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John Eggers: What is summer’s best activity?

I know of a summer activity that will do all of the following for you:

A. Give you a deep sense of satisfaction.

B. Raise your self-esteem.

C. Help you appreciate the value of hard work.

D. Give you a feeling of closure.

E. Yes, it can even give kids a way to pay for their college education.

F. Instill pride.

G. Give your neighbors a reason to appreciate you.

I. Keep kids off of the streets.

Can you guess what it is?

It’s not camping. It’s not swimming. It’s not going to the county fair. It’s not gardening, traveling, or picking blueberries. No, not even fishing. All of these are good but they just don’t come close to mowing the lawn.

They say a perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, the fish are biting and the lawn mower is broken. I totally disagree.

God gave us lawns so we would always have something to do that would make us feel satisfied. He gave us lawns so we could appreciate the value of completing a project. He gave us lawns so we always have something fun to do after we get home from work.

Don’t you feel good after you finish mowing your lawn? Don’t you say, “I’m sure glad the lawn is done?” Doesn’t that have a nice ring to it? Now you can say, “Now I can have that glass of beer or lemonade.”

I suppose I take pride in mowing our lawn because my father took pride in mowing his lawn. This will be the first year that he has not personally mowed his lawn and I know he misses it. Letting your lawn in the hands of an outsider is like eating a box of chocolates. In the words of Forrest Gump, “You just never know what you are going to get.”

My father seldom let me mow the lawn because I could never meet his standards. My father wanted to save his lawn for himself. I was paid two dollars to mow my neighbor’s lawn.

My kids mowed our lawn occasionally but they could never meet my standards, which meant that I got the pleasure of mowing it. I am not so particular as I used to be but I still feel very satisfied when it is done.

Mowing the lawn is an emotional experience. You have the smell of fresh cut grass. You have the visual effect when the lawn is all done and every tall blade of grass is now cut down to size. You have the joy of fulfillment and accomplishment. Really, mowing the lawn is very therapeutic.

Can you picture this situation? A person goes into the counselor’s office and after visiting with the counselor for about an hour, the counselor says, “OK, here’s what you need to do.”

The counselor writes down an address on a piece of paper and hands it to the client.

The client says, “What’s this?”

The counselor responds, “That’s an address of someone’s home who needs their lawn mowed. I want you to mow it at least three times between now and when we meet again. After each time, I want you to write how you feel. We’ll talk about it next time we meet.”

Some people believe husbands are like lawn mowers. Do you know why?

They are difficult to get started, and then they don’t work half the time.

There could be some truth to that. I regret that I have a lawn tractor. The sense of satisfaction is there but there also is a sense of frustration when it doesn’t start. I get all psyched up to mow the lawn. I can see the finished product in my mind and then I go to start the mower and nothing happens.

I change the battery, change the spark plug, and kick the tires and still nothing. My day is shot. There goes my therapy session, my sense of fulfillment.

My father was smarter and used the old push mower when he first started mowing.

There were actually people who made their living by sharpening lawn mower blades.

 Mowing the lawn was my father’s weekly fitness program.

Using those hard to push mowers gave my father double pleasure. Maybe that’s the reason why he is still around to tell about it.

I have a riding mower and I trim with a self-propelled push mower. It takes me a couple of hours and then I am ready for a cold beer.

I don’t believe life can get much better than sitting on your deck,  looking at your freshly mowed lawn while sipping a cold one.

I just finished mowing my lawn. I feel good. I hope it will be a long time before I let someone touch my lawn. I know you feel the same way. Why miss out on summer’s best activity?

JOHN R. EGGERS of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.