I grew up in that awkward time between reel mowers and power mowers. During my early teen years one of my jobs was keeping our rather large yard mowed. Using an old reel type mower can turn this task into a real chore.
Most people under age 50 have never even seen a reel type mower, much less used one. They are blessed to have power lawn mowers today, and even more blessed if they have a riding mower.
The reel type mower was human powered, of course. The thicker the grass, the more difficult it was to push the mower. It cut grass fairly well, except for the tall weeds. Whenever a weed was encountered the mower just pressed the weed down and rolled right over it. The weed sprang back up to tickle your legs as you walked by.
Around the age of eleven or twelve, I was a regular user of our reel mower on the yard. I always felt that I was somewhat skinny, and needed to gain some weight. I recall that my mother would make me a milkshake with a raw egg in it to drink as I rested from my labors. How I ever drank a raw egg is beyond me now. The drink had a delayed effect as I did not gain weight until about forty years later.
I was very excided the day that my father, Cecil, purchased an electric lawn mower from the Deep East Texas Electric Co-Op. Back in those days, the Co-Op sold all types of appliances, such as stoves, refrigerators, lawn mowers, and window air conditioners. Now mowing was going to be fun.
The mower sounded like a siren as it powered up ready to slay the grass as well as the weeds. No longer did I have to get the weed cutter to take down the tall weeds after I mowed. There was only one problem with this state-of-the-art electric mower – the electric cord. Our yard was so large that it took a couple of extension cords in order to reach the back forty.
For some reason I kept mowing over the cord with the inevitable result, a cut cord. It would seem a simple thing to do to keep the mower off the cord. It apparently was not. After one summer of use the cord had numerous patched cuts. And, the new wore off fairly soon. No longer was it fun to use, it became a chore as well. I used this electric mower all during high school. At some point after I went off to college, my dad purchased a gas powered lawn mower. However, I never did use it much. After all, I was an expert on the old reel mower.
“THE YARD MAN”
BY: NEAL MURPHY
PO BOX 511
107 HEMLOCK STREET
SAN AUGUSTINE, TEXAS 75972