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Spring Fever

By Tempa Daniels Fleming

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Ah, Spring is in the air. Personally, I am mowing, uh I mean, moving toward the warmer seasons. Green is no longer flying out of my wallet to pay gas infused heating bills. Instead, I see it budding in the trees. My heart races with sunny enthusiasm and my voice rises higher to new pollen-allergy-induced heights. 

However, apparently during these warmer months this is the sound my husband has resonating in his thoughts, "Gentlemen start your engines!" 

Nope, this isn't NASCAR. Instead, my husband thinks his tractor, like the song implies, is sexy. It gleams in painted green and yellow, has a sponsor and runs in a circle, like NASCAR. This is where the comparisons cease. What his testosterone blades-of-grass-clippings world classify as a tractor, we ovary-bearing realist refer to as... a lawn mower. 

For unpractical purposes, I married a man who takes his yardage seriously. Once, he owned a yard with prestigious awards. Yep, according to him, there was a time when he was a real landscaping artist. I beam with wife skeptical pride at these past accomplishments. In all honesty, in our time together, I've never witnessed one of the award winning gardens. Sorry Johnny Deere, a clover patch doesn't count.

When we moved to Yankee lands, I picked a house with a lawn from the fiery pits of hell, or so the grassy showman said.

“This yard is a monstrosity. I won’t be able cut this with a push mower. I’ll need something bigger!"

Monstrosity? Bigger?

My female interpretation of what he had said---I’m too old and out of shape to push things. I want to be able to pop a hood and brag to the boys. Meaning, Hal gave himself permission to buy a John Deere.

In all of our marital bliss, I’ve never seen the man more in love. “Isn’t she beautiful? She purrs like a kitten and has a 20 horse power engine.”

Personally, I don’t think of a lawn mower being powered by galloping horses or as my female equal, but stranger BRAVO-Channel-things have happened.

Anyway, with all the braggin’ going on I wanted a piece of the action.

“I want to drive it.”

My husband bristles with argument, “No! This isn’t a toy. This is a tractor and she can be dangerous.”

"If that is a tractor, I’m Angelina Jolie. No Brad Pitt way is THAT a tractor. It is a lawn mower.”

That was it. I was banned from the tractor.

“Please. Pretty please, Hal. I’ll be careful.”

However, I couldn’t help eyeing our steep backyard dip and shivering with Evel Knievel delight. Unfortunately, Hal’s gaze followed mine and his eyes grew wide with caution.

“No way!”

I plausibly explain, “Think of it as a ramp, if I gun it, I could clear that side hedge easily.”

“Tempa, you could roll her and end up getting hurt.”

“Maybe, we could have some roll bars and an air bag installed?”

Hal merely revs his engine and mows off in silence. I retreat in a pout too. 

However, I am determined to prove I am on John Deere board, so, I return to the grassy scene and preen before my man in full riding gear: a pair of goggles, a long flowing scarf for wind blowing effect and driving gloves.

TaaDaa! How else to impress? Accessories!

“Tempa, this is why you can’t drive her, you don’t take mowing seriously.”

As a gas fume tear wells in the corner of my eye, I am lectured about unexpected dangers lurking in our lawn. According to my deer, I mean dear, there are tree limbs that decapitate, roots that bend mower blades, and things which fly through the air and lacerate eyeballs.

"Holy Lawn Mowing God! I had no idea."

Henceforth, as a new mowing season approaches, I will merely peer through our large picture window and admire Hal as he fearlessly faces every menacing blade of grass. My gallant knight, riding proudly atop his green and yellow armor. I will smile appreciatively and demurely wave as he hums off into bushy areas of death defying lawn debris. 

Perhaps I will marvel...what a daring man I’ve married. Or... how do I get a hold of those keys? 

Yep, I feel a FEVER coming on!

"Ladies, start your engines!"

Copyright 2012 Tempa Daniels Fleming


A Mississippi native, who is always on the move, Tempa's previous published writing started with a first person essay with the San Antonio News, (TX). She was hooked! Next, she did fillers and humor pieces for The Sun Herald, (Biloxi, MS). Then, she did a brief tour of duty with a column entitled "Tempa Tantrums" for the Ocean Springs Record (MS.) Her final humor columns ran in The Breeze Courier (Taylorville, IL). She was laid off when the economy went kaput.  Currently, she is back South, writing for agony and aspiring to be a vagabond. 

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