Sunday morning, early, I awoke and built a pot of coffee then walked outside for my paper. It was warm and it felt good to be out in the fresh air. The river was as flat as a sheet of glass.
When I turned to walk back inside, the condition of my yard caught my attention. It was a mess. We'd had a few days of strong winds and since I own many trees; several species of oak, a couple of Hickory and pine, the yard was a mess of fallen branches and Spanish moss. The lawn was overgrown and in bad need of a cut. Our property was ugly and it bugged me.
I read my paper, drank a couple cups of coffee then quietly dressed. I slipped past Sweet Wife into the garage grabbed an old wooden basket I use for yard trash and a rake. I cleaned. Thought to myself, 'Well, she hasn't missed me.'
The next part of my plan would be tricky, the mower. First I sharpened the blade. I'm anal-retentive that way. Most people like to beat their grass to death. I like to cut it. Anyhow, afterward, I topped the gas tank, eased the mower out on our driveway and fired it up. Second gear and I was gone.
It felt so good, work. I'd made it about fifteen or twenty feet when I felt a tap on my shoulder. She said, "Stop." I put the mower in idle and waited as she chewed my butt. Glanced around to see if any of my neighbors had walked outside for the show. Me, all embarrassed.
Sweet Wife, "You can't do this, are you nuts. Do you want to drop dead..." Rhetorical. I replied I felt fine, no pain. Please just leave me alone as my manhood was in question. I slip the clutch and tried to escape. I remember thinking how the smell of fresh cut grass always reminds me of watermelon. A second or two later she slapped my arm, and her such a little lady, gone all butch on me.
I shut the mower off. Stood there, ready to fight. Then, I see she has tears. Her face wet. Tracks of moisture, like tiny rivers. "Please," she said. Her hands shook. My resolve broke.
She took the mower and gave it a little shove, as if to bay the demon.
There was little use in my argument. All people have an innate limitation alarm. My body was fine. My strength not limited. I felt like a million bucks, but my darling Georgia Peach was afraid. She was scared to death. We talked as she walked me towards the garage. I held her close and soothed her fears. She repeated, over and over, "What would I do without you..." I shushed her. "But they said...."
"No," I said, "They, are wrong. Nothing hurts."
Still, she cried. I'm as a baby in the presence of tears. She explained she'd called our son and he was on the way to finish my work. My work....
Every man needs to know his limitations. Mine are tears.