Friday, April 13, 2012

Mow the lawn or clear the driveway of snow?

My father used to tell a story from the days when he owned a service station. A customer was having his car filled with gas. This was in the olden days when a motorist would pull up to the pump and tell an attendant how much gas to pump and the attendant would pump it. Not only would he pump gas, but he would wash windows while the gas was pumping. The customer got out of his car to buy a bottle of pop. This was in the olden days when bottles were glass and tops were metal and pop was way better than it is now.

While the attendant was washing the windows, the gas tank filled, and before the pump could shut off gas spilled on the ground. A stray dog quickly ran up and lapped up the gas before anyone could stop him. The dog began to ran wildly around the pumps and then around the block. The attendant and customer stared in terror at the dog’s apparent distress. My father joined them, just as the dog stopped at the pumps and collapsed. The customer looked at the attendant and asked fearfully, “Is he dead?” The attendant replied eruditely, “I dunno.” My dad observed, “He isn’t dead, he just ran out of gas.”

For a while I have had some doubts as to how true his story was, but since he has passed I cannot ask him. So I will let the story stand as it is, and since my father was an honest man of integrity, I will accept it as the truth.

I thought of this story this week as I was preparing to mow the lawn. I had to get the mower out and see if it would start after a long winter in storage. I should have mowed the lawn sooner, but being a tried and true western New Yorker I chafed at the idea of mowing the lawn in March. In fact, I would like to let the lawn return to its natural habitat, making me a green kind of guy, environmentally friendly, and on the cutting edge of not being on the cutting edge. Beloved does not like that idea and insists the lawn be kept neat, leaving me environmentally unfriendly and definitely not green.

Since I was getting the lawn mower out, I thought it might be a good idea to put the snow blower away. When I posted about this activity on Facebook two fellow western New Yorkers reminded my of the folly of putting away the snow blower so early in the season. We usually shovel snow in March. Sometimes we shovel in April. In fact, I remember a few mother’s days when there was snow on the ground.

Being a huge risk taker, I decided to live life on the edge and put the snow blower away. Since most of the gas I put in the tank at the beginning of the winter was still in the tank, I decided to siphon it out. After a few tries, I was able to drain the tank dry, but not before swallowing a little gas.

Be not alarmed dear reader, I did not take off in a mad dash around the house, the yard, or the neighborhood. Apparently gas only has that effect on canines. However, I was gassy for the rest of the day.

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