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Daze of My Life: Not The Same Old Saw

Daze of My Life
Not The Same Old Saw

Oh how I love the sound of chain saws in the late morning and early afternoon, especially when someone other than me is using them, and said person is clearing brush, branches, fallen trees and eyesores galore, that have accumulated across my property ("Belly Acres," as I call it).
More so the pleasure that the work is being traded (meaning for free) for services rendered, or in my case, space provided, space that William, my newly, self-employed, landscape/yard maintenance man is using to park his work trailer at the end of every day and over weekends and holidays (William lives in an apartment and there's no extra parking space available for such vehicles). My property doesn't provide any cover for his machinery, but it does provide safety and convenience - for free. And so here I sit, listening to William and his cousin clean up a mess that nature and my apathy has allowed to pile up.
Besides, who am I kidding anyway, what do I know about lawn care and tree maintenance? Growing up in the suburbs in Newton Centre, Ma. (seven miles outside of Boston), such tasks didn't really apply. Moreover, as lifelong renters; mowing lawn, seeding grass, mulching trees and flower beds, pruning bushes, trimming branches, and using power tools to maintain the natural order - and appearance - of things was not my/our responsibility, nor was it a hobby or avocation; it was a necessary evil that fortunately was not my concern. My only household-type concern was taking out the trash from behind our garage and dragging it, in those old metal barrels with the extremely thin handles, 50 yards or so to the street twice a week; that was it! I had no other hands-on property maintenance-type jobs/chores.
And so, my orientation, my experience, my interests, lay not in such endeavors. Nor was I much interested in studying such subject matter; watching or listening to programs on television or radio concerning it, reading about it or even communing in it when those outside-the-house camping activities presented themselves. Rare though they were, living so close to Boston, when they did occur, I just didn't take to them. I'd rather be throwing a ball, or watching a ball game somewhere, live or in-person, instead of sleeping under the stars or portaging a canoe through mosquito-infested muck and mire. I never saw the adventure in it, only the inconvenience, in spite of the encouragement I might have received.
But encouragement for lawn, tree and property-type maintenance I was never given since, it really wasn't my - or my parent's - responsibility. We rented, we didn't own; as such, we didn't have to maintain, at least outside the house. Inside the house we most certainly maintained, particularly, almost exclusively, by my mother, which had as much to do with her husband and two sons as it had to do with her living space.
And so, as little as I had to do outside the house, believe it or not, I had even less to do inside the house. So even though I may not know - or care to know - how to take care of my house (inside or out) I do know how to take care of myself and my loved ones (pets included) and for that I am grateful to my parents.
That's not to say that I couldn't have been taught both, it's more to say that I learned the lessons that I was taught - and there were no lessons on yard maintenance and/or the use of power tools. I may not be better off because of it, but neither do I think I'm worse off, just different and often, rather helpless, too.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.

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