By Gloria Ronahan
Photo by ackook.
For those of you who are familiar with my writing you’ll recognize my cast of the usual suspects. TIGER — the neighbour’s cat, THE BACKYARD , where I stage aha moments for haiku, ME, and most importantly, an assortment of BEVERAGES. My tablet is God.
Summer is my favourite time of year. From speed boats overflowing with gaudy tourists to the offensive gaiety of party animals I love everything about the season. Still, watching grass grow is my favourite thing above all else. Like tasting the valley’s wine, it’s a fine activity if you have determination and a few months with nothing much to do. As it turns out, it can also be a lucrative venture. However, I caution you. Watching grass grow is not as easy as it might seem at first glance. Before you start, you must be in possession of two things — the proper tools and a deep and abiding love for grass. One lazy summer I came into both.
At the time many of the town’s people thought I was lazy but the truth was I never mowed the grass because I loved watching it grow. Oh sure, there was a lawnmower in the backyard somewhere and I thought one day I might take a walk over there to see if I could find it. That was a laugh. I knew I wasn’t going to walk anywhere if I could avoid it. Besides that, it was a gas-powered contraption requiring me to be in possession of sufficient arm strength to pull the cord to start the motor. Apparently lifting potables didn’t furnish me with the necessary strength. Slàinte.
One summer goaded on by a few libations and a neighbour’s accusation of my indolence I set out to change my way with grass. I found the mower, couldn’t start it, so decided to push it over the grass without the motor running to see if that did anything. It was a disaster resulting in a bad grass day much like a bad perm only in reverse. Like that, I’d flattened four feet of once beautifully poofy grass before realizing I’d made a highly visible landscaping blunder. If it had only been a foot in length, I would’ve thrown a garbage can over it to hide the offending bald spot. Four garbage cans were too much even for me.
Scouring the woodshed I searched for a substitute grass cutter, cursing my neighbour loud enough for him to hear. How dare HE, who keeps a bare naked, life-sized female dummy in a lawn chair in the back yard, call ME indolent. Freak!! I located the chainsaw and it would’ve been perfect had it not also come with a pull-tab starter. I’d already used the string from the Weed Eater for ice-fishing and the cutting reel from the push mower as a wind chime so the only reasonable fill in was the hedge clippers. I fired them up and they worked just ducky until I accidentally clipped the electrical cord. Oweee – spontaneous electroshock therapy.
After that energizing thrill I sat on the deck with my trusty tablet. I typed in a Google search: “What do you do when your lawnmower won’t start and the other tools don’t work either?” I knew at the time it was a stupid question and my thumb must’ve accidentally slipped because I ended up in the Hot Men in Thongs site. It took me two hours to get out of there with just barely my shirt on. Thankfully that side trip returned me to my good senses. I realized I’d never wanted to cut the grass in the first place. I’d merely been caving into peer pressure. I’m a grass lover, not a mowing down war mongering grass hater.
I had found myself and whole once again sat in the green grass laughing at my stupid neighbour. When the sun began its slow retreat into night I hustled preparing for the night watch. I hauled the beer fridge from the pantry and hooked it up to an extension cord that stretched into the middle of the yard. The small fridge belched a loud smell because some jackass had neglected to remove a package of hamburger meat last winter. Not wanting to attract bears I threw the remains into the compost pile because when two bears fight it’s the grass that gets ruined. And I love grass.
Tiger must’ve overheard the loud odour because just then he strolled over with a quail beak in his whiskers. I stopped what I was doing and asked, “Have you been eating quails again?” He said, “No ma’am.” Then burst out laughing — stupid cat and his incessant lying. I said, “Don’t laugh at me buster, I know what you did last summer. I know what you did the summer before too! And, take that beak out of your whiskers, you look ridiculous. I chucked him in the grass and said, “Look who’s laughing now.” Tiger and I like playing movie title trivia.
After I’d put the seeing-eye camera to bed on its tripod for the night I popped open a Budweiser umbrella. Under its protective shield I got down to business emptying the beer fridge of its liquid joy. It must’ve been a good night because I awoke in the morning’s splendorous grass with only a dozen or so earwigs in my shorts.
I scrolled through the video filmed while I was sleeping. Let me tell you, it was a gold mine! In the dead of night the lawnmower, driven by what looked like a snow storm, was chasing Tiger. He looked terrified. I laughed because it served him right. I had no idea how a wheelchair got into the video, but it did. I knew the film was going to make a found-footage horror show of such scary proportions the Last Exorcism Part XXX would look like Bambi and I’d become a very wealthy woman.
Leaning back in the lawn chair, fingers interlaced behind my head I laughed richly. Without a word of a lie, that’s how I made my fortune. Having said that, anyone care to go for a lawn mower ride in the dark?
Ronahan lives and works in Penticton, BC, near her adult children, and two magnificent lakes. Now well into her third chapter, she is working on going gentle into that dark night, and dragging a bunch of reluctant slow pokes along with her. She will be taking advantage of senior discounts and looks forward to subjecting the inmates at the old folks’ home to her particular brand of humour.
While versatile in many forms, Ronahan, is most herself with humour. She refers to these works as comedic frescoes — that is scenario writing that nudges us to laugh at the banal vicissitudes of life. Her guiding principle is best stated by Edward de Bono, when he wrote, “Humour is the most significant dimension of the brain”. Her motto is: If you can’t laugh at yourself, someone else will, so, beat them to the draw.
She is an active member of Writer’s Carnival and plans to stay there until they give her the boot once and for all. She is currently writing her first novel.