Leaf Obsession

Grab a rake…

Fifty percent of suburban dwellers have a lawn debris obsession. Some people are born with type-A personalities. Others only develop this condition as they reach their golden years and have time to watch the grass grow. The retirees’ children face golden years of redneck lawns because after raking and shoveling for their parents, they aren’t going to care about what’s sitting out in their front yard.

My mother-in-law grew up in an era when people grew their own food. A large apple tree dominated her front yard. Year after year, she gathered stunted fruit and dumped it into a compost pile. The sweet decay attracted wasps. The fruit and bugs drove Mum to retire to an apple free environment. My parents won’t consider that option.

My Dad called the other day.

“Your Mother gazes out the window in disgust at the trees for leaving their insidious droppings on the lawn. She’s obsessed with the leaves.”

“So?” I said.

“She wants me to go out there and chop the leaves with the lawn mower.”


“I didn’t put them there.”

Dad’s answer for everything nature drops his way unless it’s snow on the satellite dish interfering with reception of his football game. Then Dad will drag the ladder through two feet of snow, prop the ladder against the side of the house, and climb up on the roof in his church clothes to free the dish for better reception.

Mom’s leaf war wasn’t to include Dad. My Mother was forced to do what any leaf obsessed seventy-two year old woman would do. She turned on QVC and shopped for a leaf blower. The guaranteed light weight model, any woman can handle, not only blows, it sucks. Mom bought a vacuum cleaner for the yard.

Worried about early onset mental instability, I asked Dad if Mom has developed other obsessions like with fuzz on the carpets.

“No, it’s just leaves. Your Mother’s crazy.”

Well, that settles things.

This statement comes from the seventy-four year old man who wanted to climb over the side of a steep embankment with a chain saw. Dad wanted to harvest a dead fall tree for firewood. I’m not saying he couldn’t do it, but movies have been made depicting such scenarios. Man slips with chain saw, severs a body part, and crawls forty miles without bleeding to death. What’s the worst Mom can do, blow dust in her eye and suck up a ground mole?

I have a hard time imagining my five foot Mom with a leaf blower/sucker strapped across wherever leaf blower/suckers are strapped. The woman exudes cookie baking grandma not bandana wearing mercenary at war with tree droppings.

“What’s the deal with the trees?” I asked Mom.

“Oh, I like trees. I don’t like when they get naked. My leaf blower is on a six week backorder, you know.”

I want to tell Mom to close the curtains, but despite my age she’d reach through the phone and smack me for being fresh. I can’t count on the wind to help me here either. My parents have thirty-five trees in their yard. The adjacent properties boast 1,952 deciduous beauties. It doesn’t matter which way the winds blows.

As I load my rake into the trunk of my car, I can hear Mom’s answer to the question, ‘what’s the deal with snowflakes?’ She’ll admit snowflakes are pretty if there’s one or two, but Mom won’t like when the clouds get naked. And Dad didn’t put the snow there.

I had better make room in the trunk for my snow shovel.

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