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Sunday, April 8, 2007

Christ is risen -- do not attempt to buy a lawn mower

Many years ago, the Mrs. and I purchased a house down in the Buckman neighborhood of Portland. The man we bought it from had landscaped it to perfection, and this was the first garden that the two of us would take care of together. The house, which was on a corner lot, sat up about a full story from street level, and the front and side yards sloped steeply down to the sidewalk. Most of the ground was covered with lovely grass.

We closed on the house in late January, at which time the lawn was short and neat. But as spring arrived, it began to grow -- rapidly -- and not only was I too busy with other new-house chores, but I also didn't have a mower to cut it with.

Easter fell in early April that year, and by that time the jungle outside had grown so dense that it cried out for attention. Being that I was a hopelessly lapsed Catholic at that point, and there were no children around, Easter didn't mean much to us. It was just another Sunday, and the weather was decent enough that it presented an opportunity to get hacking on that knee-high grass. I figured that it was an ideal day to run out and buy a lawn mower. The stores would be relatively empty, since all of the Western Christians would be busy with their ham or lamb or roast whatever all afternoon long. And so off we set.

I was looking for a push mower, for a number of reasons. I liked the idea of not burning gasoline to do yard work. I also enjoyed getting a bit of a workout while I was sprucing up the grounds. Most importantly, that steep slope on which the grass was growing looked downright treacherous. I surmised (quite correctly, as it turned out) that sooner or later I would fall on my butt while cutting that lawn. And if I wound up being run over by my own mower, I predicted that a manual model would do a lot less damage to my body than one with a running motor driving the whirring blades.

I don't know what I was thinking, but as we pulled up in front of one closed hardware store after another, I was starkly reminded that Easter is not just another Sunday. People take the day off. Stores close. As I recall, we couldn't even get a mower at the Fred Meyer store, which I had originally been trying to avoid. Either the garden section wasn't open because of the holiday, or they didn't have a decent push mower, I forget which.

And so after a couple of hours of hunting around, I was mower-less. It was clear that I would have to delay my purchase by at least a day. We returned home to our embarrassing grass, and I sat and sulked about it. Christmas has its Scrooge and Grinch; that day, Easter had me. "What about Jewish people?" I complained, bitterly. "They have grass."

It's more than a decade later now. We're in a different house, with no big slope. We take the kids to church on Easter. We hire a guy to cut the grass.

But some things don't change. I wouldn't be surprised if you still can't buy a lawn mower on Easter. My advice is, don't try.

Comments (10)

I am willing to bet that your lawn-mower shopping trip happened pre-Home Depot? They are probably open for business today. The smartest landscaping decision I ever made was purchasing an electric mower. Now my wife shares (gladly!) in the lawn-mowing chore - something she refused to do with a gas-powered mower. The Lord is risen, indeed!

If you are mowing on steep slopes, wearing the old style spiked golf shoes is a (God send).
And if your wife wants to do it you could suggest she wear stiletto heels.
Not as effective, but fun to watch.

Oh, I had the golf shoes. But I still landed on my derriere, quite a few times. The young guy across the street used to set up a lawn chair and watch me out there just for cruel laughs. The mower never landed on me, fortunately.

I liked the idea of not burning gasoline to do yard work.



While out for a post-Church drive today, I noted:
1. Fred Meyer: OPEN
2. Home Depot: OPEN
3. Wal-Mart: CLOSED
4. Target: CLOSED
5. Bi-Mart: CLOSED

___ora et labora___

ps: I opted for an electric mower a about 3 years ago and I love it. No more frustration over a gasoline motor that won't start!


Nah -- just cheap. And a klutz.

I have an idea, since downtown businesses are always griping about the state of downtown. How about, when the malls and 90% of everything else, shuts down for days like Easter, all of you stay open. People would have no choice but to come down there to get stuff done.

Good idea, b!x

Some comments may have been lost (at least temporarily) due to a server failure on April 14, 2007.

I was looking for a push mower, for a number of reasons.

Yesterday I walked by a push mower that was put out on the sidewalk with a "free" sign on it. It looked like it had been hauled out of a basement after being stashed and forgotten for 30 years, and definitely needed some work to make it serviceable. But this made me curious; I Googled "manual push mower" and got quite a few hits of outfits that will still sell you one - sorry, Randy.

Posted by john rettig | April 8, 2007 8:34 PM

"sorry, Randy."

No need to be sorry. I've used a push mower for years.

If you want the best made (much easier to push than the one you saved from the basement) and want to buy local,

Al's Lawn Mower Sales & Service
(503) 771-7202
8828 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97266

Posted by Randy Leonard | April 8, 2007 10:27 PM

Craigs list. Free or less than $40.

Posted by midgetmono | April 9, 2007 2:45 AM

I can easily relate to your past experience of trying to shop on Easter. More than a decade ago I made the mistake of driving from my home in Tualatin to the Washington Square Mall only to "discover" the entire mall was closed tighter than a drum. I thought that was pretty odd considering EVERYTHING IN CALIFORNIA IS OPEN ON EASTER SUNDAY!

Posted by Dave A. | April 9, 2007 12:33 PM

I needed one 2" x 1 1/2" PVC coupling to finish a sink installation. We went to Home Despot and Lowes, which both closed early for the evening (the Tigard Lowes didn't even bother to post the early closing hours). A-Boy never opened and Freddy's didn't have what I needed.

Isn't this city big enough for a 24 hour plumbing supercenter? So much for civilization.

Posted by Mister Tee | April 9, 2007 10:26 PM

**Craigs list. Free or less than $40.**

Now we know that you have never used a push mower.

Posted by lisaloving | April 10, 2007 8:30 AM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]

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