That Smell

The smell of cut grass heralds summer for me.

When I was a kid, one of my chores was to mow the grass at home and at my grandmother’s house. I remember riding my 10-speed, holding an empty round gas can, to the closest gas station and filling it up with $5 worth of gas and then riding back home. Back then $5 was enough gas for at least two weeks of mowing and probably more.

The mower I used had a primer and a pull start. It rarely started on the first pull, but I never threw my back out trying to start it either. I’d drop a tape into my walkman (probably Motley Crue or Ratt) and start at the end of my driveway.

I mowed the front yard in a diagonal pattern. At the time, I thought this was cool. My brother, when he took over the duties, decided to mow the front yard in a circular pattern starting at the large tree in the front yard. His idea was much cooler. I think our parents were just glad they didn’t have to mow the yard.

One time, my brother was sure I had just mowed over his newly planted marigolds and was crying hysterically. I hadn’t, but I certainly took better care in subsequent mowings. Also, be kind to him as he was probably ten at the time and he picked out and planted them all by himself (with Mom’s help, of course).

Many summers before I was old enough to mow the yard, my Dad lost his wedding ring in the backyard while mowing. I have no clue how this happened, but it disappeared. Several years later, I was unloading the grass catcher and saw a glint of gold in the green. Of course, it was my father’s long lost wedding ring.

Mowing my grandmother’s lawn was always a treat. It took no time at all and I didn’t have to bag the grass.

The best part was after I was finished. I’d come into the house, take my shoes off and she’d tell me to go get a Pepsi from the fridge in the garage. I’d get my Pepsi and she’d have unfrozen a plate of sugar cookies she probably made months ago and leave a $5 bill on the table.

I’d eat the cookies at the kitchen table and just talk with my grandma about school or what was happening in her ever present National Enquirer or Star Magazine. I’d give her a kiss and a hug bye and be on my way.

I miss those days. I miss my grandma. The smell of cut grass brings it all back.