Basil is in mourning. The lawn mower died today.
Yes, you read that correctly.
It was an occasion that required several text-messages to me at work and an immediate trip to the hardware store. Alas, no proper replacement could be found in the short bit of time he had today, but trust me, he’s a man on a mission.
Because this man — who wouldn’t pick up his own underwear if I didn’t hound him, who prefers to step over piles of shoes and various other things — is in love with the yardwork. Every weekend from spring to fall you’ll find him, shirtless, pushing the mower, making “lines” worthy of a Major League ballfield.
One week they are straight, the next they are on the bias. Always flawless.
Our former neighbors’ son used to parade around his own lawn, shirtless, pushing his toy mower so he could be like Mr. Basil and then yell over the fence to make sure Basil was wearing sunscreen (sorry, James, Mr. Basil never does unless I chase him around with it).
Basil is one of a very few folks on our street who doesn’t pay a lawn service for this chore, and it shows. The yard is beautifully manicured, inviting visitors to remove their shoes and run like they did on the warm summer nights of their youth.
Basil always finishes the yard work by making a big show of standing across the street — lit cigarette in hand — to admire his work. (And Catherine thinks I am the embarrassing one!)
The deceased mower is not our first. When we bought the house 13 years ago, the former owner left his for us. For a long time, we joked that we bought an expensive lawn mower and got the house thrown into the deal. But the lawn appliance didn’t pass muster. It lacked horsepower. Its blade might as well have been a butter knife. As soon as the budget allowed, Basil was in Sears replacing it.
Over the years, it has acquired siblings — two leaf blowers that hang from the garage ceiling; the electric trimmer, or as Basil calls it, the Grass O Matic; and a lawn vacuum (for the man who doesn’t use the actual vacuum in the house) that both sucks and mulches, working overtime year-round so Basil doesn’t have to actually touch a rake.
I know he wishes our yard was bigger so he could have a riding mower, or one of the ones he can stand on.
Meanwhile, thanks to the endless rain, our lush lawn is growing like weeds.
Heaven only knows what kind of shiny new, gas-powered lovely will make its appearance in our garage tomorrow.
I figure he shouldn’t be the only one to get a treat, though. DSW, here I come.