OldArchive / The Way I See It

You Might Be A Redneck If You…


It was a predicament that needed to be resolved.

My lawn tractor was out of service and at the repair shop, but the grass wasn’t taking a break and would soon be at the point where I’d be unable to cut it.

“You’re going to do what?” my wife Nancy said with a huge laugh.

“I’m going to pull our Swisher mower behind my Jeep and mow the lawn,” I replied. Nancy couldn’t stop laughing.

The Swisher is a mower that I usually pull behind my lawn tractor. It doubles the cutting area and cuts mowing time in half.

I realized it might look a bit silly, seeing a Jeep pulling a lawnmower, but hey, I figured it would be worth it if it got the job done.

When I made the first pass by the house, Nancy hollered something but I couldn’t hear her, so she walked up closer to the Jeep. After I heard what she said, I wished I hadn’t stopped. You see, she suddenly turned into Jeff Foxworthy. “You might be a redneck if you use your Jeep to mow your lawn,” she hollered. I rolled up the Jeep’s window and headed on to complete my mission.

That’s about when I began to notice that people driving by my house were slowing down to get a better look. I swear one woman nearly broke her neck when she snapped her head around like it was spring loaded or something.

And then there was the guy in the pickup truck who stopped for a look while holding something out the window. As I got closer I could see that what he was holding looked a lot like a cell phone, and it was pretty clear the guy mowing his lawn with a Jeep would be part of a video. I hunkered down in my seat, hoping the video wouldn’t reveal my identity.

Actually, mowing the lawn from the comfort of my Jeep was quite a pleasant experience. I had the stereo cranking out my favorite playlist on my iPhone, the air conditioner was keeping me comfortable, I had a nice cool beer in the cup holder, and when I rolled up the windows I couldn’t even hear the mower. Let them laugh, I told myself.

I started thinking about all the ways I’ve cut grass over the years. When I was a youngster, we used push mowers. Today people think that a push mower is a power mower that you have to push, but the type I’m talking about is a mower with no motor. My dad’s push mower had metal wheels and hardly made a sound when you cut the grass. He kept the blades sharp and mower well oiled, and it did a pretty good job. When I first started mowing lawns for money as a kid, my dad’s push mower was what I used. I got maybe 50 cents for mowing someone’s lawn or a buck if it was a big yard. Newt Franklin, a retired farmer from Oak Hill who lived with his wife, Harriet, in an apartment at the back of my parents’ house, showed me how to sharpen the mower blades one afternoon. I haven’t done it in years, but I bet I still could.

When I was in high school, I bought a gas-powered rotary mower from the Montgomery Ward catalog. My mother had a charge account with Montgomery Ward, and she allowed me to use her account to buy it on time. I think the mower cost about $50 and I paid it off at something like $5 per month. But my grandmother Keeler refused to let me use the power mower on her lawn. She said some other kid had cut her grass with a rotary mower and left ugly bare spots where the mower had scalped the grass away in several places. So it was back to the push mower when I cut my grandmother’s grass. And there were no Weedeaters in those days, so trimming meant going around with a hand operated clipper or maybe a small sickle to trim the grass in the tight spots. And after the lawn was cut, the job wasn’t complete until you swept all the grass from the sidewalks and other places where it wasn’t supposed to be. Then you could collect your 50 cents.

Speaking of trimming, Nancy is using a small mower to trim around the bushes while I cover the big areas with the Jeep. It’s actually going quite fast, but I’m starting to think the word has started to spread about the guy mowing his lawn with a Jeep because it seems like more cars than usual are slowly driving by my house. Later, I find out that possibly the reason for the increased traffic is because Nancy has posted a video of me on her Facebook page, complete with her Jeff Foxworthy quip.

I’m not sure how much more of this abuse I can take. And even worse, it’s looking like my lawn tractor won’t be repaired before my lawn needs cutting again, so I may have to use the Jeep another time.

I was thinking that maybe I’d charge admission next time I mow, but then I came up with a better idea: I’ll mow my lawn at night when nobody can see me.


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