Two Lawn-Boys And A Snapper…..#209 (the 90’s)

DP Airgometer

An early spring blossomed,  a clear blue sky providing a comforting canopy,  capturing the aura of the morning dew within its sheltering glaze, the dormant grass giving hint of rebounding from its winter slumber,  announcing the arrival of a new day.   A Monday morning, the kids off to school,  Gary and Jan attaining their responsibilities at the Hospital,  Jan having been elevated to a Charge Nurse position,  obtaining a nursing status and a laudable salary increase.  The Anthony Hospital expanding their clinic services,  the addition of another doctor,  Dr. Jeff Bond making a decision to close his N. Jefferson Ave. private practice and move his vocation to the hospital clinic.   Gary having the responsibility to move his accumulated minor equipment and what seemed like a never-ending amount of boxes filled with patient medical records.  With the move a new expediency,  the doctor no longer having a need for  his ancient x-ray machine and the person to shuttle the patients x-rays to the hospital for their development.

Twice a day workout

Twice a day workout

It was March 18th,  Gary’s birthday,  an observance of a half of century  endurance, the 50 year old reaching a milestone, not in years but accomplishing a goal in physical achievement. His daily morning discipline starting at 6:15 a.m.,  addressing the two flight of stairs from his bedroom to the 1500 sq. ft. basement, its southwest corner hosting a large section of carpet providing an area for the objects of his morning regimen.   A resolution having been made the previous year to invest in his long neglected physical tendon structure, starting with an introduction to a lifting bench, weights and a DP Airgometer stationary bike, endowed with a determination to initiate a 30-40 minute morning and evening routine.  His ambition wasn’t to achieve any body building proportions but to elevate his stamina and accomplish certain objectives.  Besides the Airgometer he endeavored to  lift and bench press his physical weight of 150 pounds and perform 50 pushups by his 50th birthday.   The year-long discipline providing results,  although not physically visibly to most having achieved his goals but more fulfilling was the inner sense of accomplishment that one feels when crossing the finish line.   An attempt to interest his young son Robert in applying himself to the rigors of a weight lifting discipline was to no avail, but this didn’t surprise the Father,  the interest of a 13-year-old were more in keeping abreast with his school activities,  friends, and the inherent youthful rage of the day, skateboarding.

A birthday celebration was in order but the cardinal day wasn’t the 18th of March,  but the 17th..   St. Patrick would also have to relinquish an acknowledge day for it was Jan’s Mother Helen birthday.   Gary concurring her seniority should always take precedence,  having accepted the Murrow annual family event through the years as reality and pinion of life. His birthday was distinctive,  sharing a common bond with his Father,  both born on the 18th of March.  But a curiosity always lingered, an elevation of Kismet, Gary having remembrances of his birthdays during his youthful East Oakland ascendancy but never recalling a commemorative ceremony for his Dad.  The day was not without recognition on the 18th,  his wife preparing a birthday cake and gifts to mark the occasion,  Gary’s mother always acknowledging the historic day in her life with a telephone call from California and a perfunctory birthday greeting from Jan’s family.

Time saving Snapper Mower

The arrival spring having set forth the greening of nature in full bloom, another Kansas winter now a historic precedent.  The double corner lot hosting the residence,  its capacious area of lawn requiring weekly attention,  Gary’s 26 inch deck riding Snapper Lawn Mower accorded to him by his father-in-law,  having seen better days and was in need of replacement.   A decision being made to call upon Denny Callison,  a diesel mechanic friend at Kiowa Service Company,  the John Deere Dealership which inaugurated  Gary’s first Kansas employment.   The Kiowa resident maintaining a small assembled  inventory in his sideline business of refurbishing riding lawn mowers.  A telephone call to the mower entrepreneur,  Gary finding Denny was about to conclude work on a Snapper with a larger 32 inch deck and was willing to accept Gary’s well worn mower in trade.   A complication of transporting the mower presenting a dilemma,  not wanting to impose on his father-in-law for use of his pickup, Gary having already made a decision to acquire a trailer for the purpose of cutting and hauling his own firewood for the coming winter, it would also fulfill his mower transportation agenda.

The trailer search beginning,  Gary first approached Harold Madsen,  the owner of Madsen Automotive to have a trailer hitch installed on the 87 Buick and having noticed on one occasion a trailer displayed on Harold’s used car lot, inquired about them.  Harold asserting because of the farming community, the demand for trailers was high and adding that they were seldom part of a trade.   Gary left with one local option the classified section of the Anthony Republican newspaper and to his amazement  asserted  a one line ad,   “For Sale – 2 wheel trailer, $250.00” with a phone number.  Gary immediately directing a call of inquiry to the local number,  an elderly sounding gentlemen answering.   Gary’s first questions after inquiring about its availability was pertaining to its size and condition,  but instead any descriptive information about the trailer, the person on the other end of the line began a dissertation and explanation of its prior use in his  lawn mowing business.   Finally,  prodding the slow talking individual on the other end of the line,  being somewhat blunt, Gary asking again about its size adding the word dimensions.  The hesitant answer finally coming back   “Well I don’t know how big it is,  but it holds two Lawn Boys and a Snapper”.   Gary’s response was a simple okay, I’ll be right over,  asking for the address. which happened to be just across Main St on the south side of town.  The brief drive fulfilled,  he introduced himself to an elderly couple as the person who had called about the trailer.  The owner continuing where he had left off on the phone about his past lawn service, retirement and that the trailer was still in fairly good shape but he no longer had a need for it.   The trailer was of a home-made heavy metal welded frame construction, approximately  8 ft. in length and 5 ft. wide.   The flooring was weathered and worn 3/4 inch plywood, boxed-in with ¼ inch thick metal rails, all sitting on a metal frame that fastened to a rear axle with 16 inch wheels, apparently from a vintage automobile.  It did have two tail lights that resembled those on Gary’s traded 1950 Dodge pickup, the wiring frayed long ago and neglected.   Gary was satisfied but did question the elderly owner if the price was negotiable, receiving a one word answer,  “nope” .   The hitch ball fit and with its coupling the trailer found a new home at 602 N. Springfield.

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