Is it work or play?

Published 4:40 am Wednesday, March 7, 2018

White and red clouds of clover intermingle with beautiful green grass on almost any country road in our Southern clime. Azalea blossoms and the grape-like clusters of wisteria usher in the warmer days with their riotous displays of color.

But with the flora also comes the realization that mowing season is upon us. Mowing just seems to be one of those activities that causes a myriad of emotions. I love to mow, but I know several folks who dread it all winter!

This year Mike and I decided to let our lawn service go and purchase a new zero turn. On Friday morning I excitedly waited for my new toy to be delivered. After several hours I remembered an errand that needed taking care of. Wouldn’t you know it? When I left the house for a few minutes it was the precise time of delivery.

The new red machine sat on the drive next to our house waiting for my return. Leaving it unattended for a few minutes was fine by me, but I missed my chance for a quick course in operating the new riding mower.

“How hard can this be? I’ve used several different mowers through the years.”

My newly purchased non-ethanol gas gurgled into the gas tank as I prepared for my new mower’s maiden voyage. I climbed on board and turned the key to crank up the engine. But instead of the roar I expected a sickly sounding click, click, click reached my ears.

“Hmmm, guess that’s what an owners’ manual is for. Let me see what I’m doing wrong.”

I read the manual and followed the directions explicitly, but still no engine roar. Not even a little purr!

As much as I hated to wave the white flag I knew I needed help. After a couple of phone calls I had two workers from the store where I had made my purchase and my handy man all three standing over the mower scratching their heads.

The three amigos tried and tried, but couldn’t get the mower to start either. Finally, they decided to change the battery. My new toy quickly roared to life, and I waved goodbye to the helpful trio.

Soon, I was zooming around the yard with the smell of fresh cut grass in my nostrils. I took my time and carefully maneuvered the hillside. After an hour or so I was pleased at the almost instant gratification of a lovely lawn.

I was so pleased that I took a moment to wonder why. After thinking it over I must sheepishly confess that I was a wee bit glad when the three guys had trouble cranking it too!

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at