I take after Bob in more ways than one

Susan Manzke
Susan in Bob’s flannel jacket.

Whenever I finish mowing the lawn, I take time to refill the gas tank. That way the next time I’m ready to set to work, I don’t have to first fill her up. I’d rather open the garage door, hop on the machine, and set to work.

But first, I check the oil. Every time I’m ready to start mowing, I make sure that there’s plenty of oil on the dipstick. My son Russell is adamant about me checking the oil. It seemed that many of the problems Bob had with old mowers were because the oil ran too low. Funny, Bob was always checking the oil in his tractors, yet checking the lawnmower would slip his mind.

Soon my job of mowing was underway. Without rain for over two weeks, I didn’t have any mowing to do for a time. The grass had turned brown and gone dormant. Eventually, rain did fall on the farm and boy did that grass grow. In certain places, it seemed to shoot up overnight.

As usual, there were sections where grass overdid it. Some areas behind the barn doubled, going far beyond the regular cutting length. When I got to those thick spots, I slowed down the mower so it would do a better job cutting. I don’t know if my husband ever slowed the mower down. I think Bob pushed the throttle to the limit and kept it there. Since I go slower, it takes me longer to do the yard.

Though I’m on a zero-turn mower, I still get tired. About the time I need more gas, I take a break. There was just a bit of lawn that needed my attention. So before stopping for the day, I decided to clip it.

When I ran out of gas, I wasn’t far from the buildings. It wasn’t much of a walk for me to get the gas can and lucky for me one of the cans had less than a gallon inside. That meant It wasn’t too heavy to carry across the yard.

I remember times when I saw Bob walking home for a bit more gas so he could get back to the buildings. If he was farther down the lane, he might give me a call. Sometimes he used the walk home to cool down. He said he was just about ready to quit but thought he’d finish a tiny bit more of mowing. Too soon, the mower chugged to a stop and he was finished.

Whoops! Luckily a gas can was handy to get the lawnmover moving again.

I must take after my husband. I knew I had been mowing for quite a while and it was almost time for more gas, but that little bit of lawn called to me.

Last weekend, our daughter Rachel and her family camped out in the backyard. After their tent was in place—on freshly mowed lawn—grandson Eli (11) helped get a healthy campfire going. The temperature was dropping which made it a good time to cozy up close to the fire with a hotdog on a stick.

Even with the fire going, I felt chilled. Everything I needed was only steps away, so I went into the house for a jacket.

Tent in backyard, near campfire.

My jacket of choice that evening was a lined flannel jacket of Bob’s. It might be big on me, but it sure kept me warm.

When I joined the rest of the gathering near the campfire, Rachel noticed I had miss-snapped the jacket. This made me laugh. Bob often had one side of this jacket longer than the other, which I pointed out to him.

It seems I take after Bob in more ways than one. Running the mower out of gas and missing the snaps on his jacket brought back memories of him. It’s good to have a laugh on both of us.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;