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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Of Grits and Grass

This is a true story. It is also true that it happened when Son Number 2 was 18 years old and that it was the last time he cut grass. According to calculations by the Mayans. he is now old enough to challenge the patience of his own insurance provider. But I wanted a story with something green for St. Patrick's Day and even though our grass has never been an overachiever in the color category, this is as close as I can get. Enjoy!
“If I don’t come back, remember me for who I was!”

Jeffrey is on his way outside to cut the grass.  He is 18 and displays a significant tendency toward the dramatic.  Cutting the grass rates almost as high on the enjoyment of life scale as going shopping for foundations with his mother, something he has steadfastly refused to be a part of since he was four years old and I asked him publicly whether to get the T Rex or the Superman briefs.

His grass cutting clothes are cleverly designed to protect him from his arch enemy, sunlight.  He is sporting sweat pants, a black T-shirt with a dashing dragon motif, and a camouflage jacket.  The sun will never recognize him.  However, the fire ants who live throughout the neighborhood in well-crafted red dirt condos think he’s a walking hors d’oeuvre and scramble to assemble relay teams designed to bring back tender flesh for a glorious repast.  These are some of nature’s most bloodthirsty creatures and should be required to post Predator signs in front of their homes and turn out their porch lights on Halloween.

The fire ants did not reckon with the maze of clothing covering Jeffrey’s body, which has not been exposed to the air since he emerged from the birth canal. They reconnoiter and launch an attack on the Captain of our 1/2 acre of rolling weeds, whose sole defense is a pair of hiking boots and the ability to swear like a seaman.

I’ve heard that grits are to fire ants what Kryptonite is to the Man of Steel, so as Cap dances past the back door, I spring into action, flinging packet after packet of stone ground goodness at his convulsive form.

You would think he would be more appreciative of my efforts to help.  How was I supposed to know that the proper grits annihilation technique does not involve hurling them at the attacking hordes?  Nor does it involve instant grits.

But if I’m ever in Germany, I’ll know what to say if someone cuts me off in traffic.

Meanwhile Jeffrey has mowed the front lawn in a fairly accurate representation of the crop circles we’ve heard so much about, and is showering—probably still wearing the camo jacket—in the guest bathroom with the fancy soap.  By the time the Captain recovers from the fire ant fox trot, Jeffrey will have left the building, borrowed the car, and forgotten the trauma of having parents.

I peer out the front door. The circles cut into the lawn resemble a peaceful rippling pattern.  In all the excitement, I’ve forgotten to remind Jeffrey to feed the dog, empty the dishwasher, or clean his room. 

 They say in the old days families had handfuls of children so they could help with the planting and harvesting of crops, taking care of the livestock, and seeing to the household chores.

I don’t see how they got anything done.