Saturday, September 24, 2005

Making a Home

My father was fond of a certain expression which he uttered in response to the question "Where ya goin'?" He'd respond:

"Down the road, to see if the man's mowin" If you follow me, you're sure to get shot!"

Today I mowed the new lawn at the new house for the first time. My father also taught us 3 boys how to do a job right and to take pride in our work. To this day the 3 of us aver that yardwork is not so much work as a time to contemplate and earn a little satisfaction and pride in ourselves. So I enjoyed doing the mowing.

But it doesn't stop when the new-mown grass is just right. Noooooooo. You have to clean all the tools you use, and put them away in their appointed places in better condition than when you used them. So today found me washing the lawn mower when the work was done, dusting and drying it and shining it with a towel before I locked it in its shed to be ready for the next bout of mowing. My Dad takes such good care of his stuff that many things live in their original boxes for decades despite frequent use. Its really remarkable, and many have remarked about how his thrift and loving care of his things makes them last forever - most recently my Mother (no, I'm not suggesting that he embalmed her). We sons have inherited this same mindset (quirk to the rest of you) from Dad.

As I mowed, I made a mental note of other jobs to be done around the grounds: stack the old bricks laying next to the replaced piers that the house sits on (remodeled 1935 Florida shotgun vernacular architecture), gather up the flotsam from the previous owner (bits of shingle and construction odds and ends and interior trim that found their way beneath shrubbery and in odd corners of the yard), etc. They will be attended to when they make it to the top of the moving in priority list.

During the day I took a break to spend some time with my daughters. Lauren flew in from KC MO yesterday. She and little sister Maggie came by to see the new house and go to lunch. We had a great time and chatted for a long time over a great meal at Floyd's Diner - a High Springs hotspot that has so many good meals on the menu that it is truly difficult to make a choice. Maggie opted for the club sandwich, and Lauren and I shared a blackened chicken Caesar salad and a plate of fresh grouper - lightly battered and fried. We were more than rewarded for our choices. The waiter was part of the fun and was completely at our service. He was an older Cuban gentleman who obviously took pride in his job and had no end of fun doing it. He must be a chip off the same block as my father.

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