I’d put it off all Summer and here I was, leaning hard toward Fall, knowing I couldn’t delay any longer.
The stepping stones in Mom’s front yard were overgrown by grass – so much so that most of them could hardly be seen.
Placed there more years ago than I can remember, they had settled into the ground until they were an inch or more below ground level. The grass grew right over the top of them.
The mower couldn’t remove it. A weed-eater was needed.
I had one – a brand, spanking new one. Never used. Still shiny and clean. I’d bought it a couple of years ago and never used it.
Why? Well…I was afraid of it. Have you ever been whipped by a weed-eater’s string? It hurts – leaves a bruise and can cut through your skin.
Yes, it can. I know it can.
Did you know weed-eaters throw rocks? Rocks hurt when they smack into your shin going a million miles an hour.
And, if there’s something hiding in the grass, weed-eaters can find it and fling it with amazing accuracy.
I know better than to use a weed-eater while wearing shorts and flip-flops. (Some lessons I learn the first time – this was one.)
The thought of wearing long pants in 90+ weather (with as much humidity) while lugging that heavy weed-eater around the yard under the blazing sun tuckered me out and prompted me to procrastinate.
It didn’t bother me if the yard looked a little fuzzy around the edges and the stepping stones didn’t show. But, it bothered Mom.
So, yesterday, I lugged my brand new weed-eater down to her house and announced my intent. I received the expected warnings and also a piece of advice.
“Don’t look at the bottom of the weed-eater. It will slap you in the face!”
I asked Mom how that bit of advice came about and she said, “Your Daddy did, and it started up somehow, and the string caught him in the face.”
Right then and there I determined that I would unplug the thing if I needed to look at its bottom. I sure didn’t want to get slapped.
With the extension cord plugged in, I took the weed-eater into the back yard and as far from where Mom sat on the patio as I could get. I didn’t want my first attempt with the trimmer to be met with scrutiny.
I’d not had my finger on the trigger long enough for the string to make more than five revolutions when the end of the string broke off and slammed into my bare shin.
Yes. I was wearing shorts. (Ok, so maybe I didn’t learn the lesson as well as I thought.) No, I did not have on flip-flops. I had on my old ugly work shoes.
I looked down to see a red blood blister rising and a red streak swelling. It stung and if I’d been a child, I would have sat down and cried.
Twice more I felt the sting and watched the welts rise.
When the weed-eater threw one of those million mile an hour rocks and connected with my ankle bone I called it quits. The backyard was done. The front yard could wait – forever as far as I was concerned.
As I approached Mom with weed-eater in hand, Mom asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. I’m finished with the backyard,” I lied.
“Are you going to do the front yard now?” she asked.
“After I get back from my house. I’m going to put on a pair of jeans before I trim anymore. This thing is tearing my legs to pieces,” I said.
Mom paused, looked me up and down, and then said, “Why don’t you wear a pair of your daddy’s jeans? They’re hanging right there in the washroom.”
“Wear Daddy’s jeans? I can’t wear Daddy’s jeans!” I stammered.
“And, why not? He won’t care. It’s not like he’s going to need them,” she offered.
“They won’t fit me,” I argued.
“You won’t know until you try. Just go get a pair and see,” she said.
So, I did.
With shorts still on, I slipped my shoes into the legs of the pants and pulled them up. The waist was several inches too big (gratefully), but they were the right length. And, I discovered to my delight that when I released my hold on the jeans, they simply settled lower and rested loosely on my hips – I wouldn’t need a belt or the suspenders Mom offered.
And so with shirt tucked into shorts and shorts tucked into Daddy’s jeans, I grabbed the weed-eater and headed out to get ‘er done.
I’ll admit – I felt a lot safer in Daddy’s jeans than I did when my legs had no protection at all. No longer timid, I waded into whatever area I was trimming and dared the string to do its worst.
Daddy’s jeans, like Superman’s cape, would protect me from harm.