From The Sky...


From the Sky - Part I

By James M. O'Meara, © 2008

Aperitif

An Aperitif...

My husband loves cutting the grass. I've watched him countless times from the porch, his bare chest glistening with sweat as he pushes our old mower across the front lawn. He carves out a precise rectangle in the grass then walks back and forth over it until every inch has been cut. He carves out another, and repeats the process. The look on his face is one of intense concentration, as if he's contemplating nuclear fusion …for God's sake, Joe, it's just grass… I think to myself, but I can't help smiling. He once told me that a hard day of yard work was almost as good as sex. Yet I've never found him curled up on the yard asleep, spooning his ancient lawn mower.

Joe took a bad slide into home plate at the softball tournament a month or so back…he won the game, but busted his leg…and now the grass-cutting is on my chore list. The old bastard across the street couldn't be happier. If he sees me in my shorts and halter top pushing the damned Craftsman, he dashes out to his front porch and perches himself on his porch swing, sipping iced tea and thinking…well frankly I don't want to know what he's thinking.

Maybe you think that's harsh…me calling him an old bastard…but that's what he calls himself every chance he gets. When he phones to complain about something…the twins riding their bikes down the sidewalk in front of his house, for instance…the first words out of his mouth are always: "…I know you won't pay attention to an old bastard like me…" and then he starts grousing. Joe and I still politely address him as "Mr. Franco" face-to-face, of course, but between the two of us he's "the old bastard" now and forever.

The old…oh, I see you frowning. I'll restrain myself. Mr. Franco was watching me cut the grass the day it happened, wearing his grungy bib overalls and practically drooling into his iced tea as I made quick work of the front lawn. I had a random urge to lift my halter and flash him, but I knew the shock would probably kill him. I behaved myself, ignored him, and just kept cutting. No fancy rectangles for me: I just walk back and forth cutting strips of grass until I'm done. Missed spots? Get'em next time. Trees, flower pots and other obstacles? Go around them and come back later with the weed whacker to buzz down any scattered tufts of grass I bypassed.