I'm not in the mood to rake

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By W.B. Evans

Fall is with us. Those beautiful leaves of varying hues are gently fluttering over our lawns.

I am pleasantly surprised to observe that those hundreds of election signs, (at least those along my stretch of the Charlotte Highway), have been removed. I wish I could say the same for the leaves in my front yard.

Things are getting back to normal.

Billy Mays has a ton of new stuff to hawk on the television tube. Late night TV hosts are almost speechless. Politics has pretty much run its course, for now.

Being a whole lot older and not much wiser, I sorta yearn for those times which really weren’t all that simple and great.

These days, we haul out the leaf blowers that have to be plugged in or gassed up and get the mulching lawn mower with the dead battery to crank.

If technology fails to deliver, that old standby, the leaf rake will get the job done.

Why can’t leaves just stay on the trees all year round?

It’s a conspiracy propagated by the professional lawn care industry.

Somebody has to rake leaves up in piles and haul them away. I see all those pro lawn keepers blowing the leaves out into the street so the traffic can swirl them into a neighbor’s yard. Then the neighbor pays him to blow them right back.

Out here in the country, I’m not overly concerned about that big oak straddling the property lines with a neighbor.

When I was a boy, it seemed like I always Chesterfield Avenue always had more than its share of leaves.

Either by magic or prevailing winds, my neighbor always got done with the raking and hauling much faster than I did. It must have been an equipment issue.

Thank goodness that rakes have improved over the years.

Back then, I spent more time pulling up grass roots with our rake than raking up leaves. Those new-fangled “broom” rakes didn’t come along until much later.

The one advantage of living in town was hauling our leaves out to the curb. On certain days, the trash truck would stop in front of the house and a man would climb out with a billy shovel, scoop up the leaves and toss them into the back.

I must admit it doesn’t compare with modern sanitation truck with this big vacuum contraption that just sucks up the leaves.

You’ll never see a man running behind that truck with a shovel, either. He’s gone and so is his old shovel. 

To find one of those old shovels, you have to check with the circus man who follows the elephants around beneath the big top.

You know Mother Nature can be ornery at times.

Leaves are already covering the drive, sidewalk and patio. I go out and blow them off so they don’t end up tracked into the kitchen, but when I look up, the trees are still full.

I guess she holding on to them until they get wet and soggy, the winds howl and the temperature drops.

Uncle Harry always wanted the leaves to remain on the yard to protect the grass until spring’s warmth.

I sure agreed, but come March, leaves were beneath the hedges and covering Mama’s flower beds.

I think the leaves are multiplying, too. The front yard is covered, the trees seem to be holding many more.

Oh well, one more cup of coffee and I’m out the door. It promises to be rather warm, a good raking day even if the 18 wheelers cause a surge of air to mess things up.

I don’t blame the traffic. When we built our home, U.S. 521 was just a nice two lane road to Charlotte.

The only thing between us and Pineville was Mr. Pettus’ store and cotton gin beside the road up in Indian Land.

Gosh, I just noticed something.

Those trees across the road are full of leaves and they will surely blow into our yard just like they always do.

I think I will just pass up any yard work, today, at least for a little while.

Maybe I’ll get lucky. Perhaps somebody has invented a motor or generator that’s powered by leaves.

I could get lucky. Somebody will notice the energy gold mine in the front yard and slip out here in the dead of night and haul ‘em off.

It’ll never happen, but I can dream, can’t I? Maybe Billy Mays can come up something.

I love the shade these leaves provide during those hot summer days, but I don’t think much of ‘em right now.

It just goes to show everything ain’t perfect.