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Thoughts from the Lower 40: Mowing Mishaps
In Aug. 15 Issue
Russell County News
By Wade Daffron, Columnist

Remember a month or so ago when I was lamenting the fact I didn't have a lawn mower, and woe is me, I cannot cut my grass, etc., etc?

Well, I did come across a mower, and I told you about the initial adventures surrounding it.

And as you may know, not all stories have a happy ending...

Since I'm no longer gainfully employed full-time (resumes available on request), I've been trying to take care of things around the house.

Laundry, dishes, yard work, you know, just the regular stuff. (Hey, wait, I've always done those things...)

Yeah, that was me you saw out mowing the other day.

And yeah, that was me you saw laying in the ditch-with the mower pointing straight up in the air.

"What happened?" you may ask, and rightfully so.

I wish I had some kind of explanation like, "The crankshaft differential sheared off at the transom housing-causing the universal joint to fail-thus throwing the mower into reverse, and into the ditch."

Truth is, I don't know what the heck happened.

One second I was mowing, the next, I was hurtling backwards through the cosmos.

You know how they say when you have an accident everything goes in slow motion?

Wrong-at least in my case.

Knowing I was heading full speed toward a very steep ditchline, I remember pressing my foot down on the brake-which didn't work, and thinking I should try to stop the blade from turning.

I thought back to my "biker days" and remembered someone said if you were about to crash, just stiffen your body and hold on. But I also remember somebody said to "go limp."

So, while I was having this debate in my mind, I felt a rush of air, and the lawn mower and I toppled backwards into the ditch.

The back of my head hit the blacktop at the edge of the road, and I felt something heavy-like a riding lawn mower-on top of me.

Oh, great.

Aside from the shock of the moment, I realized my butt was wedge in the ditch, and worst of all, my cap had been knocked off.

It took me like, 20 minutes searching through the house to find that cap, and now it was under me, or under the mower, or good heavens, laying in the road for someone to run over-or even worse, stop and pick up.

I had apparently stuck my arms out to keep the mower from crushing me, and when my mental fog cleared, I "righted" the mower so that it was off of me, and sitting with its front end pointing straight up in the air.

Vehicles were slowing down to look at me looking at the situation, and I'm sure the people across the street at the Board of Education were gathered at their windows wondering, "What has he done this time?"

Those poor people have looked across the road countless times to see me or one of the family laid out, passed out, knocked out, thrown out, put out, worn out, etc.

Even when we're not home, some animal will get loose, or there was the day it stormed really bad and the front door blew open and the wind scattered papers, toys, trash cans, and all kinds of things across our yard and their yard.

Oh, but wait, about the lawn mower...

For some reason, I thought I could just drive the lawn mower out of the ditch-even though I don't think the front wheels were touching the ground.

When I finally managed to get into the mower's seat, I realized I was staring straight up at the sky, so that wasn't gonna work.

I clumsily walked up the driveway (with a wet rear end and still no cap) so I could get the truck and pull the mower out of the ditch.

I searched the house, the carport, and the barn for even the smallest length of any kind of rope.

Can somebody tell me what kind of barn doesn't have rope in it?!

I think there was a stereo equipment, books, furniture, maybe an old car, a cryogenics chamber-everything but rope in the barn.

I DID find a small piece of bailing twine-which I, for some reason, thought would pull a several-hundred pound lawn mower out of the ditch.

With my amazing streak of luck continuing, I almost backed the truck into the ditch too, but thankfully the brakes worked, and I averted disaster...that time.

As I was tying my super-strength tow rope to the lawn mower, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a vehicle had stopped in the road.

Enter the hero of our story...

Steve Pfoff was looking at me with a grimace.

"Are you OK?" he asked from his truck.

"Yeah, uh, I'm fine, just uh, yeah," I said.

Now, if you want to know why Steve Pfoff is truly a "Man's Man," let me explain.

First of all, even though he certainly had the opportunity, he did not "call me out" as a fellow man in trouble.

He didn't say anything like, "Hey fool, you ran your lawn mower in the ditch."

Second, he didn't use the "H-word."

"You need me to do anything for you?" he asked. (Notice he didn't ask if I, a fellow man, needed "help"-as that would infer I was suffering from a moment of weakness.)

"Oh, I'm fine, yeah, I just, yeah," I replied.

"Well, I'll pull into the driveway here in case you need anything," he said.

He watched as I tried to pull the mower out.

The bailing twine snapped as soon as I pressed my foot down on my truck's accelerator.

"You think the two of us could just push that thing out of the ditch?" he asked. (Notice he mentioned both of us-even though I had no clue what I was doing and obviously had no means or motive to solve the problem.)

I shrugged my shoulders. (I didn't tell him I had tried that already and couldn't get the mower to budge.)

We walked around to the back of the mower, I put both my hands on it, and as they say around here, "commenced" to pushing.

No luck.

I saw Mr. Pfoff extend one hand against the back of the mower, and with what seemed like super-human strength, he not only pushed the mower out of the ditch, but HELD it steady on the edge of the ditch as I moved my truck out of the way..

I noticed he didn't even break a sweat.

I thanked him profusely, he waved, and said, "Anytime," as he drove away.

Heck of a guy.

(And by the way, he was the only person to stop and help.)

I'd like to say the rest of the day was uneventful, but...

Maybe the lawn mower didn't want me riding around on it, and the trip into the ditch was some kind of "clue."

After finding the errant cap, I regained my composure, and attempted to finish mowing the yard.

While mowing around a tree, I apparently got too close, and a limb (you guessed it) knocked my cap off.

I angrily looked back to see what happened to my cap,. then turned back around in time to see...a giant tree branch that hit me in the head-knocking me completely backwards off the mower.

I sat there stunned as the mower continued slowly putting around in a circle.

I felt like a matador being chased by an angry bull as I rolled out of its path on it's first rotation around the evil tree.

I lept to my feet and chased the mower down.

Climbing onto the seat, I steered it back toward the carport...and parked it.

When my wife got home later that afternoon, she mentioned something about the yard, and the grass all over the driveway.

"Aren't you going to finish mowing the yard?" she asked."Not today," I said. "And maybe never."

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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