By Jack H. Smith
Whitehall Ledger 

COLUMN: The Sump


August 14, 2019

With the heavy moisture early in the summer I really haven't had to worry too much about watering my grass. While it certainly hasn't needed much additional water, it sure has not had any problems growing. In fact, my lawn has probably grown a half inch since I left the house thing morning.

I certainly have no issue with mowing the lawn, it's some nice exercise outside, but my mower broke so I have somebody come out every two weeks to take care of the grass. I should probably buy a new one, but I think I've mowed an enough grass in my life that someone can take over my duties for a bit.

As a kid I would not say I mowed the lawn often, but every once in a while. Once I became a teenager, I would do the lawn at my house and oftentimes go help my grandparents. I would love to go to my grandparents because it meant great company and tons of snacks, but they had a huge hedge fence and it was a nightmare to cut. The thing reminded me of "The Shining" and it took forever to trim.

Fast forward to a few years later and I was in a bit of a pickle. I was in between newspaper jobs and needed to make money and do it fast. I was young, broke, need a J-O-B. I was able to get a job early in the summer with the city and I was very thankful. On my first day I found out the majority of my days would be spent mowing grass. Most of it was mowing the baseball fields at a larger complex but I also spent time mowing various areas of the golf course. There were a few times a week I brought out a push mower but for a majority of the day I just rode around 6 to 8 hours on a riding mower.

I have to admit it wasn't the most exciting job I could have had, but I appreciated the consistency of the work. I would sit and mow the same baseball fields or same holes on the golf course. Nothing changed that much and at the time I enjoyed that. Go to work at six, mow till about 1:30, then go gas up the mower and clean it. A pretty simple life. Sure, my butt hurt sometimes, but the money wasn't bad, and I was done before it started to get too hot.

Getting off a 2 also meant I had a lot of the day left to misbehave with my friends. I often times would not leave the golf course/recreation area till 9 or 10 p.m. I would spend my time golfing and goofing off with friends. I felt like I lived at the course and I was fine with that.

I remember on one occasion my world got turned upside down when someone called in sick. I was really excited about this particular Friday because my friend was throwing a huge party and a girl, I had been talking to was supposed to show up.

I showed up to work with a big smile but that quickly changed when I was informed my co-worker was sick and I would have to do her job as well. I hurried up and got my mowing done and then had to enter a new world. Sometimes change is good and in this case it was not. I did my best to clean the bathrooms and then was informed I needed to clean the stands. It didn't take me long to pick up people's garbage they were too lazy to throw away and I thought I was done around 3:30 p.m. when my boss told me I needed to also pick up the mess of sunflower seeds. I was irate. If you haven't ever tried to pick up sunflower seeds from four baseball fields, I don't recommend it. It's gross and once they get wet, they do not sweep up as easy as one would think. I seriously don't understand how people are so disgusting with seeds, but they are.

Around 5 p.m. I finally finished and was about to take my mower in when my boss said they would need my help till later in the evening to get the fields in immaculate shape for a huge tournament. NO!!!!! I just wanted to go home, shower, grab a cold one, and get ready for the party.

My friends were understanding and said they would pick me up around 8, right before the party was going to start. I had gotten a ride from my dad that morning, so I was stuck without their help.

I was finally finished for the night and driving my mower to the shop when my friends passed by me on the road and I was so excited. It was a long day of grass and spit covered seeds, but it was almost done. The combination of being a little excited and tired was not a good one. I ended up parking my mower a little too close to a sump that had formed with lawn clippings and various other undesirables. I took one step off, slipped and ended up falling into the mess. It was awful and I smelled. There was grass everywhere. I even swallowed a whole bunch and my face was a weird lime green color. All my friends could think to do was spray me off with a hose and hopefully I would dry by the time we hit the party.

I was still a little soaked when we arrived, but I had finally made it. The girl showed up, and we had a great conversation although she asked why I had grass in both ears.

So maybe I'll buy a mower next year, I think I've still had enough grass for a while.



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