Eager to be back in the driver's seat again

Susan Manzke
Bob and Sunny are looking forward to spending spring days together.

I’m looking forward to spring. I’m not talking about the calendar spring. I’m referring to a real spring, when things start to bud.

Today the sun is shining but the temperature stays below freezing. Still, just having sun shining, our spirits are lifted. It’s a day for positive thinking.

Bob exercises every day. This includes walking around pushing his walker around the linoleum floor. 

Another exercise Bob attempts daily is stair climbing. Oh, he’s not attempting to climb our steep staircase to the second floor yet. He only takes two stairs up and then takes two stairs down. He does this multiple times, hoping to build up to climbing three stairs.

It is Bob’s hope to be strong enough when the days are long and warm to be able to go outside and ride in our cart and also to mow the lawn.

Bob loves his zero-turn lawnmower. Ever since we bought one, he has ridden it with the exuberance of a 10-year-old on a dirt bike. When things were going wrong with planting, and Bob had to wait for a part, he would jump on the lawnmower. Zipping around our yard released tension and helped him relax.

Any time Bob would head away from our buildings I asked him if he had his cell phone in his pocket. If anything went wrong at least he could call me—past mishaps included getting stuck, running out of gas, and slipping into the dead furrow.

Most times I was able to help him out but a couple of mishaps he was buried so deep, a neighbor or two had to give him a pull.

Today, Bob is considering his first trips down our lane this coming spring—there are still snow drifts in his way. He’s sure he’ll be able to get into our cart and drive as usual, but he’s questioning getting on his lawnmower.

Bob mowing and saving daisies for Susan—Bob hopes this is in his future this coming summer.

Yesterday, Bob and our son, Russ, were discussing ways of assisting Bob onto the mower. I jokingly mentioned a skyhook but Bob and Russ weren’t joking. Our engineer son has all kinds of ideas to help his father. This includes building a ramp from our front porch and alongside the house—just in case a wheelchair is needed in the future.

When a new project is mentioned to Russ, he doesn’t laugh it off, well, maybe my skyhook isn’t on his list. I’m sure he went home after his visit, thinking of ways to lift his father on and off his lawnmower.

The problem mounting the mower is the high step needed to get onto the machine. The operator then has to then turn to sit on the seat. This can even confound me as I have short legs and I’m also uncoordinated.

Bob has not had a problem getting on his mower in the past, but now things are different. He’s not as strong or nimble as he once was. My husband is sure he can overcome this. He’s determined to get outside and do some yard work when the countryside greens up again.

I won’t stop Bob on his adventures, not as long as our children are here to assist, too. Whatever contraption Russ comes up with to get his dad onto his favorite seat will be something worth writing about.

Right now, our lives continue to be confined inside the house. Bob is totally frustrated but he is showing signs of the old Bob again.

After brain radiation, he couldn’t work a jigsaw puzzle. Today, he joined me at the table and stuck in quite a few pieces. Now that’s more like it.

Spring can’t come soon enough. Bob may not be farming this year, but you can be sure he’ll be watching as our renters turn the soil, thinking ‘maybe next year.’

Susan and Bob Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;