sons were in. Because the contract was poorly written, both fathers lost the bet and each had to mow the other’s lawn in his wife’s Sunday dress.
Homer’s mower is like ours and the animators have him push-push-pushing the mower when it gets caught up on the grass. I wasn’t wearing a churchy dress (I was wearing jeans and a nursing top with lace on it), but I always picture Homer when I’m mowing.
At one point during the mowing process, three boys came by and stopped and stared at the mower for several minutes. I guessed they were between 12 and 14 years of age. I got the impression they’d never even considered the existence of a person-powered mower. I had just decided to engage them in conversation about it when they continued on their way. Probably just as well; I had a feeling I might have frightened them had I spoken to them.
While mowing the lawn, it became clear to me that the stuffy nose I’ve been cultivating for the past several days is a result of allergies rather than a simmering cold. I came to this conclusion after my nose quickly began draining profusely down my face. (The thought occurred to me that the boys might have been staring in shock at the mucus pouring from my nostrils, but they were clearly looking at the mower and not at all at me.)
I remembered that every time I move somewhere new, I don’t have allergies (or they’re very mild) until the third year. The spring following our three-year anniversary in a region is always when my immune system decides that it’s time to launch a strong and futile counterattack against the local flora. I suppose this is a reason that moving every three years is beneficial for me.
At any rate, it was a wonderful day, snot and watery eyes notwithstanding. I even had a totally tantrum-free flute practice and homeschool session with my daughter, and she didn’t even give me guff when I told her we could only read about one mummy this evening before bed.
“Tomorrow we’ll read about Ankhef, right Mommy?”
“Right, honey. We can read about all the mummies you want to tomorrow.”