It is Spring.
The grass is growing about a foot a day in celebration of seeing the sun after a month of rain and whilst I appreciate its greenery and the spontaneous effort that requires no encouragement on my part, I find myself musing on the Good Old Days.
In my youth at this point a magic elf in the form of a Lawn Kid would appear at the door and offer his/her Lawn Mowing Services. Admittedly our San Francisco back yard ‘lawn’ was like 30 square feet, or the size of a large postage stamp…but having an enthusiastic youngster over for mowing solved any potential lawn problems.
‘Cept the obvious: as the Girl in Residence, I heartily resented my possible supplemental allowance being taken away by a total stranger; even if they did look like a Lawn Elf.
So each year it was a race: would Girl in Residence be able to struggle the mower out of the garage and produce a hasty crew cut before Neighbor Kid made his/her appearance to take over the job and earn the loot?
1. Girl in Residence was into Topiary, so Lawn Mowing became an artistic endeavor where at ground-level the grass lengths APPEARED haphazard, but from the bedroom window above, the smiley Lawnface was more than evident.
2. Girl in Residence understood the basic mechanics of raising and lowering the lawn bar and believed that taller grass actually looked better. It took Dad months to figger out why the freshly mowed lawn still sported over a foot of grass.
3. Girl in Residence, in an effort at Job Preservation, would periodically plot to undermine Lawn Elf by carving out big grassy holes then hiding them with grass – so Lawn Elf tended to be chugging happily along when – bippityboppityboo – he’d fall into a hitherto-unknown near-cavern “the gophers must have dug” (note: NOBODY ELSE in the neighborhood had gophers, which admittedly made the entire event just a TAD suspicious to too-savvy Parental Units).
Nowadaze there are NO Lawn Elfs working for .50 largess.
Instead there are Gardeners and Landscapers who work for, oh, $15/hour, who periodically request Refreshing Beverages, who quickly call for Workmans Comp when their toe gets stuck in a 2-inch gopher hole, and won’t mow da lawn unless one provides extensive additional gardening duties to cover at least several workdays, such as pruning, planting and weeding.
The $1.00 largess spent on The Lawn of my youth coupled with a friendly (if gullible) Lawn Boy saving up for his Schwinn thus has over the decades been totally corrupted by the greedy specter of the Adult Gardener or Landscaper saving up for his Porsche.
And what has happened to Lawn Boy?
Oh, he’s still around. He’s in the Video Arcade deeply involved in a Halo fight to the death, or texting on his ayephone, or pestering his parents for an allowance raise.
It is Spring. And my neighbors tell me their Gardeners and Landscapers this year won’t work for any less than $20 an hour, to include pruning every tree on the property, planting, weeding, and while they’re out there, redoing the house siding.
I figger THIS year, at this rate, it’ll take me 4 months to properly mow the lawn.
And, where is my Lawn Elf?