Next week, it will officially be summer. At least, that’s what the calendar says, because it has been plenty hot enough for me already!
And summertime means hot weather, hot dogs, lemonade, and a lot of mowing the yard. As a certified veteran lawn mowing laborer myself since the age of 12, it just isn’t summer without my weekly battle trying to get my Honda HRX217 mower (rated #1 by a certain well-respected national consumer publication) to actually start.
Mowing is, by nature, going to be hot work. It helps if your trusty mowing machine will cooperate and start on the first five or ten pulls.
Nope. Not mine.
After the predecessor Honda mower lasted an impressive 24 years, this youthful 5-year old mower has been harder to start than a 45-year old major league pitcher.
Over the past two years, it has averaged well over forty pulls to get my ornery red and gray machine to start. Starting the 2018 mowing season, I set a new personal record. It took 124 pulls before this cantankerous machine would finally start!
After waiting for a month for an authorized dealer to tell me that the carburetor was faulty (no kidding!), I opted not to pay someone else to mow my yard in the interim. I am notoriously thrifty (OK, I am cheap) to pay someone to have my yard mowed!
Plus, I firmly believe that mowing the lawn is one of the cheapest and effective forms of mental therapy available for men and women. You must concentrate on the task at hand and can shelve all of the other problems in your life for an hour or so while you are outside sweating and grooming the lawn.
Instead of paying someone else to mow my yard, I purchased a $99 reel mower from a local big box home improvements store. Yep, that’s the same kind of product that your grandpa used before someone invented the gasoline and, more recently, electric mower.
Talk about a great workout! One hour and 45 minutes of copious sweating later, the yard looks pretty darn good while my neighbors have been walking by and laughing at the old guy with the retro mower.
I was feeling sorry for myself recently until I read the story about a young man named Rodney Smith from Huntsville, Alabama, whose mission is to mow a yard in each of the fifty United States!
Now this guy must really love mowing yards to want to do something like this, right?
“In 2016, I saw a man mowing his lawn, struggling. So I got out of my car and helped him,” Smith told CBS News.
Smith, who was finishing-up his undergraduate degree in Computer Science at the time, started mowing yards for the elderly and needy around Huntsville when he wasn’t in classes.
Ultimately, he decided to enlist other young people in the region to help, too. He now has up to sixty local young men and women helping the veterans, the disabled, the elderly, single moms and anyone who needs help doing yard work. They mow people’s lawns, shovel show, rake leaves and more — free of charge.
Why stop at Huntsville, Alabama?
Rodney Smith founded a nonprofit called “Raising Men Lawn Care Service”. With so much good being done in northern Alabama, why not take this idea nationwide?
So, Smith decided to put his mower where his mouth is and has mowed grass for someone in need in all fifty states! The publicity of his 50 states of good deed doing will certainly bring more positive attention to enlist other volunteers to step forward and give their time and mowing talents to a worthy cause.
Rodney Smith’s group now has its own web site at http://weareraisingmen.com and is now up to 137 young people across the US. These young mowers must pledge to mow 50 yards for people in need within their communities.
What a terrific service and opportunity for young people to help and interact with other people in need!
On behalf of the millions of lawn mowers here in America, we salute the good heart and great ideas of Rodney Smith, a true modern day version of Johnny Appleseed.
Or is that Samuel St. Augustine or Bobby Bermuda?